The Industry sector can also benefit strongly of science, technology and innovation diplomacy.
Through consortia of private companies, this stakeholder is a very important partner in science diplomacy efforts led by multiple governments to build large research infrastructures, such as SESAME or SKA.
Established large research infrastructures, such as CERN, may also launch public-private partnerships where private sector stakeholders will be crucial to develop state-of-the-art technologies (see CERN Open Lab).
In other scenarios, private companies also accompany civil society organisations or national governments in specific actions. For instance, The “Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator” (GESDA) is being launched by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Geneva authorities, with funding from not only federal, regional and local governments, but also private sponsors such as Nestlé. During the first three years, scientific and political experts will meet to identify the issues to be addressed and launch the foundation’s first projects (link). Swiss science and innovation diplomacy strategy is more important than ever in supporting Switzerland’s economic and technological leadership (for more information, read Schlegel 2014).
Science- and technology-driven companies have a long history of collaboration with Embassies and scientific and commercial attachés. In this sense, consider the Office of Denmark’s Tech Ambassador, a formal diplomatic platform (thus, a Government stakeholder) with physical presence across three time zones in Silicon Valley, Copenhagen and Beijing – transcending borders and regions and rethinking diplomacy. The platform aims to engage in dialogue and collaboration on a broad range of topics with the tech-industry in key technology clusters, bringing them on board in STI diplomacy actions (Klynge et al. 2020). This is a recognition of the political and global influence that the tech-industry has in the 21st Century.
Watch below an illustrative interview about how the private sector fits in the general scheme of science diplomacy.
Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the UK Ministry of Defence on nuclear science and technology matters. Former CSA to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Professor of Materials Physics at Imperial College London
Is there room for other types of stakeholders in science diplomacy?
You may find more information about joint ventures between national governments and industry in the references below:
– Klynge, Casper, Mikael Ekman, and Nikolaj Juncher Waedegaard (2020): “Diplomacy in the Digital Age: Lessons from Denmark’s TechPlomacy Initiative.” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy Vol. 15 Issue 1-2, pp. 185-195, https://doi.org/10.1163/1871191X-15101094.
– Schlegel, Flavia (2014): “Swiss Science Diplomacy: Harnessing the Inventiveness and Excellence of the Private and Public Sectors.” Science & Diplomacy, Vol. 3, No. 1 (March 2014) (Link).
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