News 21 May 2024

How Can Research Infrastructures Support Science Diplomacy?

Diplomats, politicians and experts met during the Diplomacy Forum of #EuARe2024, discussing how science diplomacy is enhanced by Research Infrastructures and scientific programmes.

Image: Presenters and Moderator of the Diplomacy Forum

Some twelve presenters reflected on and discussed how science and diplomacy relate, from two perspectives: 1) How to identify opportunities and challenges posed to and 2) posed by European scientific diplomacy in the global arena. 

Tolerance and Understanding

In the first session H.H. S.E. Ahmed Saleh Al-Rashdi, undersecretary the Sultanate of Oman, expressed on behalf of the Sultanate of Oman his gratitude to EuARe for  the “efforts in promoting the spirit of tolerance, mutual understanding, and peace – values that form the very  foundation of Oman’s long-standing, authentic diplomacy”.

Asher Maoz (Israel) followed this up by confirming that “tolerance is a keyword, it must be in our starting attitude. A careful leader should extract the essence of religion and have a positive attitude. As to diplomacy, it should make sure that science is going into the right direction.”

Second Part

The second part of the forum was dedicated to the question how opportunities and challenges posed by European policies to national strategies for research and innovation can be identified. Evarist Bartalo (politician from Malta) emphasized that it is important to acknowledge religious minorities and to show humility. “Do not do things for them, but with them.”

Lidia Borrel-Damián, Secretary General of Science Europe focused in her contribution on access and research communication: “Equitable access to open science is a must. Science communication and research communication are also important. If you get better in communication, you will also engage more.”

Bonnie Wolff-Boenisch director of CESSDA ERIC research infrastructure mentioned that “research infrastructures are very important for science diplomacy, because it is the best way were scientist from all nations can exchange best practices and share their knowledge. The knowledge transfer from different regions is quite important to create new knowledge and for solving global challenges.”

Monique Bossi, Infrastructure Manager of Einstein Telescope Infrastructure Consortium, wondered if tit could be done at all, bringing together science and diplomacy and make them effectively working for the benefit of society? International cooperation is indeed embedded in science and study, but regarding the role of resarch infrastructures there are many unanswered questions.

The general conclusion of the panel was that stronger collaboration of science and diplomacy can give a boost to more societal understanding, especially when research contributes to reliable religious knowledge.