The evolution of open-ended science diplomacy efforts (as to their nature, co-evolving with implementation) needs to be evaluated, not at least to create accountability and legitimacy. Transformation-related science diplomacy activities require learning, with new capacities and capabilities. Science diplomacy agents need to build competence in ‘navigation’: diagnostic, evaluative and prospective studies (Strategic Intelligence; Kuhlmann et al. 1999). Strategic Intelligence- based evaluation will enable deliberation, the moderation of negotiations, and the ability to package and perform.
This leads to the following principle:
Science diplomatic activities should be reflective and facilitate learning throughout the process.
To ensure this principle is considered, ask yourself:
- How satisfactorily are the activities being performed?
- Can or should they be performed differently?
- What has been learned?
- Can future activities be adapted based on such learnings?
Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros (University of Twente)
For a long time, a world leading research institution has searched for ways to cope with the Zika virus which affects thousands of pregnant women in tropical countries in the Americas, causing certain birth defects. Until today, no vaccine or medicine is available. Focused treatment tests were first performed directly by prominent scientists of the institution leading the research. Soon after a comprehensive evaluation they realized that these processes were more efficient if performed by a broader international collaboration program that also involved scientists located in the global south. Hence, after vivid deliberations at the research institution’s executive board, where all aspects of the issue were considered, the decision was made to put together a joint research team with natural scientists, health scientists and social scientists both from the global north and from several of the targeted countries in the global south. The team benefitted from the latter’s considerable knowledge and access to relevant research resources relating to the transmitting mosquito and the affected communities’ lifestyles and environment in the tropical countries.
In some of the target countries, the establishment of the necessary connections and the creation of intervention teams was substantially aided by science diplomats from both the northern and southern countries. While some aspects of the intervention program are still designed and performed in the northern country, other key components of the program are performed in the affected countries themselves with the support of the local health authorities and scientists from different disciplines and regions in the global south. Owing to comprehensive evaluation and constant monitoring of the research program, today the zika virus is relatively under control in tropical countries such as Colombia.
Relation to S4D4C Transversal Case Study Analysis: This principle is derived from the following matters:
Read more on the matters by clicking on the images below.