The presence of sufficient resources, infrastructures and good intentions cannot make up for a lack of highly skilled human capital trained in the peculiarities of Science Diplomacy. This includes basic diplomatic training for European researchers as well as basic training for diplomats in scientific thinking, various disciplines and philosophy of sciences. Broadly speaking, useful skills to acquire are gatekeeping, negotiation, out-of-the-box-, cross-sectoral-, and associative thinking and institutional entrepreneuring.

This leads to the following principle:

Science diplomatic activities should empower individuals to become trained ‘translators’, ‘multilingual’ in the sense of speaking the language of science and diplomacy and enable them to opportunistically or incidentally interact with communities beyond their daily circles both in the domain of science and/or diplomacy.

To ensure this principle is considered, ask yourself:

  • Is there the appropriate human capital necessary for the envisioned activity? If not, what’s lacking?
  • How can such human capital be sustained and grow?
Fictive Case

Lorenzo Melchor, Izaskun Lacunza & Ana Elorza Moreno (FECYT)

Due to a natural disaster, the reactor core cooling system of a nuclear plant in country A fails leading to a nuclear meltdown and the subsequent radioactive contamination on the surrounding area. Because of the expertise in nuclear sciences and nuclear crisis management and country B’s international cooperation vocation, the ministry of foreign affairs of country B offers her support through collaboration with and involvement of her chief scientific adviser. Through the appropriate diplomatic channels, government authorities from countries A and B set up a scientific task force to liaise with the incident and advise local authorities. The chief scientific adviser from country B engages with other scientific experts and chief scientific advisers from country A to collaborate with them throughout the management of the crisis, and also with diplomats and policymakers from national and local authorities of country A to share the scientific evidence on certain issues with them. The chief scientific adviser from country B is required to engage with her peers in country A and, at the same time, explain the scientific evidence to diplomats and policy makers in layman’s terms while being aware of both countries’ cultural differences. In both countries, communication with the general public is crucial. This requires a close coordination between both government authorities and that chief scientific advisers adhere to strict protocols and communication strategies particularly addressed at each target.

Other relevant principles involved: Trust, Legitimacy, Complementarity and Manoeuvrability, Sensitivity, Alignment.

Relation to S4D4C Transversal Case Study Analysis: This principle is derived from the Individuals Matter. Read more on the matters by clicking on the images below.