European societies face a number of increasingly urgent and complex challenges. These challenges are becoming more interdependent and global in nature. The EU plays a leading role in addressing these global challenges.

Global challenges require coordinated international efforts, which makes them central to foreign policy. In addition to diplomatic skills needed to balance interests and capacities of actors, there is also a need for greater expertise and, more concretely, scientific knowledge. Diplomats cannot be expected to have or to easily obtain this knowledge, even less so in today’s dynamic research and innovation systems. For the most part, they have to rely on scientific advice. However, communication between the scientific and diplomatic communities is not straightforward. The models, processes and resources for this sort of scientific advice are also not yet systematically available.

There is potential for better harnessing European science and science cooperation for European science diplomacy and foreign policy goals, both at EU and MS level. Not only can new approaches for scientific advice in EU foreign policy benefit from advances in research (e.g. new climate models), but novel ways of carrying out research can also offer opportunities for foreign policy impact. Science diplomats can make use of these opportunities, including aspects of open science, internationalisation, and Responsible Research and Innovation. In the current political and societal landscape, the needs, interests and opportunities pertaining to science diplomacy have increased. The S4D4C project aims to ensure that the needs are understood and that the opportunities are effectively communicated into EU policies to address future challenges.