Panel 13 (Schueller, Conlé)

The Role of Science Diplomacy in Sustainable Research Cooperation with China

Panel organizers

Dr. Margot Schüller (German Institute for Global and Area Studies, GIGA)
Dr. Marcus Conlé (Research project WIKOOP-INFRA at DESY)



Panel abstract

This panel focuses on the changing concept of science diplomacy (SD) in the last few decades and its impact on Germany’s research cooperation with China. Based on the assumption that there is a mutually beneficial relationship between science and diplomacy, the original SD concept was designed as an instrument for achieving various policy objectives: 1) Science for diplomacy is expected to improve international relations between countries, while scientific collaboration produces positive externalities in non-scientific fields that can help to reduce political tensions between countries; 2) Diplomacy for science entails the promotion of international science cooperation, which is seen as a tool for dealing with cross-border challenges such as climate change or pandemics; 3) Science in diplomacy refers to the provision of expert advice regarding foreign policy, thus helping diplomacy.

Contrary to the normative concept, and based on empirical research into relevant (public) actors’ SD strategies, another taxonomy was developed that focuses on three core approaches: 1) gaining access to overseas resources such as talent, knowledge and finances; 2) promoting the country’s higher education (HE) as well as science, technology and innovation (STI); and, 3) exercising influence over other actors via HE and STI. These approaches reveal that national interest and competition over resources play important roles in SD strategies.

We apply the above concepts to the science cooperation between Germany and China focusing on the role of scientists and science organizations in SD, the interactions between scientists and diplomats, on SD in comparative perspective, focusing particularly on Chinese approaches, the impact of geopolitics on the conceptual understandings and objectives of SD and on empirical cases of SD in Sino-German research cooperation.

Four panelists will present papers that focus on the following questions :

  1. What impact has Germany’s feminist and value-based foreign policy approach had on the country’s SD strategies vis-à-vis China?
  2. What additional policies and measures are needed to achieve mutually beneficial scientific cooperation with China regarding large analytical research infrastructure?
  3. What is the practitioner’s view of how to build trust and transparency in science cooperation with China? 4) What are China’s own SD strategies, concepts and policies?

Paper submission

If you want to participate in this panel, please submit your paper proposal here.

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