On 3 September 2020, our S4D4C partner Lorenzo Melchor ran a workshop entitled “An Introduction to Science Diplomacy: Navigating the Complex Interface between Science, Technology, Innovation, and International Relations” during the Pre-RICOMET Conference which dealt with Social Sciences and Humanities in Ionising Radiation Research. This introductory workshop to science diplomacy was part of a wider training programme for social science and humanities researchers in ionizing radiation; for instance, it also included risk communication and ethics in radiation protection.
Most attendees to the workshop were senior researchers interested in getting familiar with the concept of “science diplomacy” and learning about the required soft skills that could help them better influence international policymaking.
Introducing science diplomacy in the RICOMET conference
Lorenzo introduced the different definitions for science diplomacy, its different conceptual approaches and the diverse arrays of stakeholders and networks involved. Then an interactive debate followed deconstructing particular cases of science diplomacy: from the setting of the SESAME synchrotron in the Middle-East to the scientific and political interests behind of certain international scientific research programmes (Horizon 2020, PRIMA, CYTED, Newton Fund…).
Because of the type of research conducted by most attendees, the debate also gave an overview of the relation between science diplomacy and nuclear diplomacy. This way, attendees were encouraged to get familiar with the research conducted by Maria Retentzi from our sister project InsSciDE, with different policy reports written by the United States Institute for Peace, the European Institute of International Studies, or with the management of the Fukushima accident.
Lastly, attendees participated in a short discussion about different professional profiles that operate in science diplomacy. They also were interested in learning about opportunities and mechanisms for career scientists to get involved in national and international advisory systems for policymaking, with particular attention to the roles of Radiation Protection Experts and Medical Physics Experts for the European Commission. The presentation on the required set of soft-skills to be successful in the interface between evidence and policymaking also received much attention from the audience.
S4D4C is committed to nurturing a community of practitioners, researchers, and policymakers interested in science diplomacy. This workshop is simply one of the many training programmes that our project has been conducting for the last few years. For instance, the S4D4C European Science Diplomacy Online Course keeps has been gathering global attention reaching almost 5 000 registered users since its launch less than three months ago. Our partner Lorenzo Melchor kindly invited all Pre-RICOMET workshop attendees to further their training in science diplomacy by taking this free and open online course.
As a result of this workshop, Pre-RICOMET researchers started to discuss how they could improve the outreach policies and circles of their research institutions and scientific consortia.