Across the policy discourses and academic literature, the popularity of the concept of “Science Diplomacy” has used the concept in an uncritical manner. This paper aims to understand the concept’s value-added and the implications of its use. It considers the evolution of scientific cooperation and its interaction with foreign policy in the Euro-Mediterranean region. It finds out that many of the goals currently enshrined in “science diplomacy” have already constituted the history of the Euro-Mediterranean relationships since the launch of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. The difference with the past is that the EU now has higher political and economic expectations of genuine scientific cooperation. However, in contrast to widening the objectives, the EU has not substantively broadened the tools it avails of. This leads us to expect that the EU’s actual policy in regional scientific cooperation might nevertheless stay the same. While the rhetoric of science diplomacy is of little use, the paper suggests some meaningful questions in the science-foreign policy nexus to replace it.
Penca, Jerneja. (2018). The rhetoric of “science diplomacy”: Innovation for the EU’s scientific cooperation?