EL-CSID Policy brief 4: Science Diplomacy in search of a purpose in the populist era

4 / 2018
Luk Van Langenhove
Elke Boers

Science Diplomacy as a practice has a long past but only a short history. It became a policy concern of Foreign Affairs only recently. This article points to the strengths and weaknesses of Science Diplomacy as a soft power instrument aimed at improving International Relations. It also lists a number of threats coming from populist and protectionist forces that hinder the further development of Science Diplomacy. At the same time, the current situation also bears opportunities such as the potential to develop a scientist-driven Science Diplomacy aimed at safeguarding the values of science and at strengthening the input of science in humanity coping with global problems. This can best be realised by establishing mission-driven networks of state policy-makers, scientists and relevant stakeholders.