Simon Fuglsang

MSc Political Science from Aarhus University, PHD student at CFA since 2021

Supervisor: Niels Mejlgaard. Co-superviser: Kim Mannemar Sønderskov.

What is the topic of your project?

I am investigating individual level explanations of public opinion of science and technology. The overarching goal of my project is to turn attention towards how aspects of people’s everyday lives connect to attitudes held regarding science and technology. This aims to inform a literature, which has put the majority of its efforts into investigating influences of knowledge of science as well as political and religious worldviews. While I agree that such explanations contribute considerably to our understanding of science attitudes, I believe that the literature has overlooked state of life, individual experiences, as well as psychological predispositions. I expect that individuals rely on proximate and available information and experiences when forming science attitudes, not necessarily relying on what researchers might think should be the most relevant impressions. This intuition is the starting point of my research, which empirically test these expectations by performing quantitative analyses of survey data. 

How did you end up doing a PhD at CFA?

Chance and curiosity. Prior to starting my PhD, I was a research assistant at CFA, and prior to this, I did my bachelors and masters at the department of political science. I have not traveled all that far in terms of space through my academic journey, I guess because I have been happy about where it has taken me. I have a longstanding interest in attitudinal and behavioral studies, making public opinion of science a fantastic fit. My interest for investigating these particular attitudes were sparked by discussion with the person who became my supervisor during my employment as a research assistant, as well as an unhealthy amount of watching youtube videos on conspiracy theorists/theories.

What is it like doing a PhD at CFA?

I think doing a PhD is a very different experience for different people. Depending on the nature of the proposal, the methods employed, and the temperament of PhD-student, different people have different experiences. One of the things that are often mentioned is how doing a PhD can be a lonely task. I was lucky enough to be at CFA prior to starting the PhD, and I have multiple individuals at the center with similar interests to mine, which I think contributes very positively to my work and the fun I have while doing it. When doing a PhD, prioritizing social activities is vital, and there are many possibilities of doing so both within the center, and at the department of political science. I think the atmosphere at CFA is quite relaxed and autonomy is very high. In addition, the center has a quite wide range of research activities, so being exposed to fields related but dissimilar to your own is quite easy, which I think is a quite significant plus.

What would you like to do when you are done with your dissertation?

As is the case for the majority of PhDs, I hope to stay in academia. If at some point the employment possibilities or my interest runs out, my plans would be doing some sort of data analysis somewhere else.