A cross-sectional study of biotechnology awareness and teaching in European high schools

Vanderschuren, Hervé; Heinzmann, Dominik; Faso, Carmen; Stupak, Martin; Arga, Kazim Yalçin; Hoerzer, Helen; Laizet, Yech’an; Leduchowska, Paulina; Silva, Nádia; Šimková, Klára (2010). A cross-sectional study of biotechnology awareness and teaching in European high schools. New biotechnology, 27(6), pp. 822-828. Elsevier 10.1016/j.nbt.2010.01.338

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Undoubtedly, biotechnology has a tremendous impact on our daily lives. As a result of this and in parallel to the advancement of knowledge in this field of applied research, consumer awareness of the potential benefits and risks of this technology has steadily increased, leading to a thorough investigation of the public perception of biotechnology in the past years. Indeed, it has become clear that it is in the general interest of science and especially of applied research to inform the public of its advances. A promising next step is to strengthen biotechnology communication in scholastic institutions. In this paper, we investigate the perception of biotechnology in a specific target group, namely high-school students in the 16-20-year-old age range. We conducted a questionnaire-based survey on a total of 1410 students in six European countries to investigate students' perception, concern, scientific knowledge, and awareness. Our data revealed some unexpected patterns of acceptance and concern about biotechnology. Knowledge analysis indicated that pupils lack specific knowledge about biotechnological applications and their interest in biotechnology appeared to be linked to knowledge. Analysis of specific questions about teaching practices at schools suggests that a better targeted choice in media as vehicles for information together with selected speakers could be instrumental in increasing students' interest in science and more specifically in biotechnology.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Cell Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Faso, Carmen


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Carmen Faso

Date Deposited:

05 Dec 2019 11:47

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2019 11:47

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