S4D4C final meeting: What happened on Wednesday, 17 March?

Day 3 - 17 March

Wednesday started again with a block of parallel sessions (not recorded) from 10.30-12.00 (CET) which are organised by our S4D4C partners:

1.Bringing Universities (back) in Science Diplomacy” was chaired by Pauline Ravinet, supported by Théodore Ambassa from our S4D4C partner University of Lille. She brought together representatives of the three projects representing the EU Science Diplomacy Cluster: Diane Stone, European University Institute Florence, and EL-CSID Research Fellow, Pierre-Bruno Ruffini, University of Le Havre-Normandie, and InsSciDE Research Fellow, Olfa Zeribi, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and Université de Carthage, Emilian Cioc, also from Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), Hilligje Van’t Land, International Association of Universities (IAU), Michael Gaebel, European University Association (EUA) and Gauthier Lahoche (AUF).

The roundtable began with a mapping presentation entitled “looking for universities in science diplomacy”, in which Theodore Ambassa and Gautier Lahoche documented with figures the invisibility of universities in science diplomacy literature and field of practice (Looking for universities in SD_S4D4C presentation). Following this opening pitch, the question “Why are universities so invisibilized in science diplomacy? And how can we conceptualize the role of universities in science diplomacy?” was addressed by Pierre-Bruno Ruffini (Pierre-Bruno Ruffini_presentation) and Diane Stone (Diane Stone_presentation). For the first, the discourse and concepts are concentrated on science and scientist more than on scientific institutions as organizations. Therefore, for him, another reason for this invisibility is the dichotomy between university teaching and university research. In some countries, Higher Education institutions do not conduct research and focus on the teaching aspect while others are concentrated on research. It is also possible that universities did not actually claim a place in science diplomacy. For Diane Stone, a reason that can explain this invisibilization are the de-politicization dynamics going on. And that is partly in the interest of universities to engage their own politicization.

“Why are universities being invisible in science diplomacy problematic?” and “What can be the specific contribution of universities to science diplomacy?” were then the key questions addressed by the university stakeholder representatives Hilligje Van’t Land and Michael Gaebel. Firstly, the importance of universities may lie in their capacity to act as instruments of soft power. For example, universities sometimes intervene when academics are being arrested. Secondly, the contribution of universities to science diplomacy can be essential at two-level: national and global. At the national level, an example would be public policies enacted to attract foreign students. At the global level, universities can provide human resources for international organizations, or/and scholarly expertise for global governance. The primary goal of this roundtable, to question the place of universities (which are key institutions in the production of knowledge) in science diplomacy, was successfully achieved.

2. The German Ministry for Education and Research and the Project Management Agency at the German Aerospace Center organised the discussion on “Open Science: Joint Efforts for a Better Future“. Here, Nadia Meyer from DLR-PT, the S4D4C partner, brings together Katja Mayer, University of Vienna and Centre for Social Innovation (also S4D4C partner) as well as Lutz Möller, German Commission for UNESCO, Katharina Höne, DiploFoundation and Jean-Claude Burgelman, Free University of Brussels. Here are a few key messages from the panelists:

Katja Mayer, Sociologist, Centre for Social Innovation and Elise Richter Fellow, Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna

  • We need responsible and socially robust innovation, open science is key to achieve that.
  • The findings of the S4D4C case study on “Open Science Diplomacy” reveal that the EU Strategy on Open Science triggered and fostered grassroots activities worldwide, helping to raise awareness.
  • Access to information is highly political and the social sciences are still not present enough in the public debate.
  • Improved science communication is crucial, scientists need to learn to better handle time pressure and publish pre-prints, adding “this is the best we know at the moment”.

Lutz Möller, Deputy Secretary-General, German Commission for UNESCO

  • The pre-print system provides new opportunities that we have to explore better, as it is widening and strengthening the peer-review system.
  • We need a new scientific reward system and engage more in co-design processes.
  • In the ongoing work of UNESCO in formulating international law on Open Science, it applies a wide understanding that includes citizen science just as much as open data.dataUNESCO is a suitable place, since it is a multilateral organisation that itself is very open to academia and civil society. 
  • We cannot do things totally differently because digital diplomacy has been a multilateral approach for many years.

Katharina Höne, Director of Research, DiploFoundation

  • CERN is a highly relevant best practice with regard to science diplomacy, due to its governance model, commitment to open science as well as its institutional and normative model, serving as a blueprint also for SESAME.
  • We need a “translation process” in the communication between scientists and diplomats, supported by capacity building activities.
  • We need to foster the understanding amongst policy-makers and diplomats of what can and what cannot be expected from science.
  • Multi-stakeholder approaches should be our core principle. More efforts are also crucial to bridge the digital gaps between North and South.

Jean-Claude Burgelman, Professor of Open Science Policies and Practices, Faculty of Social Science and Solvay Business School, Free University of Brussels

  • Open science became a key global topic in recent years. We need a strong co-creation process, bringing together the scientific world and political will to value all our efforts in science and getting the best out of it.
  • If we work on the recognition that science is a common good and bring the value of scientific approaches and open science into the discussions in international politics, we can bring open science to the next level.
  • COVID-19 has showcased the power of open science, via a massive mobilisation of funds and the fact that scientific results were findable and reusable. We are at a point of no return for science – in the best way possible.
  • Open science does not mean for free, the business model has to be understood by policy-makers.
  • Scientists must find a better way how to get discussions with policy makers started. We could better use social sciences for solving such challenges.
3. The third parallel option addressed a thematic priority and was entitled “Water Diplomacy: Intersection of Diplomacy and Science“. It is organised and chaired by one of our colleagues from Charles University Prague: Eliška Černovská. She discusses with Panagiotis Balabanis, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, Marco Orlando, Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) and Bernd Gawlik, Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission.
Here are the main takeaways from the session:
  • Water diplomacy means to transform water from a trigger of a conflict to a source of collaboration.
  • The idea of water (science) diplomacy is to build bridges and trust between science communities and political stakeholders, leading to the mitigation of political tensions over shared water resources and the prevention of water-related conflicts.
  • Technical solutions are key to the water-related challenges, but social and behavioural solutions are crucial for their application in practice. In other words, a car is useless if you do not know how to drive it.
  • Apart from the public and private sectors, academia and the local communities, culture needs to be the fifth element of water diplomacy. Culture needs to be the table on which the four actors have to sit together to be able to propose measures that will be accepted locally.
The plenary at 13.00 was opened by the S4D4C coordinator Elke Dall and a statement by Minister Mabel Torres of Colombia:
The following round table was chaired by our partner James Wilsdon from the University of Sheffield dealing with “Multilateral Science Diplomacy: the Changing Role of International Organisations in Addressing Global Challenges”. He exchanged with Lidia Brito, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Albert van Jaarsveld, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) – with Mohammed Hassan, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) unfortunately having connection problems from Khartoum.
In this session, the panel discussed the role of intergovernmental organisations in science diplomacy. Speaking from UNESCO Lidia Brito reminded us that science diplomacy was part of the original mandate of UNESCO in its creation in 1945. She advocated for the positive power of science and that science diplomacy is for everyone, not only diplomats and scientists. She stressed that the co-production of knowledge is fundamental, urging communities to work together to address global challenges, particularly through education and the sharing of research knowledge for all. Albert van Jaarsveld spoke about fostering a shared perspective across nation-states. He envisioned an alternative post-Covid future where we can live more sustainably in a world better equipped to deal with global challenges. Both speakers foregrounded cooperation, education and resilience as key features of future success in science diplomacy.
Day 3 - Multilateral SD - 17 March
S4D4C ON THE SPOTLIGHT: “S4D4C Impact and Alliances” was brought to us by Pauline Ravinet (University of Lille) as chair, Nadia Meyer, DLR-PT and Laure-Anne Plumhans, Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Austria. They highlighted the project’s outreach activities which reached stakeholders all around the globe with regional specifities e.g. in Latin America or the Mediterranean region. Available data also demonstrates that the SD community the project was able to build reached a variety of actors and stakeholders, scientists with various backgrounds and diplomats, policy makers and administrators – young and old. Their presentation is available here: S4D4C_Spotlight_Impact-Alliances.




Day 3 - S4D4C Spotlight - 17 March
At 14.30, they handed over to Mitchell Young, Charles University for a panel round table focusing on “Building alliances to tackle COVID-19”. This panel was composed of  Ok Pannenborg, (formerly) World Bank, Annelies Wilder-Smith, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK) and Roger A. Pielke, University of Colorado Boulder.
Day 3 - Alliances - March 17
Here are a few takeaways from the panel:
  • The notion of science advice may have outlived its moment; there is a need for integrated advice combining science, economicshealth and other fields.
  • The failure to effectively combat the pandemic shows that there is a need for a global treaty on health/pandemics to prevent future crises and make the response more effective and quicker. The issue of global health is as important as nuclear security or climate change.
  • While crafting the pandemic response, it is necessary to balance the input from the hard/natural sciences with the social/behavioural sciences that enable us to understand the pandemic and its effects in a more complex way.
  • It is important to distinguish science advice from “shadow” science advice, which presents politicians with alleged scientific data that is not objective and allows them to justify decisions that do not suit the public good.
  • Some countries have started using vaccines as a diplomatic tool to further their national interests, which raises challenging issues for science diplomacy.
In the afternoon, another set of parallel sessions between 16.00 and 17:30 (all times in CET) was offered:
1. The Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) organised a session chaired by Susanna Ehlers, ‎Science-Policy Program Officer, ‎Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and entitled “Developing Science Diplomacy Capacities, Opportunities, and Networks for Future Science Policy Leaders through Fellowship Programs in the Americas”. The speakers included: Julian Campisi, Mitacs Science Policy Fellow at the Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC), Asif Iqbal, Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellow to the Science Policy and Partnerships Division of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Sebastián Riera, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Cristina Fernandez-Baca, USDA Agricultural Research Service and Daniel Jiménez, Secretary of Transportation in Mexico City.

2. The session “Science and Innovation Diplomacy for Development: Employing International Cooperation to Overcome Poverty and Achieve Technological Catch-up” was brought to you by the São Paulo Innovation and Science Diplomacy School (InnSciD SP) and chaired by its co-founder and executive director Pedro Ivo Ferraz da Silva, Embassy of Brazil in Berlin. He discussed with Gabriela Ferreira, Universidade de São Paulo, NseAbasi Etim, Akwa Ibom State University in Nigeria, Jenice Jean Goveas, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Centre for Policy Research, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India.

3. Another high-level session invited us to delve into “The Future of EU – Canada Cooperation in Horizon Europe“. Martina Desole from the Agency for the Promotion of European Research, as a chair discussed with Diogo Sammaritano, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission, Ted Hewitt, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Marc Fortin, Vice-President of Research Partnerships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Christian Sylvain, Associate Vice-President, Government and External Relations, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
The parallel sessions concluded the programme for Wednesday.
S4D4C Team

Posted by S4D4C Team