3M launches State of Science Index 2023

revealing Indians believe science and technology can improve their lives.

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Global science company 3M released the results of the sixth India 3M State of Science Index 2023 ( SOSI 2023) a global science perception survey commissioned by 3M to explore global attitudes toward science, taking the pulse on how people think and feel about the field and its impact on the world around us. Data from the SOSI 2023 provides insights that enable organizations to anticipate future challenges and develop new innovations and solutions in response.

“We are delighted to share the 3M State of Science Index 2023 India results. With 86% of Indians believing positive outcomes can be achieved if people stand up for and defend science – from solutions to climate change to improved public health and sustainable agriculture, the findings equip us with actionable insights so we can effectively build a future-proof business to make a positive impact on people, businesses, and indeed, on society at large,” said Ramesh Ramadurai, Managing Director, 3M India Limited.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) equity needs significant work

Diversity and inclusion foster innovation and collaboration, which are long-standing hallmarks of 3M’s culture. As a science-based company, 3M places special focus on addressing equity in STEM and skilled trades to support a diverse pipeline of talent for generations to come. This commitment, along with the company’s efforts in community engagement, is an integral part of how 3M improves lives.

According to the SOSI 2023 data, 91% of survey respondents in India believe that science has a critical role in improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations and 92% (vs. 84% globally) want to hear what scientists think about societal issues.

86% (vs. 94% globally) of Indians believe positive outcomes can be achieved if people stand up for and defend science – from solutions to climate change, to improved public health and sustainable agriculture. Furthermore, 95% say schools should provide education around climate change for students as a core part of their science curriculum. This could potentially foster a passion for science and encourage future generations to start addressing climate change concerns at an early age.

The same perception of the importance of STEM is shared across the board with 94% of Indians agreeing that STEM professionals can help solve the problems of tomorrow. However, equity in STEM professions still requires significant work as there are many groups of people who are often overlooked or under-supported despite showing potential. In the current climate, India respondents agreed that sources of untapped potential in the STEM workforce include underrepresented groups at 90% (vs 82% globally) and women at 93% (vs 86% globally). These underrepresented groups, if given opportunities, would be crucial in driving the economy of our country. In fact, 92% of respondents agree that more needs to be done to encourage and keep students from underrepresented groups engaged in STEM education – and 91% (vs. 78% globally) say underrepresented groups often do not receive equal access to STEM education.

Skilled trade workers are in demand

According to the survey, 91% of Indians believe the workforce in India needs more skilled trade workers urgently. This shortage could potentially come from how the community views the skilled trader workers. 80% (vs 56% globally) believe there is a negative stigma around being a skilled trade worker. This is further reiterated by 85% (vs 58% globally) of the respondents who say parents are discouraging their children from pursuing a skilled trade.

80% of the respondents say that if the country cannot find a solution to this shortage soon, there could be consequences such as negative economic impact, declines in overall quality of life, safety risks, neglected public infrastructure and supply chain challenges.

While India’s urbanization efforts are underway using the efforts of skilled trade workers from various sectors, greater efforts on developing DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) still need greater focus in order to accelerate development. 94% believe it is important to increase DE&I in skilled trade fields, and 94% (vs. 88% globally) believe it is important to increase DE&I in the healthcare field.

3M’s has set a global, education-focused goal to advance economic equity by creating five million unique STEM and Skilled Trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by the end of 2025.

Climate change needs to be addressed both by businesses and individuals

As global temperature is projected to warm about 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050* worldwide, there has never been a greater need for climate action and innovation. The United Nations has warned that developing countries are most vulnerable to the detrimental health effects of global warming. According to the survey, people are in India are concerned about clean water supply (68%), air pollution (69%) and plastic pollution (68%).

The SOSI 2023 data aligns with the general view where 83% of Indians said they are concerned about the consequences of climate change. The answer to mitigating these consequences lies in science as 95% believe that science can be applied to minimize the effects of climate change.

Climate action and innovations are the need of the hour as a recent WMO report pointed out that global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years. The responsibility to act falls on the shoulders of both businesses and individuals, as 95% said companies need to accelerate development and adoption of technologies and innovations that address climate change and 95% (vs 90% globally) agreed that people should follow science to help make the world more stainable.

Electric vehicles will play a major role for the sustainable future.

Indians believe many transportation innovations are safe – including electric public transportation (95% vs 94% globally) and road systems that communicate with your car (95% vs 91% globally).

As the availability of electric cars become more prevalent regionally as well as globally, 94% of Indians said they believe electric vehicles help in minimizing pollution. The respondents believe the switch to electric cars should be reflected across the world as 94% (vs 77% globally) said that by 2032, all countries should stipulate that new vehicles that are manufactured should be either electric or hybrid.

Examples of 3M solutions for the EV market include Human Machine Interface solutions, sensor technology, a full range of solutions to improve EV battery range, safety, and manufacturing efficiency, and more.

State of Science Index helps to prepare for the future.

The findings from the SOSI 2023 highlight the important issues that organizations, communities, and individuals need to prepare for the future.

“Understanding how people perceive science and its impacts plays a big role in improving the way we create and innovate solutions. As the future will be more dependent on scientific breakthroughs, the 3M State of Science Index survey across 17 countries is a testament of how 3M puts science at the center of everything we do”, concluded 3M India Managing Director, Ramesh Ramadurai.