Reading the public mind: a novel approach to improving the adoption of new science and technology

This paper describes a new approach to measuring and monitoring the quality of dialogue between research groups and the wider community about specific scientific matters. It is an adaptation of a proven marketing process for monitoring customer satisfaction: key drivers of community perception are elicited and measured, so that managers can respond to the issues that are most important to the community, rather than relying on their own perceptions. One important benefit of the approach is that the method provides a means of linking an overall score for the community’s perceived value of a research project to an important business driver such as ‘percentage of people very willing to support deployment of the research results’. The method is illustrated by a case study exploring the views of the Australian public about research into genetic manipulation for pest mouse control. For the population surveyed (the community in New South Wales, Australia), some 40% were very willing to support the use of genetic manipulation to manage pest mice. If an increase of 1.5 in the score for the perceived value of a research project (measured on a scale from 1 to 10) were achieved, the prediction is that overall community support for eventual deployment would rise to about 80%. The approach would appear to have a useful role to play in assisting eventual technology adoption.

Author N. I. Fisher, J. H. J. Cribb and A. J. Peacock
Date 18/10/2007
Year 2007
Secondary title Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
Volume 47
Number 11
Pages 1262?1271
Notes Notes
Control method Biological Control
Region NSW
Documents Download paper - 'Reading the public mind'