This report presents the results from the fourth wave of the Wellcome Monitor, a study about public knowledge of and attitudes towards science and health research.

What’s inside?

Findings based on a survey of nearly 3,000 people across England, Wales and Scotland, on topics including:

  • the public’s engagement with health research
  • who should set health research priorities
  • specific issues around mental health, vaccines and drug-resistant infections

Who is it for?

  • public engagement practitioners
  • science communicators
  • policy makers
  • academics studying public understanding of science

Key findings

  • The vast majority of the public (82%) are interested in health research, with mental health research being the most popular area of interest.
  • The web was the most commonly used source to seek health information for all age groups except the over 70s. Social media was particularly common for finding health information among younger people and those on lower incomes.
  • Younger people were more likely to make decisions about their own health by looking up information and research. Older people were more likely to follow the advice of health professionals.
  • Over half of the public (57%) think that all types of people should be involved in setting health research priorities, but scientists working in universities are the most favoured.
  • Drug-resistant infections are seen as a bigger risk to public health than air pollution, high sugar content in food, people not getting vaccinated and climate change.