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icono de curso

Science Diplomacy


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




When nations come together to negotiate cooperative agreements on fisheries management or infectious disease monitoring, they need scientific expertise. When scientists come together for complex multi-national projects in astronomy or physics, their nations devise diplomatic agreements on management and financing. And when political relations between two nations are strained or broken, joint scientific research efforts can give them a way to keep talking – and to build trust. These processes represent the acknowledgment that the transboundary challenges we face required evidence-based solutions that could only be achieved by first, the strengthening of the science-policy nexus and second, the advancement of international diplomatic and science cooperation. This understanding of world affairs lies at the core of what national governments have been practicing for years: science diplomacy. While its conceptualization is relatively new, it is generally agreed that science diplomacy encompasses three different dimensions that have been described as ‘building blocks’ of the global agenda bridging science and diplomacy. This include not only Science in Diplomacy, in which science plays a role by informing and advising foreign policy, and Diplomacy for Science, encompassing those international efforts to further international scientific cooperation, clear examples embodied by the IPCC, but also Science for Diplomacy, where international science cooperation plays a role in improving tensioned governmental relations and strengthening global governance mechanisms. These interactions are multidimensional and reinforced with one another, many times being umbrella terms for diverse diplomatic and international science cooperation strategies. Today, the need for science diplomacy is growing. From climate change, to global health, cybersecurity, or poverty relief, all our most pressing current challenges require more effective partnerships between scientists, engineers, policymakers and diplomats.

This subject comprehensively explores the emerging field of Science Diplomacy. Sessions are structured in three main blocks. The first block introduces the main approaches to science diplomacy; the role that science diplomacy has in advancing peace and research worldwide and several national strategies on science diplomacy. The second block is centered in two sessions that deal with professional skills in Science Diplomacy. This block will be devoted to the relationships between policymakers and scientists, briefing papers, and negotiation skills for science diplomacy. The third focuses on specific substantive case studies on science diplomacy, from climate change to global health and the emergence of technology diplomacy. Moreover, at the end of the course, students will be taking part in a roleplay simulation on science diplomacy.


  • Active Participation (10%)
  • Class Presentation (25%)
  • Briefing paper and role-play simulation (25%)
  • Final Essay (40%)