Using science for/in diplomacy for addressing global challenges  A Horizon 2020 funded project, grant n° 770342, Jan 2018 – Dec 2020

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European societies face a number of increasingly urgent and complex challenges. These challenges are becoming more interdependent and global in nature. The EU plays a leading role in addressing these global challenges. Their solution requires coordinated international efforts, which makes them central to foreign policy. In addition to diplomatic skills attuning interests and capacities of actors, their solution also requires an increasing amount of expertise and, more concretely, scientific knowledge. Diplomats cannot be expected to have or easily obtain this knowledge, even less so in today’s dynamic research and innovation systems. For the most part, they have to rely on scientific advice. However, communication between the scientific and diplomatic communities is not straightforward. The models, processes and resources for this sort of scientific advice are also not yet systematically available.

There is potential for better harnessing European science and science cooperation for European science diplomacy and foreign policy goals, both at EU and MS level. Not only can new approaches for scientific advice in EU foreign policy benefit from advances in research (e.g. new climate models). Science diplomats can also harness new ways of carrying out research that offer opportunities for foreign policy impact (including aspects of open science, internationalisation, and Responsible Research and Innovation). In the current political and societal landscape, the needs, stakes and opportunities pertaining to science diplomacy have increased.

Approach - general

Against this background, the overall aim 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. This includes the EU’s commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have an important science, technology and innovation component. In order to meet these objectives, both academic and practical expertise are a necessity.

S4D4C has shaped its partnership so that it can effectively address the objectives from both of these perspectives. S4D4C’s approach is also characterised by the conviction that recent changes in both science (new mission orientation, internationalisation, openness, etc.) and diplomacy (changes in the role of diplomatic knowledge, multiplication of diplomatic actors, etc.) not only have to be taken into account when developing science diplomacy interventions and training science diplomats. They also can be constructively used for new and more impactful types of science diplomacy.

The specific objectives of S4D4C are:

1) Providing new insights and a better understanding of the contributions of science and science collaborations to EU foreign policy goals

2) Facilitating effective and efficient interfaces for European science diplomacy so as to take better advantage of European science and science cooperation

3) Providing policy guidance on where and how EU and EU Member State (MS) science diplomacy can be active in the future

4) Contributing to the better preparation, clearer profile and stronger identity of European science diplomats

5) Increasing capacities and knowledge resources for EU and MS science diplomats

6) Expanding global reach and visibility for EU science diplomacy

The backbone of S4D4C’s research and public sector innovation activities is interdisciplinary social science research on the needs and experiences of EU and MS science diplomats as well as on cases of science diplomacy. The cases are chosen and structured according to three essential angles on science diplomacy: foreign policy and diplomacy challenges as a driver for science diplomacy; European science and science cooperation as an opportunity for science diplomacy; EU instruments as options for coordination and science diplomacy. Building on the research work, we aim to support current and future European science diplomacy and decision-making by:

• mobilising knowledge and networks

• co-creating a governance framework with a focus on interfaces

• training science diplomats

• providing decision-making support

• linking up actors globally

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Envisaged impact

S4D4C activities aim at strengthening European science diplomacy at both EU and MS level. They strive to support the EU in working towards its foreign policy goals, especially those related to solutions to societal and global challenges.

At the end of S4D4C, we will have strengthened European science diplomacy capacities, contributing to EU foreign policy and sustainable development goals by

• facilitating effective and efficient interfaces for science diplomacy between the diplomatic and the scientific community

• providing decision-making support and knowledge resources for European science diplomacy

• training European science diplomats

We will have sparked public sector innovation through scoping for future science diplomacy areas and the provision of knowledge resources, leading to new policy directions and instruments. We will also have contributed to better positioning the EU as a global science diplomacy player


S4D4C brings together a distinguished set of partners combining expertise in science diplomacy, EU international relations, policy analysis, science policy and diplomatic training for the benefit of the impacts we envisage. The consortium also includes partners who are active practitioners of science diplomacy in the EU and its Member States. The consortium partners are:

1) Centre for Social Innovation GmbH (ZSI, coordinator)

2) International Bureau of the BMBF at DLR, Germany

3) Charles University Prague, Czech Republic (CU)

4) University of Twente, Netherlands (UT)

5) German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW)

6) UNESCO/TWAS, France/Italy (TWAS)

7) University of Sheffield, UK (USFD)

8) Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, Spain (FECYT)

9) University Lille II, France (UL)

10) Vienna School of International Studies, Austria (DA)

In addition to the consortium partners, we count with a network of non-EU associate partners that support the global reach of the project activities (AAAS, IAP, INGSA, HSE/Moscow, GRIPS/Tokyo) as well as with a distinguished advisory board (Dr Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Prof Paul Berkman, Dr Thomas König).

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