CAS TWAS Science Diplomacy: “Nowadays the challenges for science and technology are more and more globalized, and these common problems require scientific exchanges and cooperation in various forms.” – Xi Jinping

As the globalization of science and technology (S&T) is escalating, policy makers around the world are looking for fresh approach to shape and influence its dynamics. In recent times, these efforts have drawn attention on Science Diplomacy – hereafter SD: enabling international scientific research affiliation and influence foreign policies with scientific advice and evidence. SD is considered by most developed countries with advance economy as an initiative and tool that cultivate international relations in the fields of science, technology, innovation and education.

The most important benefits of SD include the prospect to promote the domestic scientific environment in foreign countries at the same time advancing an additional foreign policy instrument. Through SD as a foreign policy instrument, international scientific relationships can have stabilizing effects for countries with conflicting ideologies and political systems. Additionally, the scientific constituent of new global challenges, such as climate change, cyber security, food security, sustainable development, demographical transformation and energy etc.

In the present days, the need for SD is growing worldwide, so as in People’s Republic of China. The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) – the national academy of PRC, functioning as the national scientific think tank and academic governing body, providing advisory and appraisal services on issues stemming from the national economy, social development, and science and technology progress.

CAS is the world’s largest scientific and research organization comprising over 114 research institutes, and has been consistently ranked first among research institutes around the world. Whereas, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) is merit-based science academy located on the premises of the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), connecting more than 1,000 scientists in some 70 countries.

TWAS was founded in 1983 under the leadership of the Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam of Pakistan by a group of distinguished scientists who were determined to do something about the dismal state of scientific research in developing countries with the principal aim to promote scientific capacity and excellence for sustainable development in the South.

In collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) is leading different programs to build a bridge between the worlds of science, technology and diplomacy. Currently, five centers of excellence organized by the CAS and TWAS are offering significant opportunity for researchers/scholar from the developing countries to study, train and work in top Beijing-based laboratories.

  1. The CAS-TWAS Center of Excellence for Biotechnology (CoEBio)
  2. The CAS-TWAS Center of Excellence for Water and Environment (CEWE)
  3. The CAS-TWAS Center of Excellence for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES)
  4. The CAS-TWAS Center of Excellence for Green Technology (CEGT)
  5. The CAS-TWAS Center of Excellence on Space Science for Disaster Mitigation (SDIM)

Similarly, the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), under the jurisdiction of the CAS is regarded as the “Cradle of Scientific Elites” – one of the most important innovation centers and mushroom place for SD. USTC actively participate in international cooperation in various ways. It is engage in joint research and educational activities with internationally acclaimed organizations such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the Max Planck Society, Oxford University, Heidelberg University, Stanford University, MIT, Berkeley, and Yale University, etc. USTC is also member of several important international networks, including the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and Association of East Asian Research Universities.

Presently, USTC is headed by number of renowned professors in the fields of S&T and approximately 18,000 national and international students are studying and executing research work in different departments, institutes and laboratories. USTC commits itself to nurturing the growth of S&T by adhering to a pedagogical philosophy which integrates teaching with research and theory with practice.

The university places great emphasis on training domestic and foreign students with the basic theoretical knowledge, intellectual skills and scientific research capabilities practical for future leadership role in their respective country’s development.

USTC is not only trying hard to promote international academic exchange and scientific research cooperation via SD but also, maintain effective techniques for ornamental education. Through CAS-TWAS SD, USTC strategically accomplishing its mission: “To Build a Global University and Educate the Brilliant of the World.”

About the Author: Mirza A.A. Baig is CAS-TWAS President’s Fellow at USTC.