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Simone Turchetti writes on NATO’s Science Committee and UK Environmentalism

Simone Turchetti is a historian of science interested in recent developments in science and technology, especially in connection with the emergence of ‘big science’ and the development of international relations. For InsSciDE, Turchetti will perform a case study on NATO, and supervise other work being generated under the project’s environmental theme (Work Package 7)

Simone Turchetti, the representative of the University of Manchester in the InsSciDE consortium, has published two articles relating to science diplomacy and the InsSciDE project. His two articles provide insights into NATO and UK environmental politics, and reveal a rich literature in science diplomacy that may be explored in greater detail in the InsSciDE project.

In ’Diplomacy by other means? NATO’s science sixty years on,’ Turchetti outlines the history and development of NATO’s current Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, tracing it to NATO’s previous ’Science Committee’, 60 years after the Committee’s establishment.

The Alliance’s initial sponsorship of science constituted efforts to "establish a constructive dialogue" between national delegations, an example of science diplomacy being used in practice before the term had been coined in political discourse.

The progamme was a "multi-layered scheme" that supported research fellowships, lecture-driven seminars, and research grants for innovative projects. Turchetti explores how the committee and its priorities developed in the decades that followed, and the challenges that it faced to its mandate.

In ’The UK government’s environmentalism: Britain, NATO and the origins of environmental diplomacy,’ Turchetti writes on the UK government’s attitudes towards international environmental affairs, and the development of the country’s approach to dealing with environmental threats. Turchetti argues that it was the emergence of environmental diplomacy at NATO that "paved the way to the elaboration of British stances on international environmental politics," and the UK’s environmental approach was rooted in "diplomatic pragmatism" - its decisions came out of "the specific diplomacy game that they were then busy playing", rather than ethical or principled reasoning.