A major role of Scientific Diplomacy is to improve international relations through scientific interactions between countries. We have just held the Conference of the UK Science and Innovation Network in London and there were many discussions on Scientific Diplomacy. A highlight of the meeting was the emerging activity of “Scientific Digital Diplomacy”. From our point of view, this involves exploiting modern digital communication methods such as social network sites, video and blogs to communicate the excellence and collaborative aspects of UK science.
With the S&I Network based in 25 countries this is an excellent cost-effective method to communicate UK science to the younger generation around the world who are so familiar with digital communication. Furthermore, since the digital world itself was created by scientific discoveries this gives such activities even more relevance.
At the conference I learned about the innovative digital contributions from S&I officers in many countries. Nicole Arbour (Ottawa) has been prominent through her FCO blog and interviews of top UK scientists in podcasts and video – the photo below from the Conference shows one of her slides emphasising the GREAT campaign. Others from the Network such as Otakar Fojt (Prague), Hazel Gibson (Stockholm), Adee Matin (Tel Aviv), Kevin Knappet (Tokyo) and Elizabeth Wallace (Berne) also described their recent digital publications and communications.
With the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen and the Olympics putting the UK in the spotlight this year, look out for many more contributions in scientific digital diplomacy from the S&I Network.