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Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia | Finnish Academy of Science and Letters | Academia Scientiarum Fennica

Finnish Academy of Science and Letters takes part in a science diplomacy report

The importance of science diplomacy, i.e. activities that combine science and foreign relations, has become ever more important in the field of international relations. According to a report prepared jointly by Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and Frisky & Anjoy, the coordination of science diplomacy and the dialogue between significant actors in the field of science diplomacy should be strengthened. Science diplomacy promotes international cooperation and solutions to wicked problems that humanity is facing.

To evaluate Finnish science diplomacy, the project collected data through an expert survey, a series of interviews and two workshops gathering both government representatives and members of the research community. The report identifies current challenges and discusses the potential of anticipatory approaches to developing strategic actorness. The report concludes with ten recommendations for strengthening science diplomacy in Finland. 

“Good science diplomacy is a prerequisite for effective, national science advice. This way the most topical and best international research can also be utilized nationally”, sums up Jaakko Kuosmanen, Academy Secretary from the Sofi – Science advice initiative of Finland, coordinated by the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.

Science diplomacy is also a way for Finland to operate larger than its size. In particular, international cooperation on climate change management and the achievement of sustainable development goals are important themes. However, scientific diplomacy must be clear among national actors in order for international influence to be seen credible.

“The goals to be achieved through science diplomacy require networking and an understanding of global ‘hypercompetition’. Small countries compete for strategic effectiveness, which arises from identifying their own strengths and then investing in them”, explains Johanna Ketola, an expert from Finnish Academy of Science and Letters for this project.

Working in the field of science diplomacy comes naturally to the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. “The members of the Academy have promoted the cause really since the establishment. Already in the early days of the Finnish independence, members of the Academy included people who did diplomatic work and built relations abroad for the newborn state. Researchers are often at least part-time diplomats working in their international networks”, says Pekka Aula, Secretary General of the Academy.

The report presents ten recommendations for the development of Finnish science diplomacy:

  1. The concept of scientific diplomacy must be raised in the wide-ranging social debate in Finland.
  1.  It is important that the work defining the future of science diplomacy leads to a concrete target document, strategy or statement.
  1. The design and implementation of science diplomacy guidelines shall make use of existing networks.
  1. Successful science diplomacy requires a new way of thinking and abilities. Science diplomacy needs to be identified as a strategic tool at the individual level in government, the scientific community and private actors. It is important that sufficient joint development events are organized to support training, coaching and networking.
  1. A common platform should be created in Finland, which would bring together national actors interested in science diplomacy.
  1. In addition to formal processes, consideration should be given to separate funding programs and applications to promote science diplomacy, for example in countries with which Finland has official relations.
  1. The operating model of science diplomacy should be open and agile networking. It is important to define the policy areas, partnerships and arenas through which information is sought and influenced.
  1. The goals and objectives of science diplomacy should be linked to both the EU science diplomacy guidelines and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to the extent possible.
  1. The realization of the goals of Finnish science diplomacy must be monitored and evaluated. It is therefore important to create a model for anticipating, monitoring, evaluating and learning science diplomacy.
  1. The above-mentioned development measures should be compiled in a common Roadmap for Enabling Scientific Diplomacy, which describes the more detailed contents of the above-mentioned sections, the parties responsible and the coordination, and the timetables.

The publication is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research. The interviewees in this press release are all authors of the report.

More information: 

Pekka Aula, Secretary General, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. Phone: +358407030952 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Report: Towards an Enabling Science Diplomacy (the abstract available in English on page 5)

Finnish Academy of Science and Letters
Mariankatu 5 A, 2nd floor
00170 Helsinki, Finland

+358-50-4620 890
acadsci (at) acadsci.fi

Secretary General
Pekka Aula
+358-40-7030 952
pekka.aula (at) acadsci.fi  

Administrative Manager
Leila Sarajärvi
+358-50-4620 890
leila.sarajarvi (at) acadsci.fi

Science Communicator
Klaus Elfving
+358 50 5876 527
klaus.elfving (at) acadsci.fi

Administrative Assistant
Nina Rapelo
+358-50-4620 889 
nina.rapelo (at) acadsci.fi

Administrative Secretary
Suvi Salmi
+358-50-5128 830
suvi.salmi (at) acadsci.fi

Academy Secretary, Sofi (Science Advice Initiative of Finland)
Jaakko Kuosmanen
+358-40-0601 716
jaakko.kuosmanen (at) acadsci.fi

Science Communicator, Sofi (Science Advisory Initiative of Finland)
Nanna Särkkä
+358-50-5208 366
nanna.sarkka (at) acadsci.fi