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WP1 - Europe and European Praxis in Cultural and Science Diplomacy in Comparative Perspective

With the aim of determining how to define, comprehend and conceptualise cultural and science diplomacy for use in the 21st century, Work Package 1 offers a detailed elaboration of the concepts of cultural and science diplomacy and the nature of European activity and engagement in these domains to date.


WP1 identifies how science and cultural diplomacy can play a role in addressing contemporary global and societal challenges and especially the opportunities and constraints faced by global and regional scientific and cultural cooperation in meeting these challenges. More directly, it identifies how science and cultural diplomacy contributes to Europe’s standing as an international actor.


A crucial element of WP1 is its comparative methodology by which Europe’s role is compared with that of the other leading powers, particularly the US and China. This context, especially the impact of the economic crisis, the changing patterns in the global distribution of power and increased scepticism toward the European project place contradictory demands on EU foreign policy making in all domains. Demands for greater coherence in EU foreign policy, captured in the creation of the EEAS, confronts national desires (and not just in the UK) to retain or claw back national controls on policy. In this context, detailed analysis, proposed by this work package, of the opportunities and challenges of enhanced coordination in both cultural and science diplomacy between the EU, its members and their extra-European partners takes on a public policy significance normally attributed to science culture.


The specific aims of this WP are:


  1. To provide a working conceptualisation of cultural and science diplomacy for the 21st century.

  2. To compare the practices and processes of science diplomacy and cultural relations between regions and states and to contribute to both the academic and practical understanding.

  3. To analyse the historical and institutional dimensions of European diplomacy and how science and cultural diplomacy fits into the evolution of the EU as a modern diplomatic actor.

  4. To examine the role of the EEAS in cultural and science diplomacy and especially the degree to which it has given rise to a new dynamic in the conduct of this diplomacy. It will be investigated whether exogenous changes are pushing towards a greater coherence of EU foreign policy or towards re-nationalisation.

  5. To understand the EU’s capacity to be a leader in the fields of science cooperation and diplomacy and cultural relations. To do this, the EU’s challenges, opportunities and the comparative advantage to be gained from enhanced cooperation in CSD will be identified and analysed.

  6. To compare EU with American and Chinese cultural and science diplomacy overtime and in the contemporary era.

  7. To review science and cultural diplomacy as a vehicle for developing the EU's external relations.


The WP1 work is undertaken by the VUB.

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