1. How to Get Started?
2. What Is Science Diplomacy?
3. Who Are the Science Diplomacy Stakeholders?
4. How Does the EU Practice Science Diplomacy?
5. What Are the National, Regional and Thematic Approaches of Science Diplomacy?
6. What Set of Skills Do I Need to Be a Good Science Diplomat?
7. Hands On! Case Studies
8. How Can You Dive Deeper into Science Diplomacy?
Satisfaction Survey

3.2.3 Research Stakeholders

Research stakeholders are fundamental players of science diplomacy and they can take many different not exclusive roles in the science diplomacy arena.

Research and academic stakeholders take a variety of shapes and can be, for instance:

  • Research performing organizations such as universities, non-university research performing organisations, and large research infrastructures
  • Research funding organizations such as national research councils and project funding agencies
  • Academies, professional charters, and other researchers’ associations
  • Individual researchers

Like governmental stakeholders, they belong to and/or operate at the sub-national, national, sub-global and global.

Some research stakeholders may be or belong to an international or supranational organisation, but due to their research-related nature, we cover them under this topic.

Lastly, some of these research and academic stakeholders may well fit within the academia as well as the civil society category (See 3.2.4 Academic Stakeholders and 3.2.6 Civil Society Stakeholders), like national academies or learned societies. However, due to their direct role and key influence on science diplomacy and to separate them from the general public and the nature of other civil society organisations, we have decided to cover them under this well-defined category.

Main interests in science diplomacy

More and more, research and academic organisations develop their role in the science diplomacy domain and are becoming more important. Some of their interests are:

  • Establishing cross-border scientific collaborations
  • Exploring or establishing new research funding opportunities
  • Acting as science advisors to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other ministries and governments
  • Lobbying for certain scientific issues to permeate into public policy affairs and raising awareness of the importance of evidence-informed policy making
  • Representing academia’s interests and concerns at the national level
  • Raising the public value of science and making the case for science to be a key element to achieve national/regional/global goals
  • Training on science diplomacy matters to the research community
  • Mainstreaming the science diplomacy dimension into research projects

Main challenges

Training researchers and research organisations wanting to have an active role in science diplomacy is a pending issue on many occasions. Certain skills and professional profiles are required both to first build trust between scientists, policy-makers and diplomats, and then ensure a positive impact on science diplomacy activities (see Module 6 What Set of Skills Do I Need to Be a Good Science Diplomat?).

Also, finding steady sources of funding to sustain specific science diplomacy projects or even the very research institution is itself a great challenge indeed.

In their collaboration with governmental stakeholders, one of the main challenges is to establish well-defined boundaries between all stakeholders to both ensure mutual interest and safeguard independence.

Lastly, designing adequate governance models is another challenge for research and academic stakeholders.

What the experts think

Scientists can play a role in shaping public policies, including those related to foreign policies. Watching the videos below, you will learn some insights from a policy practitioner as well as from active researchers who will explain the role of research centres, large international research infrastructures, international universities or scientific associations in science diplomacy.

Jan Marco Müller

Jan Marco Müller

Acting Chief Operations Officer, Head of the Directorate Office and Coordinator for Science Diplomacy. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Can you tell us briefly about your background and current position? What is the role of IIASA in international science diplomacy?


Wolfgang Eberhard

Wolfgang Eberhardt

Advisor to the Synchrotron DESY, Council Member of the Synchrotron SESAME, and Former Director of the Synchrotron BESSY

How can researchers in international research infrastructures contribute to science diplomacy?


Jerneja Penca

Senior Researcher, Euro-Mediterranean University

What is the Euro Mediterranean University and in which way can it be understood as a science diplomacy player in the Mediterranean region?


Eduardo Oliver

Eduardo Oliver

Senior Research Fellow at the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC; Madrid), and former Secretary-General of the Network of Associations of Spanish Researchers and Scientists Abroad (RAICEX)

What is the role of scientific associations or civil society organisations in science diplomacy?


Read more!

A few examples of approaches, perspectives, and reports from researchers and academic organisations are listed below.

Research funding organisations
– The Horizon 2020 calls on science diplomacy (Link).
– The NWO’s (the Dutch research funding agency) fund on science diplomacy (Link).

Research performing organisations
– Science diplomacy: the role of research councils and the Global Research Council (Link).

Academies, professional charters, and researchers’ associations engaged in science diplomacy actions
– The Royal Society (Link).
– The National Academy of Sciences (Link).
– ALLEA – All European Academies (Link).
– The Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK/CERU) (Link).
– National Science Policy Network (Link).

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The material provided under this course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.