On the last day of our conference, we enjoyed our breakfast/coffee (whatever you prefer at 9.15 CET) with Katalin Alföldi, Policy Officer at the COST Association and Peter McGrath, The World Academy of Science. This session has not been recorded.
At 13.00 (always CET) we started the meeting with an opening statement by Pedro Duque, Minister of Science in Spain:
We then discussed the state-of-play of the “European Science Diplomacy Cluster” with the three project coordinators:
- Luk van Langenhove, EL-CSID Project Coordinator, former Academic Director at the Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium
- Pascal Griset, InsSciDE Project Coordinator and Professor of Modern History, Sorbonne Université, France
- Elke Dall, S4D4C Project Coordinator, Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Austria
The coordinators shared their respective (1) highlights from the project implementation, (2) lessons learnt and (3) recommendations. The presentation can be downloaded here: DAY 5 – Closing session_lessons from the SD cluster.
In this session, we also shared with the audience our plans to continue working together and to open up cooperation opportunities for the wider community – to implement the recommendations for a sustainable cooperation possibility for EU Science Diplomacy in the frame of the “European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance“. Please find here the presentation (with the logo that was preliminarily selected by the audience – it will be reworked in colour): DAY 5 – soft launch EU SD Alliance
Below you find the founding members of the Alliance and the upcoming rotating chairs:
If you would like to get in touch with the Chairs, you can always direct your questions to email@example.com.
Our closing ceremony involved some high-level guests providing their outlook on “The Future of EU Science Diplomacy“. Between 14.05 and 14.45 the chair, Lorenzo Melchor, spoke with Martina Hartl, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) and Chair of the Strategic Forum on Internacional Cooperation (SFIC) for the Council of the EU and the Council of Europe and its Science Diplomacy Task Force. Jan Marco Muller, Science and Technology Advisor, European External Action Service (EEAS), Paulo Ferrão, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) and Adam Tyson, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission (EC).
Here are a few takeaways from the panellists:
- Martina Hartl, who is involved in the SFIC Taskforce on Science Diplomacy reminded participants that the EU is a well-trusted partner in Science and Research, and there is already a focus on global challenges in Framework Programme 7. Horizon Europe will increase this insistence. The Green Deal call of H2020 has a very specific focus on topics with a global dimension. The EU is already part of a number of multilateral fora in this effort. There is huge potential for international partnerships to extend cooperation addressing global challenges and to make use of them from a Science Diplomacy perspective.
- Jan Marco Muller recognized that having 27 Member States is sometimes cumbersome as it takes time to reach a compromise, especially when unanimity is required. It is very important to find processes that allow for a consensus to be established. But it is also also a great strength of the EU to be able to represent the diversity of its MS and bring new ideas to the table. Europe in the future is going to be the first climate-neutral continent and provide an illustration that sustainability is not just a hollow concept, and can be achieved while maintaining the well-being of the citizens. S&T is a crucial part of this effort.
- Paulo Ferrão stressed that current practices can be improved, to strengthen our transatlantic link and neighbourhood policy. Science Diplomacy is a great tool to achieve this. COST is one of the rare and longest-running mechanisms dedicated to international scientific cooperation in a multilateral and intergovernmental context! and diplomacy. It enables the creations of networks on subject areas. It is critical to nourish and open inclusive networks in all the scientific domains and establish a platform where people and ideas can grow and long-lasting connections can be built. These mechanisms build trust and provide safety for a fertile breeding ground of new ideas and solutions.
- Adam Tyson pointed out that, when it comes to global challenges, the overall focus of the EU creates a very positive framework to concentrate and focus efforts in the S&T, economic and diplomacy fields. The EU openness to the world and to corporations, its global reach in the R&I Framework Programme, and its insistence on shared values and principles form the basis of a resourceful interaction to address global challenges with the rest of the world. But this openness also leaves the EU vulnerable sometimes to competition and unfair practices.
Elke Dall, S4D4C Project Coordinator, Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Austria then invited the project’s advisory board members Alexander Degelsegger-Marquez, Gesundheit Österreich GmbH, Paul Arthur Berkman, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Program on Negotiation, Harvard University and the Harvard MIT Public Dispute Program and Thomas König, Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) to reflect on the project.
- Alexander Degelsegger-Márquez, who coordinated the project for its starting phase, noted that the project contributed significantly to structuring the discussion with the other EU Research projects on Science Diplomacy. The success of the training materials published by S4D4C leveraged a number of people to take part in Science Diplomacy and as a practice and a field of research. Communicating and reflecting critically is crucial in this respect and the project has made breakthroughs on this front. In terms of outlook, a lot of initiatives are emerging, Horizon Europe is here to structure the way research is done on a global scale and attach values to research. The importance of Science diplomacy is bound to increase in a Post-COVID world.
- Paul Arthur Berkman provided an outside perspective on the legacy of the project. He remarked that it’s clear that we are globally interconnected. The challenges are on a planetary scale. We have a common interest to survive and strive to overcome the existential threat that COVID-19 presents humanity with. If one thinks about the future, we can hope that the young scientists will act as science diplomats, with an attitude that will be informed by what they are going through today. There is no doubt that the leadership of S4D4C, InSciDe, and EL-CSID will be recognized across the world in the next few years.
- Thomas König remarked that S4D4C has been impressively impactful, informing representations of scientists, diplomats and policy-makers. It has achieved a real emulation and passion around the work it carried. It brought intellectual honesty to the discourse of science diplomacy. In terms of legacy, Thomas König remarked that globalization is coming to an end, at least it seems, but challenges have become truly global. Bridges and forums that provide common ground for action are needed more than ever before. S4D4C has been doing exactly this. It came at the right time, and as it is ending, it stroke a nerve and provides a great starting point to make use of science diplomacy.