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Science diplomacy in practice

Science and foreign policy are rarely mentioned in the same breath. However, in recent decades they have become increasingly intertwined. Tackling global problems such as climate change or the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals requires an integrated approach that seeks to combine the best of these two worlds. And for this, a new term has been coined: science diplomacy.

Science diplomacy refers to processes such as supporting diplomatic efforts with scientific findings, or evidence-based diplomacy, as well as to the development of new transnational research approaches and cross-border scientific cooperation.

Case studies

Since the end of 2017, the Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (University of Twente, Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences) has been partnering with nine European partners from science and policy practice under the supervision of Stefan Kuhlmann, in order to explore the phenomenon of science diplomacy in greater depth. This large-scale European project, financed by Horizon 2020 and entitled ‘S4D4C - Using Science Diplomacy to Address Global Challenges’, has led to empirical research being carried out on nine case studies involving policy areas in science diplomacy or policy areas which could be understood as such. On behalf of the Twente team, Ewert Aukes has contributed to two of these case studies: water management and Open Science. These case studies provide a basis for the development of a governance framework for a successful – i.e. constructive and productive – science diplomacy. The Twente team has final responsibility for this within the project.

Two workshops

Because we are convinced that a governance framework can only be successful and useful in practice if practitioners, with all their knowledge and experience, are actually involved in its development, the Twente team is holding two co-creation workshops in the autumn in order to test and validate the governance framework. The first workshop will be held in early October in Berlin as part of the European Networking Meeting organized by S4D4C. The second will take place in Vienna with support from the Diplomatic Academy. At these workshops, with the help and insight of staff from government ministries, embassies, research centres, the European Commission and NGOs from across Europe and beyond, we hope to arrive at a governance framework that can provide support for policymakers who are working to solve complex problems in this area, which is located at the intersection between science, technology and innovation on the one hand and international relations on the other.

More information

The project has been funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 770342. UT employees involved (all from BMS-STePS):  Stefan Kuhlmann, Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros, Ewert Aukes, Sanaz Honarmand Ebrahimi.Link to project website: Link to short case descriptions: More information via Ewert Aukes