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

3.3.4 Global Networks

Global networks on science diplomacy usually bring together stakeholders from different countries/nationalities in order to fulfil goals such as:

  • Sharing best practices and fostering networking
  • Promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation
  • Promoting research or collaboration projects to tackle common global challenges

Below we list some exploratory categories depending on their main goal, but there are many different additional concepts to categorise them all.

Explore these tabs and learn about some examples of global science diplomacy networks!

Global Advisory Networks

These networks are composed of knowledge brokers who advise to policy-makers and decision-makers in governmental institutions or intergovernmental transnational and supranational institutions (such as the United Nations). Working in the interphase between science and policy is a challenge that requires sharing best practices as to how to best present the scientific evidence or to address questions from policy-makers and decision-makers.

Below you may find some examples.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Nature

Multi stakeholder
Lead: Transnational and supranational stakeholders – UN
Other stakeholders involved: Research and academia (panel of individual researchers)

The network at a glance

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The objective of the IPCC is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations.

Date
1988

Place
UN, Geneva, Switzerland

Funding
Public

Type of Members
Governments. The IPCC is an organization of governments that are members of the United Nations or WMO. The IPCC currently has 195 members.

Rationale and activities

The IPCC provides regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC produces assessment reports; IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.

An open and transparent review by experts and governments around the world is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment and to reflect a diverse range of views and expertise. Through its assessments, the IPCC identifies the strength of scientific agreement in different areas and indicates where further research is needed. The IPCC does not conduct its own research.

The IPCC is divided into three Working Groups and a Task Force. Working Group I deals with The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change, Working Group II with Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability and Working Group III with Mitigation of Climate Change. The main objective of the Task Force is on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Representatives of IPCC member governments meet one or more times a year in Plenary Sessions of the Panel, where non-members can assist as observants. They elect a Bureau of scientists for the duration of an assessment cycle. Governments and Observer Organisations nominate, and Bureau members select experts to prepare IPCC reports. They are supported by the IPCC Secretariat and the Technical Support Units of the Working Groups and Task Force.

To support the preparation of its reports, the IPCC organizes scoping meetings, lead author meetings, workshops and expert meetings. It also organises various outreach events that communicate its findings, methodologies and explains the way the organisation works.

The Paris Agreement on climate, concluded in 2016, was a success facilitated in part by science diplomacy. In this, the partnership of the worldwide scientific community and governments through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a game changer.


Foreign Ministries S&T Advice Network (FMSTAN)

Nature

Mono-stakeholder network
Lead: Governmental (science advisers from national governments)

The network at a glance

The Foreign Ministries Science and Technology Advice Network (FMSTAN) is a global network of science advisers with experience within countries’ Foreign Ministries, operating under the auspices of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA).

It began in February 2016 with a meeting convened by the U.S. Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. This initial meeting involved the four S&T advisers to foreign ministers from Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States along with diplomats from twelve other nations: Chile, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Oman, Panama, Poland, Senegal, South Africa, Ukraine, and Vietnam. A few months later, Senegal became the next member of FMSTAN. And in 2017, Oman and Poland joined formally the network.

Date
February 2016

Place
Global Network

Funding
Public / International Organisations. Special division within INGSA. INGSA operates under the auspices of the International Science Council

Type of Members
Government representatives. FMSTAN involves science advisors to Foreign Ministries, diplomats, and other practitioners working for national. Membership to FMSTAN is by invite only governments.

Rationale and activities

FMSTAN is under the umbrella of INGSA. INGSA is a collaborative platform for policy exchange, capacity building and research across diverse science advisory organisations and national systems. The network aims to enhance the global science-policy interface and improve the use of evidence-informed policy formation at both national and transnational levels through workshops and fora.

FMSTAN’s main goals are:

  • to raise awareness about the importance of enduring S&T advisory capacity in foreign ministries
  • to share best practices and lessons learned in building S&T advisory capacity
  • to strengthen S&T advisory capacity in foreign ministries
  • to coordinate respective S&T diplomacy activities.

S&T advisors to foreign ministries are not necessarily experts on all scientific matters, but they understand the logics of science, are very well networked with scientists and academic institutions, and thus know where to find the most appropriate expert on any given topic. They have the skills to explain evidence required for informed decision-making about foreign affairs, serving as evidence brokers to present different options to contribute to informed decision-making by nations across the international landscape.

What the experts think

Learn about the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA), the main forum for policy makers, practitioners, national academies, scientific societies, and researchers to share experience, build capacities, and develop theoretical and practical approaches to the use of scientific evidence in informing policy at all levels of government. INGSA involves both FMSTAN and SPIDER.

Peter Gluckman

Peter Gluckman

Chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)

Can you tell us a bit about INGSA?


Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Nature

Multi-stakeholder network.
* Lead: Intergovernmental and supranational stakeholders – UN
* Partners: Research and academia (panel of individual researchers)

The network at a glance

IPBES was created to strengthen the science-policy interface on issues related to biodiversity and ecosystem services through its functions to:

  • Identify and prioritize key scientific information needed for policymakers on appropriate scales and to catalyse efforts to generate new knowledge;
  • Perform regular and timely assessments of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services and their inter-linkages
  • Support policy formulation and implementation by identifying policy-relevant tools and methodologies to enable decision makers to gain access to those tools and methodologies and where necessary, to promote and catalyse their further development
  • Prioritize key capacity-building needs to improve the science-policy interface at appropriate levels
  • Engage the scientific community and other knowledge holders with the work programme, taking into account the need for different disciplines and types of knowledge, gender balance, and effective contribution and participation by experts from developing countries.

Date
2012

Place
UNESCO, Bonn (Germany)

Funding
Public

Type of members
All States Members of the United Nations are eligible for IPBES membership. More than 100 governments are part of IPBES nowadays.

Global Diaspora Networks

You were introduced to the STI diaspora networks in the topic 3.3.2 National Networks and they were covered again in the topic 3.3.3 Sub-global Networks. They were characterised as groups of researchers and tech-experts from a specific nationality or region scattered worldwide. However, global diaspora networks group several national or regional diaspora networks or individual professionals from different nationalities under the same umbrella. See some examples below.

Networks of Diasporas in Engineering and Science (NODES)

Nature

Multi-stakeholder network, with a partnership between government (the U.S. Department of State), civil society organisation (the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS) and research and academia (the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

The network at a glance

This multi-stakeholder initiative seeks to support the establishment and practice exchange of STI diaspora networks in the United States of America.

Date
Launched in 2013

Place
US

Rationale and activities

NODES is an initiative from different US stakeholders to bring together STI diasporas of different nationalities that are active in the USA. NODES strives to:

  • Sharing best practices and knowledge about science diasporas
  • Increasing visibility and viability of knowledge networks by identifying appropriate capacity-building tools
  • Catalysing and strengthening STI diaspora networks by linking to professional societies, universities, NGOs, and government agencies at home and abroad
  • Convening diasporas to share information and best practices at various fora

NODES usually organises an annual forum during the AAAS Annual Meeting to engage scientists and engineers, students, innovators, and government and embassy officials by sharing stories from the diaspora that highlight the ways that individuals and groups are mobilizing diasporas to make a difference for and in their local, national, and global communities.


Diplomatic Circles

These are networks of diplomats and science officers from different embassies and consulates that gather on a periodic basis. As a group, they are able to better engage with the government authorities of the host country, arrange visits to scientific research centres or large research infrastructures, and organise scientific conferences in collaboration with public agencies, universities and academia, civil society organisations or even the industry sector.

These types of informal networks of government representatives are a useful and dynamic information and communications channel, benefiting not only international members, but also those science, technology and higher education stakeholders in the hosting country. These institutions may rely on the diplomatic circle to amplify their own messages to reach the international community abroad.

Usually they foster bilateral and multilateral collaborations and sometimes they also focus on addressing global needs together.

Some examples are listed below.

Science Diplomats Club of Washington DC

Nature

Mono-stakeholder network
Lead: Government (diplomats and STI delegates in embassies/consulates).

The network at a glance

The Science Diplomats Club (SDC) is a social club in Washington DC to provide an informal meeting place and networking channel for all science diplomats from diplomatic missions. The membership includes Science and Technology counsellors, attachés, or representatives of research institutions from more than 40 Washington-based embassies, about half of them from Europe. In addition, a few former science counsellors, as well as some U.S. personalities, have been granted the status of SDC honorary members.

Place
Washington DC, USA

Date
SDC was established in January 1965

Funding
Public

Type of Members
Government representatives’ science diplomats

Rationale and activities

The Science Diplomats Club was established during a lunch held by the Embassy of Denmark at the Cosmos Club in DC in January 1965. The club was the initial site for luncheons; when the Embassy of the Netherlands took over the secretariat, luncheons were also held at their embassy and other local restaurants. Starting in 1982, various science counsellors started hosting luncheons at their embassies.

During these meetings, guest speakers from the government, associations, universities, and industries informed SDC members about developments in science and technology policy and on progress in Research and Development (R&D). In recent years, the club has also made visits to S&T organisations inside and outside the Washington area.

In 2007 the Embassy of France in Washington DC began co-organising with SDC “Science Breakfasts”, which take place eight to ten times a year with speeches from prominent members of the American science and technology community. These breakfasts have provided the 30-40 guests from 15-20 countries with the opportunity to strengthen ties with American leaders in science and technology in a positive atmosphere.

List of other diplomatic circles
– The Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle Boston (Link)
– The Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle Singapore (Link)
– The London Diplomatic Science Club: established in 1960, current chair Embassy of France

Global Research Networks

These global networks gather different stakeholders together primarily to assemble resources for research. They also promote collaborative research projects and foster networking and capacity training for researchers to better engage with the diplomatic world.

Big Research Infrastructures for Diplomacy and Global Engagement through Science (BRIDGES)

https://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/sciencepolicy/bridges/bridges.html

Nature

Mono-stakeholder (Research and academia – Large research infrastructures)

The network at a glance

BRIDGES is an informal network of people who deal with science diplomacy and international relations in international research organisations.

Date
2019

Place
International network with the coordination based in IIASA in Austria.

Funding
Public

Type of members
Delegates from large research infrastructures

Rationale and activities

The BRIDGES network involves delegates from CERN, EMBL, ESA, ICTP, IIASA, ITER, JRC, SKA and XFEL participating. ESO, ILL and SESAME are part of it as well, and some more are being approached.

In recent years the topic of science diplomacy is gaining more and more importance, however the concept itself has remained somewhat abstract and would benefit from becoming more hands-on and operational. So, BRIDGES participants wanted to establish a joint science diplomacy platform to create a community of science diplomacy practitioners in international research organizations.

The network is a very lean operation without fees, legal commitments, or the like, and has hosted two meetings in 2019.

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