Panel discussion: Using Science Diplomacy as a powerful instrument to foster European-African cooperation



Using Science Diplomacy as a powerful instrument to foster European-African cooperation

Panel discussion

Side Event to the AU-EU Summit 2022


Science can play an important role in providing a basis for political decisions and can build bridges between science, society and politics – including science policy and development policy. The COVID-19 pandemic made this very clear to us: never before had so many research activities to be mobilized internationally so quickly, which became the basis for international political action. Science diplomacy`s (SD) potential as a tool for Africa has not been widely raised so far. Many African countries have made significant progress toward meeting some of their ambitious objectives for development and political integration, the need remains to further progress the link between science interacting with diplomacy. Science diplomacy should, therefore, be recognized as a priority in shaping continental as well as national policy and development agendas. Science Diplomacy in Europe, on the other hand, has been on the rise over that last few years. It already plays a role in the new EU Global Approach and the Global Gateway Initiative of the European Commission.


The EU-AU Summit in February will be the occasion for raising awareness of SD’s potential in overcoming political tensions and to cast a light on it in the future cooperation of the two continents. The DLR Projektträger, active member of the EU Science Diplomacy Alliance, is therefore gathering policy-makers, scientists and stakeholders for an interactive exchange on the following questions:


  • How can Science Diplomacy be strategically implemented in African countries and the continent?
  • How can Science Diplomacy help to address the challenges posed by the endeavour to enable a sustainable and green African and European development while addressing the SDGs?
  • How can Science Diplomacy support the development of the AU-EU partnership?


Confirmed speakers:

  • Daan du Toit, Deputy Director-General: International Cooperation and Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Republic of South Africa
  • Christina Russo, Director for Global Approach & International Cooperation, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Honorary Professor at IHES; member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence Programme (ARISE)
  • Hambani Masheleni, Ag. Head of the Division for Science and Technology, African Union Commission
  • Nienke Buisman, Head of Unit, Global Approach & International Cooperation in R&I, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Mobolaji Oladoyin Odubanjo, Chair of INGSA African Chapter, Nigerian Academy of Science

The session is part of the European Union-African Union Summit, Science and Innovation side events, organised by the AERAP Africa-Europe Science Collaboration Platform with the aim to promote awareness of the contribution of collaborative research and development as a critical aspect of European-African relations and collaborations, in particular in addressing global challenges together.


More information and registration via the conference website