‘Science diplomacy’ (SD) appeared at the beginning of the present millennium as a new vocabulary and concept to describe some of the contemporary interactions between science and technology (S&T) on one hand and foreign affairs on the other. SD finds its place in the portfolio of ministries of foreign affairs (MFA s) and expresses a major challenge: the obligation for MFA s to adapt to a world where S&T evolve rapidly and exert a growing influence on international relations and diplomacy. This chapter looks at how MFA s have taken over the S&T dimensions of international affairs and have organised themselves for addressing the challenge of SD. Building on interviews with high-level ministerial officials and available written sources, it pays particular attention to the case of MFA s in six countries: Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The posting of science attachés to diplomatic representations abroad is a tool particularly suited to the implementation of a science diplomacy strategy. The European Commission embarked on this practice by the end of the last century and today there are twelve science counselors stationed in European Union (EU) delegations. All of them were interviewed, and filled out a short survey, for this study. This article documents the particular profile and missions of the EU’s science counselors, to which no study has been devoted as such to date. The survey revealed their essential cross-cutting missions: promoting the research framework programs, and enhancing coordination with Member States’ science attachés. This article draws on interviewees’ statements and the existing literature in order to analyze and critically discuss the contribution of science counselors to the implementation of the EU’s science diplomacy and public diplomacy.
From an attentive reading of the practitioner-driven literature, this essay questions the reasons why the dominant discourse on science diplomacy highlights practices based on international co-operation and the pursuit of shared interests but pays little attention to practices which are inspired by a spirit of competition. It advances hypotheses related to the professional profiles of those who built the definitions and shaped this discourse, and who are scientists. It underlines the need to provide a broader definition of science diplomacy, by recognising its double nature, both collaborative and competitive.