This introduction examines the growing interest in science diplomacy and the parallel lack of in-depth historical studies on this new concept. In particular, we first show how the recent attention toward science diplomacy has led to a proliferation of hagiographic accounts reflecting the urgency to support its growth rather than truly investigate its ancestry. We then turn to consider how our historical understanding of science diplomacy could be improved, and how this knowledge could equally be of significance to science diplomacy practitioners today.

This essay is part of a special issue entitled Science Diplomacy, edited by Giulia Rispoli and Simone Turchetti.


Simone TurchettiMatthew Adamson, Giulia Rispoli, Doubravka OlšákováSam Robinson

September 2020 

Just Needham to Nixon? On Writing the History of “Science Diplomacy”