Policy brief on science diplomacy in the European Union

Tim Flink and Charlotte Rungius, our S4D4C colleagues at DZHW/Germany, have published our project’s first policy brief focusing on practices and prospects in European Union science diplomacy. With the European Commission making greater efforts in engaging in science diplomacy, all involved European actors can seize the chance to better coordinate their efforts in this multi-level governance setting. But this entails tackling some challenges, i.e. (i) defining science diplomacy as a variable, yet encompassing and succinct framework, (ii) the coordination between member states and the EU, and (iii) the training of staff engaging in SD. Against this backdrop, the authors suggest that actors switch toward a mode of thought that can be best described by a meta-governance framework, that helps “navigate the multiple forms of interactions between S&T and foreign policy.” A meta-governance framework encourages both analysts and practitioners to assess changing configurations of actors, governance arrangements and policy practices in a case-specific and situational way. Since science diplomacy cannot follow a standard approach (e.g. a country-specific one), each case features idiosyncratic governance arrangements, actors’ landscapes and policy styles.

In parallel to the work on the meta-governance framework, efforts need to be stepped up to equip professionals at the intersection of science and foreign policy with the right skills and resources. „Competences and needs of staff members (especially in foreign policy) linked to science diplomacy should be assessed and appropriate training should be offered.”

The S4D4C project, together with its sister projects EL-CSID and InsSciDE, provides conceptual and practical tools that can help decision-makers continue to build a visible and effective science diplomacy in the European Union and beyond.

Posted by Alexander Degelsegger-Márquez

S4D4C Coordinator