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Contemporary debates about Global Health Diplomacy often oppose ’sanitary diplomacy’ – conducted by states based on national interest– and ’world health diplomacy’ – conducted by a transnational body with a global and humanitarian orientation (Irwin & Pearcey 2013). This tends to polarize the actors engaged in health cooperation: experts (mostly physicians) vs. diplomats (both historically male-dominated professions); local actors vs. global actors; local issues vs. global issues, and so on. Such binary oppositions, we propose, misrepresent the coproduced (Jasanoff 2004) nature of science and society, and get in the way of effective joint action in health diplomacy. In contrast, InsSciDE understands ‘health diplomacy’ to include global health and science diplomacy, epidemics diplomacy, and sanitary diplomacy, thus covering multiple communities of action across public health, medicine, scientific research, laboratories, and policymakers. We move beyond the state of the art by including also economic actors in our analyses, e.g. pharmaceutical companies, actors in the therapeutic materials market and medical technology manufacturers.

Building on a long European history of science-based health diplomacy, and taking into account political challenges to humanitarian foreign and health policies seen in Europe today, WP5 seeks to produce applicable knowledge for the sake of improved scientific cooperation in matters of health. We will show how health diplomacy forms an invaluable but little known platform on which state actors, EU institutions, international organizations and civil society can together strengthen Europe.