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WP3. Science Diplomats

International scientific cooperation, initially between individuals and then increasingly via congresses (Rasmussen, 1990) or joint publications (Shapin, 1995), has been one of the cements of a European knowledge space (Schroeder-Gudehus, 1990). The Academies of Sciences had international influence mainly through interpersonal ties (Fox, 2012), or close exchanges (Schroeder-Gudehus, 1978; Crosland, 1995).

The 18th and especially the 19th century saw a tradition of international exchanges among European engineers (Deicer, 1995). Sweden founded an Academy of Engineers in 1919 (Frängsmyr, 1989) but in other countries Academies of Technology arose closer to the turn of the 20th century from processes that, in the UK or France, took respectively three or two decades (Fischer, 2005; Griset & Greffe, 2015).

At national level, the most outstanding achievements in science diplomacy are found in countries with the highest scientific output (Berg, 2010; Flink & Schreiterer, 2010). Gradually, embassies have professionalized the role of Science, Technology and Innovation Counselors and Attachés (Ruffini, 2017). Very few investigations have explored and analyzed this process (Sunami et al., 2013; Wisard, 2010). Very little is known of the formal and informal networks created among the envoys of each Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and also between the attachés representing their various nations in a single foreign capital.

Academies of Science (Daston, 1998) or of Technology, and embassy Counselors or Attachés are the carriers of Europe’s intangible capital for science diplomacy. InsSciDE will study the evolution of these spaces and networks as a process of construction embracing the creation and development of institutions, but also the slow elaboration – through practice and experience – of savoir-faire and methods (Golinski, 1998).

We will also bring into view the elaboration of a European scientific culture (Gillispie, 1960) articulating both ethical principles and practices of negociation and influence, across polarities such as: disinterested science vs. mercantile technology; science for peace vs. technology for war; science for cooperation vs. technology for competition. This joining of issues generates multiple tensions, linked for instance to the conflict between national interest and universalism (Crawford et al., 1993; Somsen, 2008), which both construct and destabilize science diplomacy and may converge to an opposition between a science perceived as ’pure’ vs. a ’useful’ diplomacy aimed solely at forwarding the specific interests of States and their enterprises.

WP3 examines the conditions of these emerging identities, organizations and networks, analyzes their intervention and impact in science diplomacy at European and international level, informs the thematic WP4-8, and opens prospective reflection with the practitioners.

Case Studies

WP3 will contribute several case studies to InsSciDE’s library of cases. Find out more about these case studies by exploring WP3’s case study pitches.