The COVID-19 crisis has shown how countries initially responded to a global challenge on their own, instead of relying on a multilateral science diplomacy — based response. Although, science diplomacy has received great attention for the past decade, its meaning and the nature of the diverse practitioners involved remain elusive. Science diplomacy is a transboundary field sitting across national borders, policy frameworks and stakeholders of all natures and professional backgrounds. But what is a science diplomat? What science diplomacy roles formally exist? Who can become a science diplomat? What knowledge and skills are required? This practitioner’s essay proposes a typology of science diplomacy practitioners who bring science, technology, innovation, foreign policy and the international political system altogether closer in either institutionalised or non-institutionalised roles, and it also provides guidance for pursuing a career in science diplomacy. These science diplomats may promote national competitiveness but also facilitate multilateral responses to global challenges.
Keywords: science diplomacy; science diplomat; science counsellor; science attaché; science adviser; science advice; science-policy interface; knowledge diplomacy; COVID-19

Open Access

Lorenzo Melchor

10 Aug 2020



What Is a Science Diplomat?