The State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation participated in a symposium about Science diplomacy in London
Last 12th May, the State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation Carmen Vela participated as keynote speaker in an international symposium about science diplomacy and international policy in London.
The symposium, called “Science Diplomacy and International Policy, 19th International Symposium in the Series of Diplomacy in the 21st Century”, was organized by Loughborough University London and the Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance, with the collaboration of the Canadian Science Policy Centre and the London Diplomatic Science Club.
The purpose of the symposium was the debate around practices in science diplomacy by different countries with special attention to the international cooperation to tackle the big societal challenges (climate change, health and ageing, infectious diseases and pandemics, energy sources and sustainability, etc.), to provide scientific advice for policy decision-making, or to the role of scientific collaborations in the resolution of conflicts between countries and regions, among others.
The talk by the State Secretariat for R&D&I started with the projection of a video by Marca España, after which the development of the Spanish System for Science, Technology and Innovation for the last 30 years was highlighted. Next, the State Secretariat listed not only the different agents for Spanish science diplomacy, but also the main milestones reached in this field for the last few years, which are mostly due to the close collaboration between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC)—mainly through the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)—and the State Secretariat for R&D&I (SEIDI)—mainly through the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT).
In this regard, the State Secretariat emphasised the role of FECYT in different areas: first, the support of FECYT to the Spanish scientists abroad, for the establishment of up to 11 scientific associations in different countries; second, the presence of three FECYT international scientific coordinators in the Spanish Embassies in London, Washington and Berlin; and third, the creation of the Science Diplomacy Network in Spain for the organisation of meetings about science, technology and innovation with the foreign embassies in Spain.
Precisely, the counterpart in the United Kingdom to this latter network is the London Diplomatic Science Club, which organized an afternoon session to discuss about the science diplomacy activities developed by different embassies in the United Kingdom. On behalf of the Spanish Embassy in London, its FECYT international scientific coordinator Lorenzo Melchor spoke about its science diplomacy activities such as the launch of the “Science in the Classroom” or “Ambassadors for Science” programmes, roundtables and debates around the history of Spanish science, or workshops about researcher career development and science funding opportunities that are addressed to the scientific community.
In a parallel session, Eduardo Oliver, Research Associate in Imperial College London and Chairman of the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK/CERU), gave a talk about the role of scientists and scientific associations such as SRUK and their impact in science diplomacy and public diplomacy for a country.
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