In its Report on Science, Technology and Innovation Diplomacy (STID) of 2016, the Spanish government emphasizes that science, technology, and innovation plays an important role in the development of fruitful and sustainable cooperation between countries. Accordingly, the capacity to produce scientific and technological innovation is a necessary and preliminary condition to achieve the goals of the Agenda 2030 of the UN. Moreover, the government states that science, technology, and innovation is an important means to attract talent to the country, promote collaboration, and create the framework for competitive industries. Against this background, STID becomes an important soft power to build international relations and – an aspect that the Spanish government frequently mentions in this report – an instrument to create a positive image of the country as a whole.
The approach of the Spanish government towards science diplomacy relies to a high degree on the institutions that are involved. The governmental report refers to both the diplomatic and scientific organisations, associations, agencies, among others. Elorza et al. (2017), who give an overview of last years’ developments of science diplomacy in Spain, offer an analysis of the layout and the results of the approach and its efforts, calling it a “bottom-up, multi-stakeholder approach”. The Spanish science diplomacy network (comprising different departments of Spanish Embassies abroad, scientific and innovation representatives of the Ministry of Science and Innovation abroad, among others) has established a fluid dialogue with civil society and researchers associations as it aims to become open and receptive to the needs of society and the research community.
The Ministry of Science and Innovation, through the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), and in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation has run a pioneering pilot in which three scientific coordinators were deployed to the Embassies of Spain in Washington DC, London and Berlin. The pilot, completed in 2018, helped dynamize the Spanish science diplomacy network. As for today, the network meets in Madrid on a yearly basis and keeps communication fluid among countries, institutions and different stakeholders.
During the last 5 years, there has been a notable rise in the importance S&T issues in the portfolio of cultural counselors at Spain’s embassies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation endorsed science diplomacy in its 2021-2024 strategy.
Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Spain in Washington
How do you think science diplomacy can contribute to reinforce Spanish diplomacy?
|Read more about Spain’s science diplomacy in the reference below:
– Elorza Moreno, Ana; Melchor, Lorenzo, Orts-Gil, Guillermo; Gracia, Crsitina; Lacunza, Izaskun; Izquierdo, Borja; Fernández-Vera, José Ignacio. (2017): Spanish Science Diplomacy: A Global and Collaborative Bottom-Up Approach. In: Science & Diplomacy 6(1) (Link).
– Government of Spain (2016): Report on Science, Technology and Innovation Diplomacy (Link).
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