Bringing Scientists into Science Diplomacy
In mid-October 2018, the S4D4C project launched its ‘Open Doors Programme’ in order to train highly motivated scientists in science diplomacy. This competitive scheme gave five grantees the opportunity to engage with different diplomacy stakeholders across Europe and gain hands-on experience.
Science and Technology are crucial tools in tackling humanity’s grand challenges. Addressing these challenges requires the coordinated efforts of researchers, diplomats and policy makers. However, communication between these parties is not usually straightforward and training opportunities are needed. S4D4C’s Open Doors Programme aims to provide scientists with tools to become science diplomats.
Between December 2018 to October 2019, grantees Marta Božina Beroš (EU institutions and policies researcher), Antonethe Castaneda (political sciences and energy researcher), Alexandra Middleton (sustainable business in the Arctic researcher), Marta Pulido-Salgado (biology of neurodegenerative diseases researcher) and David Velázquez (polar research and microbiology researcher) took part in a ‘learning by doing’ training programme in science diplomacy across Europe.
Meetings held by the S4D4C and the EL-CSID projects gave significant insights on EU cultural and science diplomacy as well as made it possible to network with high-level, renowned experts. Visits to the Spanish embassies in London and Brussels allowed grantees to get to know first-hand the daily routine of a diplomatic mission. Furthermore, attendance at the UK’s Parliamentary workshop provided the scientists with key tools to help identify the impact research has on society and how to effectively communicate it to policy makers. In Bonn, a visit to the European Space Agency enriched this experience. Here, grantees enjoyed learning about science diplomacy as a powerful tool to unlock international collaboration even in times of turmoil.
Take-home message: Science diplomacy is a core part of our democracy. No single country, nor region, can solve global challenges alone. Science diplomacy can help to build new collaborations in order to help scientists, diplomats and policymakers to work together. But there is still a long way to go!
S4D4C’s blog entries on the progress of the Open Doors Programme: