S4D4C case studies and matters of science diplomacy

Under our Work Package 3 “European Science Diplomacy addressing global challenges”, S4D4C experts investigate a range of science diplomacy cases. A mixed team of researchers have developed nine case studies, which each provide an overview of the case and its background, context and governance arrangements, further providing a description of the stakeholder landscape and a discussion of governance practices. They look at the EU level as well as selected examples from the national level that vary from case to case. The case studies examine the use of knowledge, the relations between governance levels and provide a discussion on how the case improves or changes our understanding of science diplomacy. They were edited by Mitchell Young (Charles University), Tim Flink (DZHW) and Elke Dall (ZSI).

These case studies are at the empirical heart of S4D4C, informing many other parts of the project such as the work on a governance framework and training materials for science diplomats.

Here you can access the volume of compiled results of the nine case studies “Science Diplomacy in the Making: Case-based insights from the S4D4C project“.

You can also find below brief case summaries in the form of posters as well as individual case reports.

The case studies were the basis of a further publication “The ‘Matters’ of Science Diplomacy: Transversal Analysis of the S4D4C Case Studies”. The transversal analysis identifies insights to foster and advance the understanding and the practice of science diplomacy. Each matter addresses a piece from the larger picture; together they form a mosaic depicting the complex and wide-ranging concept of science diplomacy. The 10 ‘matters’ are the result of the collaborative work between 11 S4D4C team members, coordinated by Mitchell Young, S4D4C lead for empirical work.

The analysis is available here S4D4C_REPORTS_The-Matters-of-Science-Diplomacy_Sept2020

You can also read the matters one by one, just click on one of the images:

The Matters of Science Diplomacy


S4D4C Case Studies

Cases with a foreign policy focus

1. Science diplomacy and infectious diseases: Between national and European narratives
Case authors:
Ivo Šlosarčík, Charles University
Nadia Meyer,
German Aerospace Center
Jennifer Chubb, 
then University of Sheffield

output brief: infectious diseases

case report: infectious diseases

The Zika epidemics in 2015 and 2016 provided a platform for further elaboration of science diplomacy used by the EU institutions and EU Member States. The response was characterised by an interplay between the political, diplomatic, medical and scientific communities performed within national, European, and global frameworks.

2. Water diplomacy and its future in the national, regional and European environments
Case authors:
Eliška Tomalová,
Charles University
Eliška Černovská, Charles University
Ewert Aukes,
University of Twente
Jasper Montana,
then University of Sheffield
Elke Dall,
Centre for Social Innovation

output brief: water diplomacy

case report: water diplomacy

Water diplomacy represents a challenge for bringing the worlds of diplomacy and science closer together; it has the potential to shape the diplomatic environment as well as to create new interfaces, techniques, and team strategies in science and foreign policy.

This case study was input to the following article published in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy: Tomalová, E., & Ullrichová, E. (2021). Water Diplomacy — The New Modus Operandi of EU Diplomacy? Innovative Methods in Diplomatic Practice, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy (published online ahead of print 2021). (doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/1871191X-bja10079).
See: https://brill.com/view/journals/hjd/aop/article-10.1163-1871191X-bja10079/article-10.1163-1871191X-bja10079.xml

3. Cyber security: Mapping the role of science diplomacy in the cyber field
Case authors:
Lucie Kadlecová,
Charles University
Nadia Meyer,
German Aerospace Centre
Rafaël Cos, then University of Lille
Pauline Ravinet,
University of Lille

output brief: cyber security

case report: cyber security

Cyber security has entered the agenda of the international community and has quickly been transformed from a purely technical topic to an issue of diplomacy. The term ‘cyber diplomacy’ has come into global use, and countries are keenly deploying their own ‘cyber diplomats’

Science driven cases

4. The science and diplomacy of global challenges: Food security in EU-Africa relations
Case authors:
Rafaël Cos, then University of Lille,
Pauline Ravinet, University of Lille,
Mitchell Young, Charles University

output brief: food security in EU Africa relations

case report: food security in EU Africa relations

Over the past 20 years, a set of institutions, concerns, competencies, partnerships, and programmes have shaped the features of EU-African Union food security diplomacy. To what extent has science played a role in deploying this food security diplomacy?

5. International dimensions of the EU’s FET Flagships: Large-scale strategic research investments as a site of de-facto science diplomacy
Case Author:
Alexander Degelsegger-Márquez,
then Centre for Social Innovation and later S4D4C Advisory Board member

output brief: FET flagships

case report: FET flagships

A study of Future and Emerging Technology (FET) Flagship initiatives as potential mechanisms of EU science diplomacy reveals that their governance models and design as research policy instruments have sectoral foreign policy dynamics.


6. Open Science Diplomacy
Case author:
Katja Mayer, Centre for Social Innovation

output brief: Open Science Diplomacy

case report: Open Science Diplomacy

Following the call for ‘open science, open innovation, and open to the world’ by the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas in 2015, we look for applications and implications of open science in science diplomacy.


European instrument driven cases

7. SESAME – An international research infrastructure in the Middle East
Case author:
Charlotte Rungius,
German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies

output brief: SESAME

case report: SESAME

SESAME is a synchrotron light source user’s facility in the Middle East. The international research centre was initiated with the explicit intention to foster scientific cooperation among a number of countries that share a history of conflict.

This case study was also published in a case study report on Open Research Europe: Rungius C, Flink T and Riedel S. SESAME – a synchrotron light source in the Middle East: an international research infrastructure in the making [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. Open Research Europe 2021, 1:51 (https://doi.org/10.12688/openreseurope.13362.1). See: https://open-research-europe.ec.europa.eu/articles/1-51/v1

8. Joint international research programming as a case of science diplomacy
Case author:
Tim Flink,
German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies

output brief: joint programming

case report: joint programming

Joint international research programming is a common but underrated case of science diplomacy. It engages funding agencies as intermediary organisations that are compelled to operate at the intersection of science policy and international affairs.


9. Science advice in the European Union: Crafting collective understanding of transnational issues
Case author:
Jasper Montana, then University of Sheffield

output brief: science advice

case report: science advice 

In thinking about science diplomacy, it is important to not only acknowledge the formal structures for science diplomacy but also to consider the ways in which internal capacities for science diplomacy might already be built into diplomatic systems.


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