The Future of EU Science Diplomacy: Conceptual and Strategic Reflections

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Riccardo Trobbiani
Constant Hatenboer

This study seeks to explore the possible developments facing the EU and its role of leadership in a global science diplomacy. Engaging in a foresight analysis, its aim is to provide a reflection on future scenarios and how EU action could influence and operate within them.  The emergence of a clear EU science diplomacy is faced with challenges which are both of a conceptual and material nature. On the one hand, the term remains subject to different interpretations and uses, and its value as a label for science cooperation initiatives is still unclear. On the other hand, unprecedented challenges like climate change require concerted science-based solutions. These seem increasingly harder to achieve in contexts where populist movements discredit scientific evidence as a basis for policy making or where scientific and technological progress is read in a purely competitive way. Within the EU, lack of support for further integration in domains that are not yet communitarised and distance between policy makers and the scientific community risk to nip EU science diplomacy in the bud.