The S4D4C consortium has recently concluded the first workshop on science diplomacy in Trieste, Italy. The event, titled “Science meets Diplomacy: a new European perspective”, was hosted by TWAS – The World Academy of Sciences, a partner in the S4D4C consortium.

From a competitive pool of applications, participants were selected on the basis of their interest and track record in science and international relations, taking into account the geographical distribution as well as a gender balance. Altogether 16 countries from both the EU and the EU’s neighbourhood regions were represented in Trieste, including, for instance, highly experienced participants from the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Algeria to mention only a few countries.

After opening statements of Mohamed Hassan, President of TWAS, who served the Academy for over 26 years and was vital in establishing its role in the advancement of science in developing countries, Clemens Mantl, Consul General of Austria in Milan and former director of the Office of Science and Technology Austria (OSTA) in Washington D.C., stressed the effects of technological change on international relations and diplomacy*, and Marga Gual Soler, Advisor to the Horizon 2020 European Science Diplomacy Cluster, discussed the past, present and future of EU science diplomacy – echoing also her contribution to Carlos Moedas’ Research, Innovation and Science Experts Advisory Group “Europe as a Stronger Global Actor through Science Diplomacy” presented recently at UNESCO in Paris.

The workshop was rounded off with two more guest speakers: Nico Pitrelli from the International School of Advanced Studies in Trieste illustrated the deficit model in science communication and Pierguido Sarti, who is the Italian Science Attaché in Pretoria and currently works on the Square Kilometer Array project in South Africa, shared insights and practical advice about conducting science diplomacy when working in an embassy.

On the second of three days, the workshop participants visited Elettra, a synchrotron third-generation light source facility close to Trieste, where over 1000 user scientists from different countries collaborate and share knowledge, technical equipment and laboratories – a truly inspiring practice of science crossing borders and uniting cultures.

The second S4D4C science diplomacy workshop takes place in Vienna from November 25-27! We are already looking very much forward to welcoming another group of participants and speakers and will keep you updated.

First S4D4C workshop in Trieste: Looking at the future of European Science Diplomacy