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Euratom: Science Diplomacy for Nuclear Safety

Last week, InsSciDE participated in a panel discussion at Roma Tre University at the workshop, “The history of EURATOM. – Science, international politics and nuclear diplomacy”. Project Coordinator, Pascal Griset, offered the panel a survey of the InsSciDE project while WP3 (Science Diplomats) expert, Pierre-Bruno Ruffini and WP8 (Space) leader, David Burigana, each presented on the concept of science diplomacy from the perspective of their work package themes.

The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) was established alongside the European Economic Community (EEC) under the auspices of the Treaties of Rome in 1957. It serves as the EU’s complementary research programme for nuclear research and training, in line with the Horizon 2020 priorities of excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges. The two-day workshop in Rome reviewed the system of Euratom as a “new” concept for an “old” practice and included expert speakers on the history of nuclear energy, international relations, and global history.

During the workshop, Ruffini outlined an introductory framework to science diplomacy. His explanation included a dynamic grid on actors and their practices, which served to conceptualize science diplomacy to historians of science and international relations. Burigana discussed examples of trans-disciplinary diplomats, and their role in negotiating or facilitating Italian participation in space cooperation in 1970s-1990s.

The coordinator of the event was Prof. Leopoldo Nuti, an expert on the international history of nuclear energy for civil and military purposes, and the founder of the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. The Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) were a partner of the event and it was their new archival series, European Science Foundation, that prompted this conference spanning the topics of nuclear, foreign policy, science diplomacy, and research policy history. HAEU is directed by InsSciDE advisory board member, Dieter Schlenker, and serves as an InsSciDE partner for expertise on managing interviews and storing strategic archives on European construction history.