VUB joins new European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance

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Vriije Universiteit Brussel is among the 16 founding members of the new European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance. Members will support research, training and networking to advance science, technology and innovation diplomacy in Europe and beyond.

"Science diplomacy is a versatile tool that mobilizes science and scientists to advance dialogue and cooperation between countries, regions and citizens," says Luk Van Langenhove, VUB academic commissioner for international networks and research professor at VUB’s Brussels School of Governance. "With the in-depth knowledge, experience and dedication of the alliance members, we are certain that our activities and events will contribute to enhancing awareness and knowledge of science diplomacy."

The founding members of European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance include European universities and research centres, foundations, diplomatic academies and multilateral organisations. Together they will facilitate interaction and dialogue, training, institutional capacity building and coordination of joint funding to enhance their global impact. The alliance’s first large conference will be hosted in Paris in June 2022.

In the past months, the European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance has prepared an opinon paper in response to the European Commission’s communication on the Global Approach to Research and Innovation, ’ Europe’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world ’. in which it is emphasised what is missing and how one could envisage a Science Diplomacy Strategy to complement the Global Approach. Such a strategy should answer the questions Why should the EU invest in science diplomacy? How should it invest? What should be the concrete actions to implement the vision and mission? The paper was prepared by Luk Van Langenhove as chair of a drafting group and is now signed by already 20 scholars from different institutions.

The initiative of the European Union Science Diplomacy Alliance was launched following the success of three research and innovation projects on science diplomacy funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, which ran between 2016 and 2022: EL-CSID (European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy), S4D4C (Using Science for/in Diplomacy for Addressing Global Challenges) and InsSciDE (Inventing a Shared Science Diplomacy for Europe). The EL-CSID project was coordinated by VUB and analysed the relevance of cultural, science and innovation diplomacy for EU external relations. The alliance aims to continue the activities, networks, impact and legacy of the three projects.

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