The Strategic Forum on International Cooperation published on 23 September 2021 the SFIC Opinion on the European Commission Communication „Global approach to research and innovation – Europe’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world”.
One of the objectives of the opinion is also to give input for driving forward a joint EU Science Diplomacy agenda in the context of the global approach communication. In the context of Science Diplomacy, the following points are mentioned – referencing also explicitly the EU European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance!
[2.] SFIC reiterates the relevance of Science Diplomacy as an instrument for addressing global challenges and jointly achieving the SDGs. Mechanisms for science-based advice in EU and MS foreign policy benefit from advances in research (e.g. Azores Declaration contributing to the All Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance; new climate models). Moreover, research can also offer opportunities for foreign policy impact. Science Diplomacy can make use of these opportunities, when emphasizing aspects of open science, freedom of scientific research and innovation. SFIC underlines that a broader approach to Science Diplomacy by integrating education and youth (“Education Diplomacy”) has the potential to strengthen the synergies between international policy, education, research and innovation, and highlight the role of young people in building sustainable and trustful partnerships between countries.
[3.] The SFIC Task Force on Science Diplomacy has highlighted several potential activities within itslatestdocuments18as well as the need for continuous support. With the recently initiated “EU Science Diplomacy Alliance”, a pan-European Science Diplomacy platform is developing, bringing together relevant actors in the field and allowing for regular exchange. Close collaboration with the Alliance should hence be sought and its work supported by complementing activities such as the development of additional training activities and the organisation of an annual European Science Diplomacy Conference or awarding a SD Prize. Furthermore, the Alliance’s endeavours should be backed by the development of a coherent Science Diplomacy Agenda, jointly elaborated by the Commission, the EEAS as well as the Member States and the Alliance.
[4.] Science Diplomacy for global challenges comprises a set of values, especially global scientific freedom. The Commission should consider setting up a dedicated fellowship scheme, or reinforcing the existing possibilities under the Marie Skłodowska Curie part of Horizon Europe, open to non-EU researchers whose freedom of scientific research is under threat in third countries, to position the European Union as a ‘safe haven’ for freedom of scientific research. The fellowship scheme could build on the proposal by the InSPIREurope consortium, make reference to the categorisation of threats developed by Scholars at Risk and complement national fellowship schemes.
Other aspects addressed in the opinion include the SDGs; International cooperation as a two-way process; Horizon Europe; Co-creation, cooperation between MS, the European Commission and Third Countries; Link to Higher Education and other policy fields; Research Infrastructures and Further implementation of the global approach strategy as well as Foresight; Measurement and Monitoring issues; Global standards and Geographic focus.