S4D4C cases

Under its Work Package 3 “European Science Diplomacy addressing global challenges”, S4D4C experts investigate a range of science diplomacy cases. Below you can find first insights into the nine cases developed. The texts are first outlines. Full case descriptions will be available at this page as soon as they are ready.

Cases with a foreign policy focus

1. Science diplomacy as a means to tackle infectious diseases: The case of zika (Lead author: Ivo Šlosarčík / Charles University, team: USFD, DLR)

The case study on scientific diplomacy concerning research and prevention of infectious diseases is focused on the zika epidemic in 2015-2016 but includes also broader issues of scientific diplomacy related to infectious diseases in general.  The case study analyses two phases of the relevant diplomatic efforts, an immediate reaction to the zika epidemics (science diplomacy within crisis management) as well as long term reaction focused on research and zika prevention (science diplomacy in research, including research funding). In particular, the cases study covers the institutional dimension of the response to zika epidemics and (state v. non-state actors, role of universities and research institutions, new institutional patterns), the actorness questions (such as whether the science diplomatic efforts have been driven primarily by diplomats, scientists or doctors/practitioners) and the general narrative of the science diplomacy concerning epidemic diseases.

output brief: infectious diseases

2. Water diplomacy: using preemptive diplomacy tools to face global challenges (Lead author: Eliska Tomalova / CU, team: UT, USFD)

The case study on climate change and water focuses on water diplomacy as a foreign policy area where actors dealing with water policy agenda issues interact on the national, EU and global levels. In this case study we analyze the water diplomacy domain as a specific diplomatic agenda where multiple stakeholders come into play. Besides the EU actors, who have recently emphasized the preemptive aspects of water diplomacy, the case study identifies the main actors at the national level (in the subcases of the Czech Republic, Netherlands and the UK), their motivations, goals, priorities and agenda setting techniques. In the conclusion, the case study summarizes and evaluates water diplomacy best practices. Special attention is devoted to the interconnections between global goals and challenges in the water diplomacy field and the priorities of national and EU actors in terms of their ambitions to become agenda leaders, good partners of “exellency sellers” in the international arena.

output brief: water diplomacy

3. Cyber Security: Mapping the Role of Science Diplomacy in the Cyber Field (Lead author: Lucie Kadlecová / CU, team: UL, DLR)

The case study on cyber security and science diplomacy investigates the interaction between cyber diplomacy and science. Given that cyber security is increasingly becoming a hot topic of international affairs, science might potentially play an important role in establishing the much-needed trust between states. It is thus highly relevant to look into how states as well as the EU work with science diplomacy in the cyber realm, if at all. Besides the EU, the case study focuses on the approach of the Czech Republic, Germany and France, all three active players in the European cyber security. Based on desk research and experts’ interviews, the researchers map the current relations between science diplomacy and cyber security and their past developments. Among others, they identify the main stakeholders in the respective countries and in the EU, study their relations and motivations to engage and investigate how much the actual practice reflects the goals and visions set up in the relevant strategic documents such as national cyber strategies. In the conclusion, the case study will provide a complex picture of the current state of play of science diplomacy in cyber field in the three EU countries and the EU itself.

output brief: cyber security

Science driven cases

4. The science and diplomacy of global challenges: Food security in EU-Africa relations (Lead author: Pauline Ravinet / UL, team: CU, TWAS)

The analysis focuses on the case of “food security” which is both a key issue in the challenge-based EU global strategy and a research topic within Horizon 2020 (under societal challenge 2). In terms of science diplomacy, a societal challenge such as “food security” is interesting because it carries the idea that science has potential but not yet answers, and thus requires a different approach by diplomats. More precisely, our team research examines what “science diplomacy” means and how it is used on the issue of food security in the area of European Union-African Union relationships. Can we identify some interfaces between science and diplomacy on this topic? How and to what extent “science diplomacy” encompasses common practices among scientists, the European sectoral administrations and diplomatic services? What are the core factors which shape “science diplomacy” boundaries et consistency? To further these aims, the study is based upon substantial unique empirical fieldwork: in-depth interviews with members of the European Commission’s DGs and services (DG Agri, DG Devco, DG RTD, JRC), members of the European external action service (Global challenges direction, as well as Africa direction), and other relevant stakeholders.

output brief: food security in EU Africa relations

5. International dimensions of the EU’s FET Flagships: Large-scale strategic research investments as a site of de-facto science diplomacy (Lead Author: Alexander Degelsegger-Márquez / ZSI, team: DLR)

In this case study, we investigate the Future and Emerging Technology (FET) Flagship projects as a site for European science diplomacy. The FET Flagships are intended to be visionary, large-scale, science-driven research initiatives which tackle grand scientific and technological challenges across scientific disciplines. They are funded for up to € 1bn and ten years in public-public (EU and EU Member States) as well as public-private partnerships. With their scope and size, with thousands of researchers involved in each of them, they are interventions into the global research and innovation systems that do not go unnoticed.

Using desk research, expert interviews and participant observation, we take a close look at the ways in which the Flagships are situated in the global research endeavours in their respective fields. We also address the question how the Flagships, in practical terms, strike a balance between international cooperation and their competitiveness-related goals. The case study provides interesting insights into the international dynamics of large-scale thematically focused research investments.

We are interested in the instrument as such and therefore looking into all three currently funded FET Flagships – Graphene, the Human Brain Project and the Quantum Flagship. The focus is on the latter, though. The Quantum Flagship is the most recent of the three, which allows us to observe it during its ramp-up phase where, among other things, forms of engagement with partner regions are being negotiated. This process is illustrative for some explicit and more implicit aspects of European science diplomacy.

ouptput brief: FET Flagships

6. Open Science Diplomacy (Lead Author: Katja Mayer / ZSI, team: UT, TWAS)

The international Open Science movement strives to improve accessibility to and reusability of research and takes the opportunity to renegotiate the social roles and responsibilities of publicly-funded research. The umbrella term of Open Science covers Open Access to publications, Open Research Data and Methods, Open Source Software, Open Infrastructures, Open Educational Resources, Open Evaluation, and Citizen Science. With many initiatives, programmes, and now with the ambitions of various funders acting together as cOAlitionS to implement Open Access by 2020 and to encourage new business models for sustainable scholarly communication, Europe is leading Open Science to new frontiers.

Commissioner Moedas has outlined the leading role of Europe in the implementation of Open Science within the RRI framework for research and innovation funding. In his “Three O” (Open Science, Open Innovation, Open to the World) approach, he has defined a set of priorities to make Europe a stronger global actor through science and collaboration, thus implying core aspects of science diplomacy. It is therefore vital to explore opportunities offered by Open Science, particularly open data and open access, to the provision of scientific advice to foreign policy. How can Open Science be exploited for decision-making support, knowledge resources and science diplomacy governance frameworks? How is the European Open Science strategy perceived by non-European partners and can thus be harnessed for EU foreign policy? In this S4D4C case study these questions spread into the following dimensions:  1) a systemic perspective: how are Open Science policies internationally negotiated and orchestrated; 2)  a content/procedural perspective: how can/does Open Science help foreign policy-making, and 3) a thematic perspective: Open Science as topic of foreign policy (though those perspectives might be overlapping to some extent). Contrasting those potential dimensions will enrich our investigation both in the study of documents and in interviews with leading experts.

output brief: Open Science Diplomacy

European instrument driven cases

7. SESAME – a synchrotron light source in the Middle East: an international research infrastructure in the making (Lead Author: Charlotte Rungius / DZHW)

SESAME (Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) is a particle accelerator based in Allan, Jordan, that aims to promote peace between Middle Eastern countries (including Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, Jordan and more) via creating interdependence and collaborative political, institutional and research efforts. In this case we reconstruct the current setting up of this international research infrastructure through participatory observation, expert interviews and analysis of public data (including public press articles, website material, some quasi-scientific papers). With SESAME still being in the making, the potential co-construction of an international political governance arrangement and a scientific infrastructure can be traced.

output brief: SESAME

8. Research standards and integrity in international settings​: Linking research communities from the EU and abroad (Lead Author: Tim Flink / DZHW, team: ZSI)

International science policymaking largely revolves around the preparing, implementing, guiding and assessing of bi- or multilateral research funding initiatives that bring together scientists (and often actors from outside academia) from different countries in their joint R&D undertakings. Acknowledging that actors from different countries do not always share the same views about the purpose and quality of academic research, let alone about procedures on how to value scientific quality, research funding agencies are often challenged to find common grounds. In particular, joint funding initiatives between countries showing a huge asymmetry with respect to their economic resources and development levels are an ideal point of observation for how diplomacy for science and science for diplomacy reflexively meet one another. The case study looks at two instances where research standards can be observed as “in the making”.

output brief: joint programming

9. Science advice in the European Union: Crafting collective understanding of transnational issues (Lead Author: James Wilsdon / USFD, team: ZSI)

This case study examines the science advice mechanisms of the European Union, with a particular focus on science advice for fisheries. The case study first charts the history of science advice in the European Union, including the recent development of a Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) encompassing input from national academies of science (through the Science Advice for Policy by European Academies; SAPEA), and the production of advice by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors. To then bring further granularity to this case study, we focus our analysis on the issue of fisheries, which in addition to the recent publication of the scientific opinion on ‘Food from the Oceans’ by the SAM, is supported by a well-established network of science advisory bodies within and beyond the European Union. These include the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, which reports to the European Commission, and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, a membership organisation providing advice to the EU and other national governments on sustainable yields and other issues. Although the working of the EU science advisory system may not be a typical example of science diplomacy, through the convening of international experts in dialogue with governments and other stakeholders, science advisory bodies provide important spaces through which collectivised understanding on issues of transnational concern can be developed.

output brief: science advice


An aggregated data package for the case studies is available HERE.