Use the future to build the present
Collaborative Science Diplomacy
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Emerging Topic:

4.5Collaborative Science Diplomacy

Associated Sub-Fields

The products of science are increasingly celebrated as drivers of global health, sustainable development and wealth creation. Science and technology are also sources of tension and competition between nations or regions. The Covid-19 crisis in particular has highlighted the role of science on the international stage, how it rapidly advanced novel vaccine technologies, and how these vaccines became a crucial part of the currency of international negotiations, diplomacy and geopolitics. The emerging discipline of science diplomacy seeks to establish an evidence-based, anticipatory foundation for this kind of endeavour.

This foundation will support and empower the increasingly diverse set of stakeholders who practice science diplomacy, though there are numerous challenges ahead. One issue is how to train and incorporate these actors at state and non-state levels — these actors will come from government, academia, global companies, grass roots and non-governmental organisations, and so on. These actors are currently in siloed communities that have little reason or incentives to interact, and often speak different “languages” in the sense of the jargon and concepts they rely on. A challenge will be to find ways to bring them together to find a common “worldview” and to train individuals and institutions with the technical multilingualism they need to communicate effectively across boundaries. “Big science” projects are becoming part of this diplomatic landscape, requiring long-term technical and diplomatic engagement among a broad group of stakeholders. These diverse groups must also find ways to manage traditional and emerging global commons fairly and effectively.

Selection of GESDA Best Reads and further key reports

Science diplomacy is a relatively new discipline with a broad and multidisciplinary skill set. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science established a Center for Science Diplomacy as a focal point for discussion, publication and training in this field.1 In 2010, AAAS and the UK’s Royal Society published the report “New Frontiers in Science Diplomacy”, which proposed the first conceptual framework for science diplomacy.2 The European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance, established in 2021, brings together the members of several research projects on science diplomacy.3 In 2018, S4D4C published a useful review of work and approaches in this area,4 and Timothy Legrande and Diane Stone published “Science diplomacy and transnational governance impact”, which presents a research agenda for influencing politics and international studies with science.5

The importance of diplomacy in science and the importance of science in diplomacy is becoming increasingly accepted. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our efforts to better manage our global commons, which was judged to have by far the highest potential for impact of the four topics investigated. Breakthroughs in this area are still some way off though, with respondents predicting maturity won’t be achieved for another 17 years. Getting there will be a long-term project and will be impossible to achieve without breakthroughs in multi-stakeholder diplomacy, which was judged to have low awareness and will require considerably more attention going forward.

GESDA Best Reads and Key Resources