Keynote speaker for MSU’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Month will address trust in science in light of COVID-19

Keynote presenter Cary Funk, Ph.D., Pew Research Center, will kick-off a year-long theme where CANR will explore the public trust in science and science advice.

Image of Cary Funk, Ph.D., director of science and society research at Pew Research Center.
Cary Funk, Ph.D., director of science and society research at Pew Research Center.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – How has the global pandemic affected public trust in science? Are people’s opinions more or less favorable toward scientists because of COVID-19?

The Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) will lead conversations and events on this topic throughout the year. To kick things off, Cary Funk, director of science and society research at Pew Research Center, will give the first-ever ANR Month keynote presentation on March 26 at 11 a.m. The virtual event is open to the public. 

For two decades, Funk has specialized in public trust in science. Her work examines the social, ethical and policy implications of scientific developments in climate, energy, genetic engineering and food in general. 

“With March being Agriculture and Natural Resources Month at MSU, it a good time to talk about the pandemic, its impacts on science and society’s trust in science,” said Doug Buhler, director of MSU AgBioResearch. “One positive outcome of COVID-19 is that perhaps it’s raised awareness within society about the importance of scientific advancements and discoveries.”

The 2018 the MSU Food Literacy and Engagement Poll revealed that public trust in academic scientists was considerably higher than those scientists working in government and industry spaces. Poll co-director Sheril Kirshenbaum, who will moderate the conversation, finds these findings encouraging.

“I look forward to listening to Dr. Funk’s opinions on a topic that means so much to the scientific community and society,” she said. “Based on our poll results, academic scientists may have the greatest opportunity to foster public trust in science.”

To learn more and register for the event visit

For more information on ANR Month visit

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