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Science Diplomacy: New Opportunities for EU-US Cooperation

On 28 September, in Washington, high-level policy-makers, experts, reputable scientists and political advisors discussed the importance of Science Diplomacy and potential new areas of EU-US cooperation. Science Diplomacy ranks highly, from a political point of view, both in Europe and in the US. It needs specific adaptations, acknowledging the different capabilities of different regions, countries, researchers and scientific fields. David O’Sullivan, the Ambassador of the EU to the US, stated that Science Diplomacy was a powerful tool to guide political leaders to complex political decisions, as it combines evidence-based science with foreign diplomacy. He presented the importance of scientific cooperation in the context of little or even no political dialogue, concluding that Science Diplomacy could offer a unique channel of communication amongst nations. The Nobel Laureate Peter Agre, American physician, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, molecular biologist at Johns Hopkins University and former President of the AAAS explained what Science Diplomacy means in practice, highlighting the tremendous success that can be achieved through science cooperation. Three roundtable discussions covered Science Diplomacy in Energy and Health. Key analysis included cultural differences amongst regions and nations. Competitiveness was mentioned as potential difficulty in the way of scientific cooperation. However, certain grand societal challenges can only be tackled at international level, e.g. The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). The event was organised within the EU-funded BILAT USA 2.0 project. Dan Hamilton, Executive Director of the SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations, and Olaf Heilmayer, coordinator of the BILAT USA 2.0 project, opened the conference.

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This article was published in the October 2015 issue of the International Research newsletter.

Photo, from left to right: Key note speakers David O’Sullivan and Peter Agre with Dan Hamilton (photo courtesy of DLR – International Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (IB)).