The potential of COST networks for Science Diplomacy

01 Apr 2021 | Network Updates | Update from COST Association
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

As challenges faced by European societies are becoming more interdependent, the need to integrate science knowledge into the global policy, diplomacy and international relations’ landscape has become vital. The topic of science diplomacy is a key concept in this context and looks at harnessing opportunities coming out from open science, internationalisation, and responsible Research and Innovation. COST networks represent great and pertinent environments against this background.

S4D4C Final Networking Meeting

COST has been undertaking multiple initiatives in science diplomacy for more than a year now, and the occasion to participate to the S4D4C Final Networking Meeting was a great opportunity in this process. This one-week event aimed at advancing in the establishment of a lively European and global science diplomacy community while providing its practitioners with additional tools, knowledge, and policy recommendations.

COST’s participation on Friday 19 March

In the morning “Breakfast session”, COST Policy Officer Katalin Alföldi exchanged about the role of COST in the science diplomacy interface and how it actively practices and promotes science diplomacy in the EU and beyond.

“COST builds trust and provides the necessary safety allowing to fail and offering to restart in a low-risk and secure way, creating a fertile breeding ground for the development of much-needed new ideas, approaches and solutions” said  Ms. Alföldi on this occasion.

Participants of this session showed great interest as many questions were raised, looking for example at grasping the added value of the “bottom up” feature of COST and how COST works at connecting its science-led approach projects with policy relevant items.

In the afternoon, the President of the COST Association, Prof. Paulo Ferrão joined the closing ceremony of this event, named “The future of EU science diplomacy and the S4D4C legacy.”

When the question on the coming future in “explicit” science diplomacy was raised, Prof Paulo Ferrão explained that COST will continue to support science diplomacy as a topic, as well as expanding the possibility to tap into the potential of COST Actions as platforms for this purpose. The next COST Open Call will also be inviting proposals contributing to the scientific, technological, economic, cultural or societal knowledge advancement and development of Europe.

COST President underlined the outcome of the COST Global networking survey, conducted last autumn, assessing how science diplomacy was perceived by participants. The majority of respondents agreed that COST served as platforms for science diplomacy. They mentioned examples like

  • access and engagement in activities and bringing otherwise silent voices into the conversation,
  • trust-building towards non-European countries
  • allowing to share critical information to advance science,
  • allowing scientists from countries with potentially different political agendas to collaborate,

Via the creation of the platforms where people and ideas can grow and establish long-lasting global connections, COST keeps linking the different worlds involved in science diplomacy.

Further information 

More about S4D4C: S4D4C Final Networking Meeting (

Read more about COST and Science Diplomacy: Shaping and informing global action – COST puts science diplomacy in practice every day | COST

This article was first published on March 19 by COST.

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