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3M’s annual survey confirms India’s confidence in science for a brighter future; the pandemic has ignited a renewed interest in STEM

Indians have become more environmentally conscious since the pandemic struck

Science has the phenomenal potential to solve the world’s greatest challenges, transform businesses and make world a better place. From manufacturing personal, protective equipment, developing vaccines to the overall response to COVID-19, science is heightening the world’s expectations for what is possible, according to the 3M State of Science Index 2021.

The State of Science Index (SOSI) is a third-party, independent research study commissioned by 3M and conducted annually for the past four years to track attitudes towards science. The 2021 findings emphasize that there has been a significant improvement in the public image of science.

90% Indians trust science:

In India, 90% of respondents said that they trust science – a significant increase of 3 percentage points since the 2020 Pre-Pandemic Survey.

About 85% agreed that there are negative consequences to society if science is not valued while a majority of 87% Indian respondents will stand up to skeptics by defending science if someone questions it as against 75% globally.

Renewed interest in STEM careers; increased emphasis on gender diversity and inclusion in the field

While Covid-19 has certainly spotlighted the importance of scientists searching for a vaccine, its influence goes wider. The pandemic has ignited a renewed interest in STEM careers and education. Scientists and medical professionals are inspiring people to pursue STEM-based careers in the future, especially among younger generations.

In India, 91% of respondents agree that the world needs more people pursuing STEM-related careers. Due to the pandemic, about four-in-five are more inspired to pursue a STEM career that accounts for 83% as against 60% globally.

Inclusion in STEM

The survey also highlights the need for greater gender diversity and inclusion in STEM. About 85% of Indian respondents agree that it is important to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM fields and 83% acknowledge that underrepresented minority groups often do not receive equal access to STEM education.

“Events of the past year have put a spotlight on the education gap within underserved communities,” said Dr. Jayshree Seth, Corporate Scientist and Chief Science Advocate, 3M.

“Gender inequalities, and unequal access to a quality STEM education for under-resourced students, continue to affect economic outcomes across the globe. We must all do our part to create greater opportunities, by strengthening STEM investments, eliminating underrepresentation in STEM, and bridging the STEM talent gap so that we can all realize the promise of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society.”

“Science is becoming more of a uniting factor as the world moves toward a common mission to build a safer, greener, stronger, and more equitable future,” said 3M Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Mike Roman.

“The world’s confidence in science is confirmed every day as we see more and more examples of its impact, from the COVID-19 recovery to advancing sustainability, making a meaningful difference,” Mike Roman.

Need for immediate attention towards the health of the planet:

The State of Science Index exposes a growing concern and a sense of urgency surrounding the health of the planet. India has become more environmentally conscious – even more than many of the other countries surveyed.

A significant majority (87%) agree that solutions to mitigate climate change need to happen immediately, and 89% confirm their belief that the world should follow science to help create a more sustainable future. 

Commenting on SOSI, 3M India Managing Director Ramesh Ramadurai said at 3M, the success of business is inextricably linked with the health of our planet.

“The pandemic has also brought greater attention to sustainability issues, with a focus on making more sustainable lifestyle choices. There is a lot one can do in our daily lives to bend the curve of environmental degradation. It is time we all realize the impact our action can make to change our environment,” said Ramesh Ramadurai.

Partner, preempt, prepare and prosper

The survey further emphasized the importance of cross-border and cross-sector collaboration as essential to scientific advancement in India. Approximately 84% of respondents feel that countries should collaborate to create solutions based on science to address major challenges.

Given the events over the past six months, the top three actions people in India most want corporations to prioritize are, prepare for future pandemics (52%), provide existing employees with new skills and training for their future careers (47%), and create new jobs/employment opportunities for underrepresented minority groups within their corporation (46%).

3M initiatives

3M recently announced actions to build even greater equity in its communities, business practices and workplaces, setting a new global, education-focused goal. The company will advance economic equity by creating five million unique STEM and Skilled Trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by the end of 2025.

3M is also releasing a docuseries for the public this June. “Not the Science Type,” features the stories of four female scientists with different careers as they challenge stereotypes and confront and overcome gender, racial, and age discrimination.

3M India Limited, an Indian Subsidiary of US based 3M Company, was established in 1988 and has its headquarters in Bengaluru with branch offices at Mumbai, Gurgaon, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai. 3M leverages its global innovation expertise to develop homegrown solutions that addresses unique needs of diverse customers in India.

3M has invested in Innovation centers at Bengaluru and Gurgaon to boost local product development. Its manufacturing footprint is spread across Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad. From products that improve manufacturing efficiency and impact improved healthcare delivery to safety solutions that help increase road visibility, everyday kitchen aids and car care products, today, 3M science is improving the lives of millions of Indians.

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