Science Diplomacy for a New World (Dis)Order

Foreign Science Policy

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has published a position paper on the further development of German foreign science policy in response to the massive upheavals in world politics. In it, the DAAD argues for the design and expansion of a "science diplomacy" based on realpolitik, which consciously confronts global crises, dislocations and system rivalries.


"The tasks and challenges of German foreign science policy have increased again since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. We live in a new 'world disorder', and this requires a novel approach to shaping the foreign science policy relations of the Federal Republic of Germany. In our multipolar world, we need today more than ever a strategically positioned 'science diplomacy' that enables understanding, dialogue and negotiation of conflicts in the scientific sphere, even in times of increasing conflicts and fierce global competition. A science diplomacy for the 2020s must also take risks into account, define Germany's interests and represent them in a spirit of dialogue and partnership," said DAAD President Prof. Dr Joybrato Mukherjee. 

In the new world disorder, it is important for all institutions of German foreign science policy to stand up for democratic values, to assume responsibility and to further develop the instruments of science diplomacy. The position paper presented by the DAAD is therefore also an offer to federal and state politicians, universities, and science organisations for a joint design of a science diplomacy based on realpolitik.

Foreign Science Policy for a Multipolar World

Under the title "Foreign Science Policy for a Multipolar World: System Rivalry, Confrontation and Global Crises", the DAAD paper identifies five principles for the further development of German science diplomacy after the "turning point" of 24 February. It proposes a value-based, responsibility-oriented, interest-driven, regionally differentiated and risk-reflective foreign science policy. Such a foreign science policy, it argues, is essential in the current phase of global systemic disputes for science to bring together and mobilise a global community of responsibility to solve the planetary challenges of the Anthropocene. A science diplomacy based on the five principles would enable negotiations of academic, scientific and science policy positions between partner institutions or competitors even in times of increasing global conflicts. The DAAD had already presented the first ideas for such a real foreign science policy in October 2021.

For scientific progress and redeeming German interests

"We are facing immense challenges in science diplomacy, which are imposed on it due to developments in power politics that are foreign to science. However, if wisely developed, it can have a far-reaching effect today and in the future to enable civil society dialogue, scientific progress and sustainable development of society and the economy, and to contribute to redeeming German interests. We in Germany must jointly seize the opportunity to further develop science diplomacy in this way," continued DAAD President Mukherjee.



DAAD - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Exchange Service