In this new policy brief, S4D4C team member Tim Flink presents a first set of guiding ideas that can be used by policy actors to evaluate science diplomacy strategies. Science diplomacy has been a rather popular concept that has increasingly gained recognition and relevance. In this enthusiastic wave science diplomacy has been broadened to encompass more and more actors, stakeholders and activities while only little focus has been put on the empirical relevance of science diplomacy. The policy brief proposes to palliate this by advocating for science diplomacy actions to effectively be evaluated.

Concretely Tim recommends for evaluation to 1) be designed comparatively in relation to time, space and actors, 2) evaluations should ask if actions are, on a minimum level, not disadvantageous for any actor and, on a maximum level, beneficial for all, 3) The competitive sides of science diplomacy must be taken into consideration, without disapproving them a priori and 4) evaluations might not only relate actions as being part of science diplomacy only, as they can also contribute to adjacent concepts and discourses.

The four recommendations made in the policy brief aim to start a discussion on how to assess the impact of science diplomacy activities necessary to further refine and advance the field. Evaluations will help to discern what type of promises can be made in the name of science diplomacy and therefore will help to make science diplomacy actions more focused and effective.

The policy brief is available here



Please cite as: Flink, T. 2021. Why science diplomacy needs evaluative backing. S4D4C POLICY BRIEF, February 2021. Available at



Policy Brief: Why science diplomacy needs evaluative backing