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EU Sci Dip Cluster at SDG Bergen Workshop

SDG Bergen kicked off their international conference in February with a day dedicated to science diplomacy and its future, including speakers from the EU Science Diplomacy Cluster InsSciDE and S4D4C. Researchers from the University of Bergen listened to science diplomacy experts share advice and guidance on bringing science closer to the forefront of political issues. The workshop, titled Science Diplomacy in the Age of the SDGs, was hosted at the University of Bergen.

InsSciDE was represented at the workshop by Rasmus Bertelsen of Universitet i Tromso. Introducing the project and describing his own role of developing the concept of Power with Science Diplomacy, he emphasized the importance of mobility in the real-life practice of science diplomacy and urged practitioners to venture beyond their own state’s thinking in their science-policy processes. He described how ‘strategic’ and ‘tactical’ mobility can help achieve goals, respectively defining them to include ’education, research, languages; how to be able to contribute very precisely to the specific challenge in the call text for science advice’ and ’being in the right place at the right time’.

Ramus is the director of InsSciDE’s Warsaw Science Diplomacy School, where trainees will have the opportunity to employ theories and strategies derived from historical case studies to develop action plans and policy for the global challenges of today. Applications are open 1-31 March!

Our ‘sister project’ S4D4C was represented by Lorenzo Melchor who detailed his career journey from a cancer genetics researcher to a science diplomat in Spain, one of Europe’s most active science diplomacy hubs. S4D4C created the Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy and like InsSciDE, the H2020 project feeds strategies and best practices relevant to a range of stakeholders to the EU Commission.

Other presentations addressed underlying aspects of science communication and advice in policy, highlighting the various complexities involved in fostering and facilitating cooperation between scientists and decision-makers. Jeroen van der Sluijs brought attention to the inevitable effects of values, conventions and preferences on science advice, sharing findings from the report Making Sense of Science for policy under conditions of complexity and uncertainty (MASOS). He addressed the issue of having a supply but not necessarily a demand for science advice and called on the scientific community to take action towards putting it on the agenda. Hakan Sicakkan drew on experience from three EU-supported projects, with his latest project PROTECT focusing on migration and refugee issues, to describe how policy-makers prioritize the scientific information available to them. He indicated that governments tend to be acutely aware of scientific research but argued that their ‘policy choices have to depend more on citizens’ perceptions and preferences than on what comes out of research’.

Before closing the workshop, SDG Bergen took the opportunity to introduce a new series of policy briefs being launched this spring. The policy briefs will deliver guidance on communicating science advice in the contexts of the Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative will strive to create concrete and accessible direction for policy-makers that addresses all 17 SDGs, building on the important dialogues that occur in workshops like this one.

Pictured above: Lorenzo Melchor of S4D4C

All photos by Eivind Senneset, UiB

Posted 27 February 2020

Science Diplomacy in the Age of the SDGs
Organized by: SDG Bergen, University of Bergen

InsSciDE was represented by Rasmus Bertelsen, leader of our work package on Power with Science Diplomacy.