S4D4C policy brief: Towards effective science diplomacy practice

Key premises for the development of effective governance mechanisms for science diplomacy.

Grand societal challenges require collective action within and across national borders. Effective action is expected from Europe and it requires targeted inter-governmental and diplomatic efforts and the mobilisation of appropriate scientific knowledge. Science Diplomacy is a promising mechanism to address these grand societal challenges. The complexity arising from the existing variety of mechanisms and stakeholders in science diplomacy precludes a clear-cut definition of who should ‘do’ science diplomacy in what way. And many stakeholders that could be labelled ‘science diplomacy organisation’ would not do so themselves. This presents challenges for organising the governance of science diplomacy.

The authors suggest here that governing mechanisms for science diplomacy in Europe must observe four premises to be effective:

(a) grand societal challenges require both diplomatic efforts and science-based knowledge
(b) science-based knowledge production is diverse and evolving
(c) diplomacy means reconciling a variety of interests
(d) science diplomacy requires combined science and diplomacy literacy

These premises set the stage for the development of governance mechanisms for science diplomacy. Taken seriously, they lead to governance practices that do not pre-define what science diplomacy is, but give interested stakeholders the guidance they need to develop effective science diplomacy mechanisms themselves. This will be presented in a later policy recommendation brief.


Document type
  • Practical Advice/Guide


Publication Year


Geographical focus
  • Europe
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on April 29, 2020
Modified on May 1, 2020