A POSTnote which explains what science diplomacy involves, outlining the mechanisms and settings that encourage organisations and individuals to build international relations through science-related activities.Jump to full report >>
Science diplomacy refers to the role science can play in international relations, or how diplomatic efforts support international science.
Science diplomacy describes a range of activities that are pursued for a number of reasons. These can include the promotion of national interests, for example improving innovation capacity, addressing cross-border issues, such as the sharing of water resources, or tackling global challenges such as ocean acidification. Scientists and diplomats work together in channelling multilateral responses to these questions and in developing policy agreements at an intergovernmental level.
Science diplomacy can be a driver behind international research programmes when participating countries hope that scientific collaboration will encourage stronger political and economic ties. However in many cases science diplomacy occurs of its own accord when close relationships between individual members of a multinational team can progress to the establishment of more formal connections between their funding organisations or governments.
Science diplomacy also refers to the use of scientific evidence to inform foreign policy decisions and objectives, sometimes in emergency situations such as after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan.
POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing, including:
*Denotes people who acted as external reviewers for the briefing.
Authors: Sarah Bunn; Emmeline Ledgerwood
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.