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See detailLifting the smokescreen of science diplomacy:comparing the political instrumentation of scienceand innovation centres
Epping, Elisabeth UL

in Humanities and Social Sciences Communications (2020), 7(111),

The notion of science diplomacy (SD) has increasingly gained momentum in recent years, however, it remains an empirically largely underexplored topic. This paper contributes to the study of SD by taking ... [more ▼]

The notion of science diplomacy (SD) has increasingly gained momentum in recent years, however, it remains an empirically largely underexplored topic. This paper contributes to the study of SD by taking an instrument-centred perspective and focusses on science and innovation centres (SIC), a novel policy instrument in the science diplomacy toolbox. SIC are distinct units or satellite institutes, established by governments abroad, operating at the nexus of higher education, research, innovation, and diplomacy. Based on a comparative analysis, this article examines the rise of SIC in Germany and Switzerland. By means of applying a policy instrumentation lens, the career and development of the two SIC is retraced and insights are generated into their political instrumentation. Doing so contributes to unfold the blackbox of what is generally labelled as SD. In-depth interviews and analysis serve as the empirical foundation of this study. Ultimately, the results of this policy instrument study uncover the similarities and differences in SIC development and reveal their political instrumentation over time. It becomes evident that the objectives linked to SIC, and hence SD, are clearly motivated by national needs. Furthermore, notions of SD are reflective of a certain Zeitgeist that is mirrored in the design of an overall, new, policy yet also marks a relabelling of long-existing practices. This study, accordingly, contributes to the knowledge base of SD as it enhances the scholarly understanding of SD instruments in terms of history, actors and political instrumentation while also offering a theoretical anchoring. [less ▲]

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