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

4.4.6 The EU Science Diplomacy Cluster

The European Union is defining its strategy for regional science diplomacy. Three complementary projects – EL-CSID, InsSciDE, and S4D4C – funded by Europe’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme support this endeavour, forming the first EU science diplomacy cluster.

Through multidisciplinary research and dialogue, all three projects generate frameworks for governance, strategic advice, training modules for diplomats and scientists, and ground-breaking knowledge on science diplomacy histories and case studies. Researchers and practitioners from the three projects are in constant dialogue and exchange ideas and results.

You may find general information about this cluster on its website: http://www.science-diplomacy.eu. Below, we provide some brief information about the objectives of each of these projects.

The European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy (EL-CSID)

Website: http://www.el-csid.eu

The European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy (EL-CSID) project analyses the relevance of cultural, science and innovation diplomacy for EU external relations, locating developments in these fields in the evolving global context. 

Cultural and science diplomacy have played an increasing role in the European diplomatic story in recent years, and the EU has made a major start articulating the relevance of culture and science for its external relations. However, as yet, an evolving strategy for the development of science and cultural diplomacy remains to be fully articulated, as do the longer-term implications of the continued development of cultural and science diplomacy in today’s fast changing multipolar and digitised world.

Moreover, as innovation policy has come to be an increasingly decisive ingredient in the wider policy decisions made by countries and the world’s regions, it should be recognised as part of any conversation about science and cultural diplomacy. In this context, it becomes essential to make explicit the assumptions underpinning much of the practices at work in the EU’s cultural, science and innovation diplomacy work. The ambition of EL-CSID is to do precisely this by strengthening EU policy towards the use of science, culture and innovation in its wider diplomacy as well as deepening scholarly understanding of diplomacy as an abiding institution. 

The EL-CSID project was coordinated at the Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and consists of a consortium of nine partners from Belgium, Germany, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Slovenia, Turkey and the United Kingdom. 

Some EL-CSID outputs

EL-CSID has been extremely prolific in terms of policy briefs, reports, book chapters and other academic outputs. You can find all this knowledge at https://www.el-csid.eu/publications. Among other reasons, EL-CSID brings a unique perspective into the cluster as it has done research about both European culture and science, being able to compare both crucial dimensions of the European identity.

We would like to specially recommend the “Lessons learned from the EL-CSID project” report (Van Langenhove and Higgot 2018). In the report, the authors propose a number of recommendations for the EU to deploy a Science Diplomacy strategy. In their view, the EU should leave Member States to develop their own science diplomacy priorities, but it should complement them with a number of actions:

  • Set up a support function for MS and EU that monitors and stimulates Science Diplomacy (for example, by launching a European science diplomacy observatory)
  • Develop its own Science Diplomacy strategy on what the EU could do to take a leadership role in mobilising science for the purposes of enhancing the EU’s external relations. A possible strategy for EU science diplomacy could be a triple focus:
    • EU science diplomacy as tool for building European identity
    • EU science diplomacy as a tool for increasing regional security in the EU’s neighbourhood area
    • EU science diplomacy as a tool for realizing the sustainable development goals.

Another report largely cited across this online course is van Langenhoven’s “Tools for an EU science diplomacy” (2017) as it maps national science diplomacy tools used by MS and some other countries outside the EU, and provides recommendations for the EU to develop a EU science diplomacy strategy aligned with MS science diplomacy policies and practices and with the EU’s Foreign and External Relations policy.

Read more!
–  van Langenhove, Luk (2017): Tools for an EU Science Diplomacy. European Commission – Directorate General for Research and Innovation. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. doi: 10.2777/911223. (Link).
– van Langenhove, Luk, and Richard Higgott (2019): Lessons Learned from the EL-CSID Project. Brussels: EL-CSID. March 2019 (Link).

Inventing a shared Science Diplomacy for Europe (InsSciDe)

Website: http://www.insscide.eu

The InsSciDE project aims to create new knowledge on past and present science diplomacy in Europe, engage stakeholders in sharing lessons learned, and deliver shared policy and training tools.

InsSciDE aims to reveal and foster Europe’s capital of science diplomacy experience. Themes of historical and critical study include Heritage, Health, Security, Environment, and Space. InsSciDE also actively compiles the contemporary history of diplomats’ networks and of roles played by National Academies of Science or Technology. Scientists and diplomats will meet to better understand each other and forge a common culture. Interactive seminars and summer schools provide a dozen opportunities over the course of four years (2018-2021) to network, reflect, and participate in creating shared science diplomacy for Europe.

The InsSciDE project is coordinated at the Institute of Communication Science (ISCC) at the Sorbonne University and consists of a consortium of 15 partners from Sweden, Hungary, Italy, Greece, France, Poland, Austria, United Kingdom, and Portugal.

Some InsSciDe outputs

In one of their first policy reports, InsSciDe calls for an interdisciplinary European science diplomacy that should be understood at two levels. At the first level, science diplomacy is not to be understood as the mere juxtaposition of two disciplines, but rather as the holistic interexchange of knowledge and methodologies between them. 

At the second level, science diplomacy should be driven by a broad and interdisciplinary understanding of science, which covers a range of disciplines from natural sciences to engineering, to social sciences and the humanities, where these disciplines form part of a cohesive model.

Using Science for/in Diplomacy for Addressing Global Challenges (S4D4C)

Website: http://www.s4d4c.eu

The overall objective of S4D4C is to support current and future European science diplomacy for the benefit of European capacities, EU foreign policy goals and especially the development of solutions for global challenges. S4D4C has shaped its partnership so that it can effectively address this objective from an academic as well as a practitioners’ perspective. S4D4C makes use of case-based research to develop a governance framework for EU science diplomacy, training and capacity-building measures as well as online knowledge resources for science diplomats.

The task of supporting the development of EU science diplomacy is exciting for a number of reasons. For instance, the multi-level governance system of the EU, with its regional, national and supranational layers, offers both challenges and opportunities: coordinating Member State activities can be difficult, but the supranational EU layer can also offer added value (in certain topics, for certain groups of Member States, etc.). Besides these governance aspects, there are developments in the EU research landscape as well as in its foreign policy institutions that can be harnessed for effective science diplomacy: open science, public diplomacy, etc. S4D4C is set up to harness all these opportunities.

The S4D4C project is coordinated at the Centre for Social Innovation in Vienna (ZSI) and consists of a consortium of 10 partners from Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK.

Some S4D4C outputs

  • European science diplomacy case studies

S4D4C experts are investigating a range of science diplomacy cases. A mixed team of researchers have developed nine case studies. All case analyses involve an overview of the case and its background, context and governance arrangements, a description of the stakeholder landscape and a discussion of governance practices. They look at the EU level as well as selected examples from Member States, varying case to case.

These case studies examine the use of knowledge and the relations between governance levels, and provide a discussion on how the case improves or changes our understanding of science diplomacy. Some of these case studies will be covered in Module 7. Hands on! Case Studies.  

You may also download the full report here.

  • The Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy

We have cited the declaration throughout this course and it is covered in detail on Topics 2.3.5. The Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy and 3.1.2 The S4D4C Approach to Science Diplomacy: a Multi-Stakeholder Endeavour. The declaration has been endorsed by over 125 experts and it proclaims a common vision of science diplomacy in the future, emphasising the benefits science diplomacy can bring to tackling the global challenges of our time and outlining the principles needed to foster science diplomacy worldwide.

  • Policy briefs

S4D4C researchers and practitioners have published a number of policy briefs aiming to enlighten the current practices in European Science diplomacy and to propose a governance framework that both acknowledges and fosters its diversity and opportunities.

All S4D4C policy briefs can be found on the following link.

  • Online and offline training for science diplomats

S4D4C believes in capacity building for professionals at the intersection of science and international relations as a fundamental need in the construction of EU science diplomacy. During the project, two physical workshops have been offered in Trieste and Vienna during 2019 and also an Open Doors programme allowed five EU scientists to spend time in government and public organisations as well as in international bodies being exposed to science diplomacy practices.

The current online training course you are taking is also provided by S4D4C.

The European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance

The EU Science Diplomacy Alliance is a collaborative initiative launched by the Horizon 2020 science diplomacy projects S4D4C, InsSciDE and EL-CSID to sustain and grow the networks, impact and momentum consolidated by the three projects. The activities of the Alliance will aim to further develop, maintain, and organise joint research projects, capacity building and training activities (such as open online courses, summer schools, trainings, etc.) on the topic of science diplomacy.

The Coordinators of S4D4C, InsSciDE and EL-CSID together launched the Alliance at the Final Networking Conference of S4D4C on 19 March 2021, with the support of several founding members. The Alliance is grounded in the results and networks fostered by the three projects and aims at sustaining the dialogue on EU science diplomacy and cultivating new opportunities to progress theory and practice of science diplomacy in Europe.

The Alliance emerged as a result of the S4D4C policy brief: Nurturing the EU Science Diplomacy Community: The Launch of an EU Science Diplomacy Alliance for Addressing Global Challenges.  It will facilitate interactions and dialogue, training, institutional capacity building and coordination of grant-seeking or use of joint funding, if available. The Alliance serves as a hub for cooperative activities and voluntary coordination and relies upon the participating membership community and networks to highlight and select different areas and innovative activities to be pursued. It is hoped that a great variety of societal challenges may be addressed over time.

Objetives include:

  • – Encourage project collaboration
  • – Supporting information exchange and awareness raising
  • – Training, education and institutional capacity building
  • – Promoting and creating knowledge exchange and interaction interfaces
  • – Connecting and nurturing a science, technology and innovation diplomacy community
  • – Keeping track of European Union Science Diplomacy activities
  • – Advising science diplomacy stakeholders

The activities of the Alliance will aim to further develop, maintain, and organise joint research projects, capacity building and training activities (such as open online courses, summer schools, training, etc.) on the topic of science diplomacy.

Coordination, planning and admission of new institutions take place in meetings convened twice a year by the chairing institution, which rotates between members every six months.

All EU SD Alliance can be found on the following link.

What the experts think

Learn from the first S4D4C Project Coordinator how S4D4C is contributing to fostering EU science diplomacy!

Alexander Degelsegger

Alexander Degelsegger-Márquez

Head of Digital Health and Innovation at Gesundheit Österreich GmbH (Austrian Public Health Institute). Former S4D4C project coordinator

How do you think S4D4C is going to contribute to fostering European Science diplomacy?

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