Science diplomacy can be described as the intersection of science (including science policy) and diplomacy (as part of foreign policy). It is based on the idea that both sectors need each other. Therefore, despite the different logics of both spheres, bringing them together is imperative for a number of reasons.
Indeed, global challenges such as climate change, poverty, and cybersecurity to name only a few, require coordinated international efforts. In addition to diplomatic skills needed to balance interests and capacities of actors, there is also a need for greater expertise and, more concretely, scientific knowledge. Diplomats cannot be expected to have or to easily obtain this knowledge, even less so in today’s dynamic research and innovation systems. For the most part, they have to rely on scientific advice. However, communication between the scientific and diplomatic communities is not straightforward. The models, processes and resources for this sort of scientific advice are also not yet systematically available.
Science diplomacy takes place when states call upon science and scientists to help advance foreign relations; when scientists and their institutions become involved in diplomacy to help advance science, technology, and innovation; or when these actors join forces to resolve conflict on a transnational scale.
There are currently 3 EU-funded projects that focus on the topic of science diplomacy: