EL-CSID: New horizons and domains for science diplomacy


This project is part of a Horizon 2020 consortium of nine academic institutions to analyze the cultural, science and innovation policy of the EU in a comparative perspective over a three year period starting in March 2016 (“EL-CSID: European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation policy”). It will focus on how different actors such as national governments, supra- and transnational institutions, NGOs and international organizations engage science in their external relations by looking into their respective objectives, strategies, programs and instruments for science diplomacy. If the EU wants to continue with its ambitions to become one of the most innovative regions in the world and be a global actor that deploys different kinds of so-called ‘soft power’, this becomes a valuable instrument in two directions. First, diplomacy may at large stir and buttress global scientific cooperation in multiple areas of strategic importance, help universities and research organizations access and use valuable resources and talents abroad, thus strengthen a country’s potentials, performance and competitiveness in science and innovation. On the other hand, scientific projects provide pre-political venues for cooperation and understanding between countries and institutional actors otherwise hostile to or estranged from one another. Thus science may gird diplomatic encounters and initiatives to broker conflicts, build bridges and alleviate political or economic cooperation. Mapping and analyzing the activities, intersections and impact of different actor networks and players in the field of science diplomacy with regard to important sites and target-regions, including their views of pertinent policies of the EU and its member states, will allow to clarify the overall direction of travel, patterns of vested interests and stakeholders involved, and strategic opportunities both within the evolving global and EU external relations context. Ultimately, the project is expected to identify how the EU and the member states could, both individually and collectively, develop a good institutional set-up for extra-regional science diplomacy and the respective strategic policies to enhance their outreach and capacities.