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About the Royal Society

Science as a diplomatic tool

12 January 2010

The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, has today published a report which investigates the valuable role that science can play in international policy making and diplomacy. Findings are based on evidence gathered at a two-day meeting on ‘New frontiers in science diplomacy’, hosted by the Royal Society in partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The report argues that the scientific values of rationality, transparency and universality are the same the world over and so can be used to underpin good governance and build trust betwen nations. Science provides a non-ideological environment for the particiapation and free exchange of ideas between people, regardless of cultural, national or religous backgrounds.

Discussions at the meetinghighlighted the role of science, technology and innovation in three dimensions of policy: informing foreign policy objectives with scientific advice; facilitating international science cooperation; and using science cooperation to improve international relations between countries.

The report points to flaship international projects such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) as examples of where scientific collaboration has led the way for international diplomacy and policy.

Three immeditate areas of opportunity for science diplomacy are highlighted in the report: new scientific partnerships with the Middle East and wider Islamic world; confidence building and nuclear disarmament; and Governance of international spaces.

Read the full report here.