S4D4C final meeting: What happened on Tuesday, 16 March?

Tuesday was one of the really busy days of the conference as we started with three parallel sessions in the morning which are co-organised by our cooperation partners, continue with plenary sessions between 13.00 and 15.30 (always CET) and then move ahead again with three parallel sessions.

DAY 3 - 16 March

Between 10.30 and 12.00 CET participants could choose between the following sessions (n.b. parallel sessions have not been recorded):

1.Addressing Global Challenges Under Multipolarity: Science Diplomacy and Strategy” which was organised by our sister project Inventing a shared Science Diplomacy for Europe (InsSciDE). Rasmus G. Bertelsen moderated four panellists who address historically-informed examples. Laurence Badel is a professor of Economics at University Paris I, Björn Fägersten works at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Maria Rentetzi is currently based at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Theology and Pierre-Bruno Ruffini joins from France, University of Le Havre-Normandie. The full description of the session is available on InsSciDE’s website here.

2.Arts4Sciences4Cultural Diplomacy 2030” brings science, politics and arts into contact, with a particular emphasis on bringing in civil society. Tatjana Christelbauer from the Agency for Cultural Diplomacy addressed the topic with her panellists Boris Petrović-Njegoš, from Rocket Labs Unlimited, Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger, Vienna School of International Studies (and also S4D4C partner) and Lamberto Zannier, President of the Centre for International Negotiation and Mediation at the University of Gorizia, Italy.

3. The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) prepared the third parallel session putting “Science Diplomacy for Researchers” in the focus. Mostafa M. Shawrav, MCAA’s Chair invited to the floor Marga Gual Soler, SciDipGLOBAL as well as S4D4C member and advisor to the EU Science Diplomacy Cluster, Melody B. Burkins, Dartmouth University and Radenka Krsmanović Whiffen, University of Donja Gorica, Montenegro. Together they will elaborate on career paths in relation to science diplomacy.

At 13.00 the conference programme was opened by Elke Dall, S4D4C project coordinator and a statement by Minister Anja Karliczek (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research):


The conference continued with a panel round table moderated by Elke Dall who invited a set of speakers who are in some ways responsible for science diplomacy in their national governments – Carole Mundell, as Chief International Science Envoy at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), United Kingdom, Daan du Toit, Deputy Director-General, International Cooperation and Resources, Department for Science and Innovation, South Africa, Dirk-Jan Koch, Chief Science Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands and Stefan Estermann, Ambassador and Head of the Division Prosperity and Sustainability, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland.

The panelists discussed what works in their country in terms of SD:

Carole Mundell – United Kingdom

  • The new role of International Science Envoy at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office shows UK’s attention to international collaboration.
  • Based on the characterisation of SD by the Royal Society / AAAS (2010), the UK is successfully active in all dimensions:
    • Science in diplomacy – e.g. the British network of chief scientific advisors is a strong interface between science and government ecosystems providing science evidence for policy makers both for long-term strategic goals and short-term emergencies, such as the Covid crisis.
    • Science for diplomacy – e.g. in the case of political or diplomatic difficulties, these contacts and the continuation of scientific collaborations help maintain the dialogue between countries, cooperation is based on relationships among governments, universities or individual researchers and more subtle.
    • Diplomacy for scientists – e.g. is ensured by the Science & Innovation Network in the UK which has over 100 science & innovation attachés, embedded in ambassies in over 50 countries and regions. They build multi and bilateral relationships and help scientists to find (new) collaborations internationally.
  • We need to pay attention to the politicization around SD and we should not use SD for the sake of SD. Instead, we should go back to the authenticity of science and to the integrity of objectives and mechanisms. A powerful SD requires trust in society, and hence authenticity and public engagement. Relevant for SD is also the definition of work ethics and standards, which depend on the countries political regimes.

Daan du Toit – South Africa

  • South Africa has a robust SD strategy. It entails making resources available and realising infrastructures; as well as a team of 70 people focused on international cooperation within the science ministry, in close collaboration with other ministries. SD is also about marketing oneself as a country and hence partner for science & innovation. Sout Africa’s flagship science project is the largest radio telescope (SKA).
  • Some SD elements are not written or named as such because of national interest, and they are best left implicit.
  • In South Africa, budgets for international cooperation in science have as primary requirements scientific merits, objectives, and potential impacts. Thus, the largest budgets are for climate, health and other science programs. Science for diplomacy instead plays a smaller role.
  • Trilateral partnerships between China, EU and Africa are ongoing. Despite sometimes competing interests, common motives for science and international cooperation in science prevail.

Dirk-Jan Koch – Netherlands

  • The Netherlands do not have an overarching SD strategy, but there is a focus on science for diplomacy.
  • The idea that scientists tend to speak the same language sets the ground for international collaborations, also with countries with whom diplomatic relationships have not always been easy. An example is the relationship with Indonesia, a former Dutch colony. Both prime ministers agreed on extensive bilateral cooperation in the field of science. Thereby Covid – contrary to expectations – made it easier to organize broad-based science collaborations, including all regions. Science collaborations are a good place to display a country’s values, such as transparency and openness, and they are driven by the many shared challenges, such as biodiversity – a crucial topic for both Indonesia and the Netherlands.
  • In 2020, the Dutch Research Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched the Science Diplomacy Fund (SDF) to facilitate and intensify collaboration especially with countries, with which diplomatic relationships are sometimes difficult. Yet, even for this fund some countries were not considered. The Fund targets early-stage collaborations; then aiming to transfer these activities from SDF to regular scientific collaboration instruments. Fund goes directly to researchers of partner countries, but research projects are developed together.

Stefan Estermann

  • Science is increasingly becoming part of Swiss foreign policy. As shown by 23 science advisors in embassies abroad and the 5 Swiss hubs encouraging science innovation and collaboration across the globe.
  • There is a large community researching high altitude, climate, ice-cone and similar topics in the Swiss mountain setting as well as in the Arctic and the poles. To foster the collaboration within the community, Switzerland joined the Arctic Council as an observer country.
  • Another SD initiative was the “Middle East Biology of Parasitism” summer school, initiated by Israelian and Palestinian researchers. 60 young researchers in the field of parasitism from Iran, Israel, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, were hosted in Switzerland.
  • A third example of what works is science in diplomacy: Geneva is a hub of 42 organizations, 177 state representations and 750 NGOs. To foster SD there, the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Accelerator identifies scientific developments and challenges potentially relevant for diplomacy.
  • Finally, Mr. Estermann also stated that it’s important for the administration to not build up bureaucratic hurdles for scientists who wish to cooperate and to improve cooperation between ministries and build bridges between specialized agencies and the foreign ministry.

Day 2 - Panel - 16 March

Then our S4D4C colleagues presented results related to the governance of science diplomacy: Nadia Meyer moderated a discussion between Ewert J. Aukes and Lorenzo Melchor who presented the idea of how to create interactive spaces for science diplomacy.

S4D4C ON THE SPOTLIGHT: “The Governance of Science Diplomacy”

As Lorenzo Melchor stated, S4D4C organized the 1st Global Meeting on Science Diplomacy titled “EU Science Diplomacy beyond 2020” in Madrid in December 2018 with experts from around the world who discussed the present and future of science diplomacy, its fundamental role in addressing global challenges and the requirements to harness its full potential in the EU and beyond. As a result of these fruitful discussions, the “Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy” was signed by a group of high-level experts who contributed to the conference. It proclaims a common vision of science diplomacy in the future emphasizes the benefits science diplomacy can bring to tackling the global challenges of our time and outlines the principles needed to foster science diplomacy worldwide.

The Madrid Declaration stresses that science diplomacy spaces are useful to address global challenges instead of national needs raising the importance of STI at different levels of international affairs.

Ewert J. Aukes stated that a more structured or systematic approach was judged very useful. Science Diplomacy has the potential to play a considerable role in future international collaborations intent on tackling societal challenges. S4D4C push forward a Science Diplomacy Government Framework for these cross-boundary efforts an interaction space: the New Protocol for Science Diplomacy.

This Science Diplomacy Protocol outlines a set of twelve procedural and infrastructural principles that need to be considered to create transformative science diplomacy interactions.

S4D4C also published the policy report entitled “Calling for a Systemic Change: Towards a European Union Science Diplomacy for Addressing Global Challenges”. Lorenzo Melchor explained that the document aimed to develop a basis of common understanding across the EU and the rest of the European stakeholders of EU science diplomacy that contributes to addressing global challenges. The report was the result of the insights shared during the two first S4D4C international networking meetings in Madrid and Berlin, and the research and reflections made by S4D4C in our academic and policy publications over these last few years.

Lorenzo stressed the set of policy recommendations focused on an integrative transformation and that takes into account three transversal processes (learning system, integrative leadership and change of culture) in five key spheres: knowledge, governance with no silos, alliances, institutions, and people.

Nadia Meyer concluded that we cannot afford to come back to our old model and that a more systematic way to approach science diplomacy is needed. The slides used in the session are available here: S4D4C_Spotlight_Governance_Framwork.


Day 2 - Panel - 16 March

After this interactive presentation, Izaskun Lacunza chaired a discussion with Daria Robinson, Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), Martin Rauchbauer, Austrian Tech Ambassador and Abdul Hamid Zakri, Chair for INGSA Science Advice Network for the ASEAN Region and Former Science Adviser to Malaysian Prime Minister with a focus on the complex environment of addressing global challenges and bringing different sectors into science diplomacy (governing with no silos).

PANEL ROUNDTABLE: “Governing Science Diplomacy for Addressing Global Challenges with No Silos”

After this interactive presentation, Izaskun Lacunza chaired a discussion with Daria Robinson, Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), Martin Rauchbauer, Austrian Tech Ambassador and Abdul Hamid Zakri, Chair for INGSA Science Advice Network for the ASEAN Region and Former Science Adviser to Malaysian Prime Minister with a focus on the complex environment of addressing global challenges and bringing different sectors into science diplomacy (governing with no silos).

Izaskun Lacunza stressed that global challenges are extremely complex and cannot be faced in isolation, they require strengthened collaborations and new ways to align efforts and create shared missions across governments at different levels, government´s departments and other stakeholders. For science diplomacy to flourish and unveil its full potential, this governance with no silos is of the essence so that the scientific and the diplomatic communities can work together.

Izaskun underlined specifically the importance of a joint approach for addressing global challenges in which not only governments but public opinion, companies, research institutions and the third sector, among others, need to converge.

Taking the glove from the previous panel, Izaskun asked the tree panellist to reflect on whether governance was even needed to address global challenges.

Daria Robinson thought we should create a flexible and adaptable model that is inclusive. The question is how.

Martin Rauchbauer believed that the mantra in Silicon Valley is new tech is creating new market places and that governments should not interfere. However when problems arrive companies do not want to be left alone. A multi-stakeholder approach is gaining force, and some companies are claiming that a regulatory framework is in fact needed.

Abdul Hamid Zakri was asked how to promote this multi-stakeholder approach and dialogue. In his view, you need to start nationally (national academies, universities, scientific foundations, etc.) to provide scientific advice to the government and the administration (encouraging science advisors in the different sectoral departments).

Daria Robinson stated that the problem is when countries do not have such mechanisms in place. We need to bring the science community (not just the science content) to the table in the decision making.

In GESDA, we look at science diplomacy from the other way around. Instead of looking at the problem and then finding the expertise, we first look at the science and then we identify what can this technology solve and look for the right people to intervene. The challenge comes along with technology and we have to deal with them.

Abdul Hamid Zakri stated that the scientific community is a key player in this governance framework. But they need champions in the community to connect with politicians.

Izaskun asked the panellists about what should be the values that would need to operate in a science diplomacy governance for global challenges and how could these values be agreed upon and shared by different stakeholders from all over the world.

Martin Rauchbauer stressed that one of the key challenges is what digital transformation is doing to our society, challenging the meaning of human being. We need to address and come up with a framework that is based on humanistic values that put human beings at the centre of technology. A humanistic approach is needed.

Abdul Hamid Zakri advocated to consider the value of indigenous knowledge and to work in order to make the science policy-relevant. Scientists must therefore break their silos and connect better to society. Only breaking these silos you became a great scientist.

Izaskun Lacunza insisted that all of the speakers had vast experience in interacting not only with governments but with other key stakeholders such as companies, big techs, industry and, of course, the scientific community. The question is how these stakeholders are contributing to science (and technology) diplomacy governance and, in general, global governance.

For Daria Robinson, this question is very much linked to the expectations of each of the players and their mindset. GESDA is working on a methodology to bring the right stakeholders at the table well equipped to have a sustainable solution. It is really like a recipe!

Abdul Hamid Zakri finished raising awareness for the lack of global south scientists in most organizations and science diplomacy processes.


Day 3 - March 16

Between 16.00 and 17.30 CET three more parallel sessions offered thematic, regional and theoretical approaches (n.b. these sessions have not been recorded):

Environment and Sustainability: Improved Communication For Solving Global Challenges

1. The workshop “Environment and Sustainability: Improved Communication For Solving Global Challenges” in the frame of the S4D4C Final Networking Meeting took place on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In this session our colleague Maria Josten discussed together Anna-Katharina Hornidge, German Development Institute, R. Andreas Kraemer, Ecologic Institute in Washington DC, US, Jan Marco Müller, European External Action Service (EEAS), Jacob Rhyner, Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research and Melanie Virtue, UNEP had the opportunity to actively exchange on success stories, major challenges and recommendations for future actions. In the following a few key statements of the panellists:

Anna-Katharina Hornidge – German Development Institute (DIE)

  • The process of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report can be described as a positive example of the interaction between science and politics. It helped to bridge the gap between knowledge and policy y processing evidence-based results in such a way that they could serve as a guide for policy-relevant solutions for sustainable development. The report’s findings were taken up in the German government’s national sustainability strategy.
  • The science diplomacy approaches have some contradictory elements: On the one side, we have to create friendships and build trust; On the other side, competitiveness plays an important role while dealing with innovation and technology development in different countries.

Melanie Virtue – UNEP/ CMS

  • One success story is the fishing ban on manta rays, which is now listed on the Appendix of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) under the auspices of UN Environment. The species is endangered and its population declining, also due to its use in Chinese medicines. When a group of governments together with NGOs called for its protection, all 132 CMS countries agreed to the listing at the last Conference of the Parties. Even if the political agreement does not mean that it is directly implemented on the ground, it gives the possibility to remember and refer to it and support countries in finding solutions for a better implementation.
  • There is a crucial need for countries to adopt new international negotiation procedures, to integrate a mandatory consultation and coordination mechanism with other relevant ministries. Also, instead of promoting short-term action and prioritizing the economy, governments have to put the environment high on the agenda.

Jakob Rhymer – University of Bonn

  • The IPCC has two successful elements:  The first one  is that scientists from different disciplines come to joint conclusions which make their statements confident. The second one is, that recommendations have been jointly produced by scientists and politicians. That makes it a model for other processes.
  • In the field of climate change, time scales are longer that in other scientific areas – this could be challenging for the communication among scientists, diplomats and policy stakeholders due to the complexity of this interaction in the long term.

Jan-Marco Müller – EEAS

  • Some issues are driven by values and value-based problems will not be solved by science alone. Here, other views and reasons have to be taken into account in order to come to satisfying solutions.
  • The 5 “E” of successful Science Diplomacy: Enthuse, Explain, Engage, Empower and Enlighten.
  • The European Commission employs more scientists than interpreters. The Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission is a success story in this context, as it is funded by the EU’s research and innovation framework programme and therefore, not only the EU countries but also the associated countries contribute to the JRC. Also the work of the Commission with SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) is a good example.

Andreas Kraemer – Ecologic Institute

  • Rhythm, rituals and institutions are needed and key for a successful Science Diplomacy approach in the field of Sustainability and Environment.
  • Different time perspectives of policy-makers and scientists are a major challenge: Scientists look backwards at existing data, policy-makers look into the future. There is a need for institutions to translate between both perspectives. Including Social Sciences and Humanities expertise is also necessary for building bridges in the dialogue processes.
  • It would be a great advance if policy-makers and scientists engage in the co-production of evidence-based policy together by jointly defining the questions and the methods, demonstrate mutual commitment and jointly interpreting the findings.
Science diplomacy in and for the Western Balkans Agenda

2. S4D4C coordinator Elke Dall chaired the session “Science diplomacy in and for the Western Balkans Agenda” which brought together Bernhard Fabianek, DG Research, European Commission, Sanja Damjanovic, Chair of the SEEIST Steering Committee, Radenka Krsmanović Whiffen, Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) Western Balkans Chapter, Sinisa Marcic, Regional Cooperation Council, Goran Stojanović, University of Novid Sad and Klaus Schuch, Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI). Here are a few takeaways from the session:

Bernhard Fabianek, senior expert for the Western Balkans in the Horizon Europe Association unit at the European Commission, talked about the role of EU Framework programmes for collaboration with the Western Balkans:
  • He mentioned the importance of science and research in the negotiations between the EU and Western Balkans countries. Science in this context works as a bridge-builder.
  • He also discussed the importance of priorities set at the EU level as they trickle down to national science priority settings.
Sanja Damjanovic, Chairperson of the SEEIIST Steering Committee, former Minister of Science of Montenegro, Scientist at GSI (Darmstadt, Germany) and CERN (Geneva, Switzerland) emphasised three main points:
  • She mentioned the key role of the large research infrastructure to develop regional and international scientific excellence.
  • She developed her argument by referring to CERN and SESAME as successful examples and particularly on the case SEEIIST EC
  • Sanja also referred to the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) adopted by Montenegro, as a key tool for improving the economy by using science and innovation. It helps to find niches and turn traditionally strong branches of economies into more modern and more efficient ones.
Radenka Krsmanović Whiffen is the founding Chair of the Western Balkans Chapter of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA). She talked about her role experience with the MCAA fellowship which brings entails to:
  • Inform scientists in the region about the opportunities of MCAA fellowships through information events and the creation of networks.
  • Her role is critical to make the MSCA fellowships more visible outside the EU and to provide the tools to scientists in their own language and by someone “who already did it” to access such opportunities.
  • The creation of networks and information streams is instrumental for increasing the WB presence in international science forums and diffuse values of strong academic integrity.
Sinisa Marcic, Expert on Human Capital Development at the Regional Cooperation Council
expressed that:
  • Scientists are by nature already practising diplomacy in their day-to-day professional activities: good science depends on creating connections and exchanging with fellow scientists all over the world. Scientists are diplomats by the nature of their work – they cross borders more than any politicians and therefore are great connectors and bridge builders.
  • The position of the Regional Cooperation Council as an international organisation based in the region plays a crucial role in finding common positions among the regional stakeholders, e.g. on science policy.

Klaus Schuch, scientific director and senior scientist at ZSI (Centre for Social Innovation), is currently involved in a foresight exercise and a study on supporting academic mobility in the region. He shared with us the key learnings from thess exercises:

  • He emphasized the importance of strategic foresight to support science diplomacy as its purpose is to inform policymaking by providing evidence to reflect on the future. He highlighted a study that involved four regional scenarios for 2035. Those scenarios were the fruit of co-creation with the countries of the region. The approach is explorative and normative. Those scenarios highlight which future developments are possible.
  • This exercise enables the identification of future challenges, provides guidance and helps in priority setting & prepares and motivates transformation and change in order to reach the desired change.
Goran Stojanovic, Full Professor, Faculty of Technical Sciences from the University of Novi Sad (UNS) described his experience in participating in Twinning projects under Horizon 2020.
  • The projects supported by the European Commission have a concrete impact on the ground – on the personal relationships in the research group (introducing high-profile researchers from all over the world), the academic records (e.g. through more publications in high impact journals), in his institution (which professionalized with input from the projects) and in his regional and national science ecosystem.
The Theory of Science Diplomacy

3.The Theory of Science Diplomacy” was chaired by our S4D4C researcher Charlotte Rungius who invited Tim Flink, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the German Center of Higher Education Research and Science Studies, Pierre-Bruno Ruffini, University of Le Havre-Normandie, Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros, Universidad Externado de Colombia and University of Twente, Alexander Raev, Institute for Innovation and Technology​ (iit) Berlin and Ewert J. Aukes, University of Twente.

At the end of the day, Izaskun Lacunza, Laure-Anne Plumhans and Salomé Kofler brought us together in a social hour, meeting some old friends and seeing interesting new partners with whom to link up.

S4D4C Team

Posted by S4D4C Team