Science and innovation are crucial for providing the ideas, insights, evidence, and technologies necessary to drive the economy, improve health and preserve our environment, and they have delivered great social and economic benefits. “The scientific enterprise is one of humanity’s most successful creations, and the system we’ve built has served us well” (Annan et al. 2019).
But the science and innovation system is clearly under strain in this “post-truth” / “post-trust” era. Recent surveys suggest a growing skepticism and distrust in science and technology (IOG 2020). The public struggles to keep pace with the accelerating, disruptive impacts of new innovations over which they have little input and feel powerless to control. There is a growing disconnect between what the public sees as a remote, exclusive scientific community that insists on undirected “fundamental science” and what scientists and engineers see as a lack of public appreciation and deference for the value of their work (Annan et al. 2019). According to Kinder and Schillo (2020) “…there is less trust in government and ‘elitist’ notions of what innovations are in the public interest.”