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Inventing a Shared Science Diplomacy for Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - InsSciDE (Inventing a Shared Science Diplomacy for Europe)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

"""Science in diplomacy, diplomacy for science, science for diplomacy"" describes the span of practices and potentials in science diplomacy. Science (all disciplines of humanities, health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences and technology) can inform and support foreign diplomacy objectives; diplomacy can facilitate international scientific cooperation; science can help build and improve international relations. Across the globe, regions and states view science diplomacy as an instrument to secure influence, resolve conflict, foster prosperous stability and ensure peace. In 2015, the EU Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation C. Moedas said: 'Scientific cooperation has an indisputable role in effective European neighborhood [and development] policy, international relations. (…) I want to see the EU play an increasingly active and visible role in international science diplomacy'. Under President U. von der Leyen the EC is voluntarily 'geopolitical', and the role of science diplomacy can only grow - and deserves fine analysis.

InsSciDE – Inventing a Shared Science Diplomacy for Europe – responds with a hypothesis: the Member States have a great capital of experience, long using science in diplomatic engagements. But this practice is unrecognized or lacking an overall model that could let it be shared – leveraged and consolidated for Europe. Our project reveals and communicates this intangible capital, develops its conceptual bases and elaborates tools to help European science diplomacy emerge and blossom. From first questions to final tools and training, we lead this process from inside science diplomacy – hand-in-hand with its stakeholders. Those who deploy, direct and benefit from science diplomacy are co-inventors, end-users and ambassadors for the project, accompanied by a consortium associating academic excellence and high competence in training and stakeholder engagement. A broad international audience uptakes and refines InsSciDE findings and intellectual products.

InsSciDE conducted a highly successful 5-day training in 2020: the Warsaw Science Diplomacy School. Applications and nominations for the next edition open in March 2021."
The European Union’s historical and political profile call for a reflection on science diplomacy past and present. InsSciDE investigates 5 thematic areas where science diplomacy developed and needs to have the greatest impact: Heritage, Health, Security, Environment, Space. Transversal research delves into science diplomacy as a social practice, and develops political theory and strategic frameworks to reinforce the emerging lessons.

In the first period (2018), extensive field and desk research, drawing primarily on archives but also on many interviews, opened a database of more than 20 study cases on the European history and experience of science diplomacy. Interdisciplinary dialogue examines political science concepts of power through the lens of each historical and sociological case analysis. The highly diverse case studies are aligned with project objectives, mutually informative, structured for comparability, and accessible to external stakeholders. A ‘pitch’ for each case is available on

Two pilot seminars and >90 public presentations put InsSciDE materials on the world stage and triggered dialogue with science diplomacy practitioners.
Providing policy-relevant knowledge, honed in a strong engagement process, InsSciDE targets impact in four areas:

a) Impact sought by the European Commission.
The Commission called for research on science diplomacy that can positively impact foreign policies of the EU and its member states; enhance coordination; provide insights on multilateral ties and influences; find implications for science as well as neighborhood policies; facilitate Europe's future engagement with third countries. InsSciDE will clarify values and policy assumptions, take stock of experience, frame learning with theory, give historical background and depth to current events and policy, and pinpoint strategic conclusions. InsSciDE brings practitioners directly into shaping and perfecting products: case studies, best practices, recommendations, training modules and more.

Much potential impact – in terms of academic citation or larger cultural changes in science diplomacy communities – is expected to occur after the close of InsSciDE. Anticipated assessment could record or check: practitioners implication and national or institutional origins; inroads towards agenda-setting (successful penetration of digital and other public communications); actual stakeholder reception and accessibility of InsSciDE materials (hand deliveries; variety of physical supports and formats fostering conservation, including the storage of original data in the Historical Archives of the European Union; actual consultation rates; submissions to academic journals…).

b) Competitiveness of European enterprise.
InsSciDE boosts a vanguard start-up: ICONEM, subcontractor to WP4-Heritage, supports an impactful and original science diplomacy field intervention in the Near East. This is an opportunity for the SME to make its hi-tech specialist skills known at global scale.
InsSciDE also offers development perspectives to (not-for-profit) partner 2, European Academy of Diplomacy, participating for the first time in a European Commission-sponsored research project. This training academy is already well-regarded and implanted in Eastern and Central Europe as well as the Mediterranean. By organizing an Open Conference and two InsSciDE specialty training events, EAD will gain visibility and potential future enrollees, throughout Europe and among UNESCO Member States in other world regions.

c) Environmental, social and societal issues.
The EU has prioritized climate change mitigation and adaptation. The 2015 COP21 and resulting Paris Agreement demonstrated European leadership in creating a global policy framework. Climate change and biodiversity will remain major issues of science diplomacy for Europe in the future. Security raises ethical as well as pragmatic issues of cooperation and exclusion for Member States and partners. InsSciDE offers original and extensive research on science diplomacy facing these global challenges, as well as on health diplomacy (epidemics, migration…) and heritage (identity and conflict in the Near East). Discussion of findings and strategic conclusions by the diversity of practitioner and stakeholder participants in InsSciDE will enlighten policy makers. Of particular note: InsSciDE supports an actual Heritage field action in a war-torn context where it is vital that science and diplomacy meet. This war archaeology contributes directly to keeping inter-regional cooperation alive.

d) Humanities and social science research.
InsSciDE demonstrates the value of the humanities and social sciences in addressing global challenges that cannot be addressed by physical and life sciences alone – nor by single states. Finding human and institutional means to effect interfaces is a profoundly social process. Identifying the social construction and reception of European science diplomacy is key to understanding its (potential) achievements, power and limits. InsSciDE, active in H2020 cluster builds new bridges between the social sciences and humanities in domains traditionally closed to these disciplines – for instance, in Space.