Newsletter 6/2010

Science as diplomacy of trust

The 4th Forum on the Internationalisation of Sciences and Humanities was held in Berlin at the invitation of the Humboldt Foundation’s International Advisory Board.

Kerri-Ann Jones holds the opening speech in Berlin
Kerri-Ann Jones
holds the opening speech in Berlin
Photo: Bildschoen/Tom Maelsa

“Crossing Boundaries: Capacity Building in Global Perspective” was the title of the October forum at which four panels of leading academics and science managers from home and abroad discussed the situation of the individual researcher on the global research market. Against the backdrop of the ongoing internationalisation of science and research and the ever more intense global competition for the best minds the forum discussed the potential for creating networks of trust, and conducting and promoting science as a diplomacy of trust. Amongst the issues that warranted particular focus were how scientific findings can be conveyed more effectively into the political arena and incorporated in political decision-making and the role institutional research funding and international academic exchange can play in this process.

The conference welcomed Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, as a special guest of honour this year. In her opening speech, Kerri-Ann Jones emphasised that it was essential to ensure that science and individual scientists could make their voices heard more clearly in the political arena.

The International Advisory Board is an independent, international group of experts that advises the Humboldt Foundation on strategic issues. The Board addresses themes relating to researcher mobility and internationalisation. The establishment of the Forum on the Internationalisation of Sciences and Humanities has created a platform for debating current research policy issues.

The most important discussion points and recommendations of the Forum are released for publication. Documentation of the events held in previous years on “Strategies to Win the Best: German Approaches in International Perspective” (2008) and “Cultures of Creativity: The Challenge of Scientific Innovation in Transnational Perspective” (2009) are already available online or can be obtained from the Foundation directly.