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On December 22, 2020, an online conference on the new horizons of Russia’s science diplomacy was held at the International Multimedia Press Center MIA "Rossiya Segodnya" (Russia Today). The presentation of RIAC report on the same topic was held within the framework of the conference.

On December 22, 2020, an online conference on the new horizons of Russia’s science diplomacy was held at the International Multimedia Press Center MIA "Rossiya Segodnya" (Russia Today). The presentation of RIAC report on the same topic was held within the framework of the conference.

The conference was attended by: Andrey Kortunov, RIAC Director General; Professor Gulnara Krasnova, Head of the Team of Authors of the Report on the New Horizons of Russia’s Science Diplomacy, Chief Researcher at RANEPA; Viktor Smirnov, Deputy Director, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation; Pavel Shevtsov, Deputy Head of Rossotrudnichestvo; Aidar Aganin, Deputy Director of the Foreign Policy Planning Department at MFA of Russia; Andrei Blinov, Deputy Director General, Russian Science Foundation.

Andrey Kortunov, RIAC Director General, addressed the conference participants with a welcoming speech, in which he underscored the importance and relevance of the published report, and also raised the question of how to increase the effectiveness of international scientific cooperation in the new conditions, and what formats of interaction can be efficient.

Gulnara Krasnova, Professor, Chief Researcher at RANEPA, Head of the Team of Authors of the Report, made a presentation of the report on the new horizons of Russia’s science diplomacy. RIAC report focuses on the phenomenon of science diplomacy, formulated conceptually and institutionally in the 21st century. Science diplomacy is characterized by the advancement of new, mainly non-state actors to the world stage, as well as by the intensive interplay of scientific research and diplomatic practices. The authors of the report analyzed foreign examples of science diplomacy tools, and also summarized domestic experience in this area. In addition, specific proposals and recommendations were made for the development of science diplomacy in Russia. In particular, the authors proposed to prepare a joint report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and to restart the work of Scientific Advisory Councils. Another proposal was made regarding the creation of a common platform for professional diplomats and scientists, launching program initiatives, qualification enhancement courses, professional retraining and elective courses in the field of science diplomacy. Gulnara Krasnova pointed out that science diplomacy goes beyond the framework of international scientific cooperation, since it affects the interests that can serve to achieve foreign policy goals.

Representatives of ministries and departments took part in the discussion following the presentation of the report. According to Viktor Smirnov, Deputy Director, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, there is now a temporary decline in the level of international scientific and technical cooperation. This is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Viktor Smirnov noted that one of the key goals of science diplomacy is to achieve international agreements for the successful implementation of scientific cooperation and attracting international investment, and the task of the officials is to provide opportunities for further interaction and to support scientists. Pavel Shevtsov, Deputy Head of Rossotrudnichestvo, noted that there is no unified center for decision-making and data collection that would deal with issues of international scientific cooperation. Creating such a center would help accumulate the activity of scientists, and Rossotrudnichestvo could support them through the existing partner network.

Aidar Aganin, Deputy Director of the Foreign Policy Planning Department at MFA of Russia, drew attention to the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping to promote science and cooperation between scientists. At the same time, it should be understood that the Ministry cannot provide for the scientific content of these contacts, since this is the responsibility of the academic community. The Science and Technology Attaché is a viable framework, but it is important to find appropriate candidates and have everything institutionalized before the attaché reaches out to a foreign mission. Andrei Blinov, Deputy Director General, Russian Science Foundation, listed the support of scientific research, studying the experience of foreign foundations, as well as involving Russian scientific diaspora in research in Russia among the most important tasks of the foreign policy. At the same time, Andrei Blinov underscored the fact that it is important not to pursue the internationalization of scientific projects and quantitative indicators, but to support the qualitative improvement of Russian science.

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