The Foreign Ministries Science & Technology Advice Network (FMSTAN) is a global web of science advisors working within countries’ Foreign Ministries.

It began in February 2016 with a meeting convened by the U.S. Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. This initial meeting involved the four S&T advisors to foreign ministers from Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States along with diplomats from twelve other nations: Chile, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Oman, Panama, Poland, Senegal, South Africa, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

A few months later, Senegal became the next member of FMSTAN. And in 2017, Oman and Poland joined the network. Since then, the network continues to grow and now numbers members from well over 20 countries.

This nascent global network is focusing initially on four areas to articulate the benefits of investing in internal S&T advisory capacity within foreign ministries to more fully complement external capacity:

1) Raising awareness about the importance of enduring S&T advisory capacity in foreign ministries;
2) Sharing best practices and lessons learned in building S&T advisory capacity;
3) Strengthening S&T advisory capacity in foreign ministries; and
4) Coordinating respective S&T diplomacy activities.

S&T advisors to foreign ministries are not necessarily experts on all scientific matters, but they understand science and know where to find the most appropriate expert on any given topic. They have the skills to explain evidence required for informed decision-making about foreign affairs, serving as evidence brokers in our increasingly trans-boundary world with constantly emerging complexities. They utilise their roles as evidence brokers to reveal options that contribute to informed decision-making by nations across the international landscape.

©Science Diplomacy Center, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Photographer: Alison Graham

Membership to the FMSTAN network is by invite only, but select resources developed by the members will be made available to the INGSA network as teaching or advisory tools. See the resources at the bottom of this page.

FMSTAN meetings will generally take place as a side meeting alongside events organised by INGSA’s Special Interest Division on Science Diplomacy – SPIDER. For anyone interested in discussions around Science Diplomacy you are welcome to join SPIDER following the information on the SPIDER page.

For more information on the FMSTAN Science Diplomacy Chapter contact: info@ingsa.org 

 

Meetings:

Upcoming Meeting: Vienna – November 2019

The next meeting of SPIDER/FMSTAN is currently expected to be in Vienna in November 2019, in collaboration with the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IIASA.

More information will be available shortly

 

Muscat, Oman – February 2019

In conjunction with the Ocean Economy & Future Technology Conference 

In collaboration with the International Forum Science and Technology Diplomacy (IFSTD), FMSTAN hosted a vibrant meeting concurrent with the 2019 Ocean Economy & Future Technology Conference to be held in Muscat, Oman from the 11 – 13 February 2019.

The members of FMSTAN also met in a joint session with the SPIDER network to discuss how the two groups can collaborate and drive the global debate around Science Diplomacy. It was a valuable meeting on all fronts and set a strong precedent for future meetings.

 

FMSTAN meeting Nov 2018 – INGSA2018 Conference, Tokyo

The FMSTAN meeting at the #INGSA2018 conference in Tokyo was a more informal affair, bringing together FMSTAN members with relevant stakeholders to discuss the future direction and focus of science diplomacy and continued to outline the work programme for the network.

The meeting was embedded in what was a highly successful conference for INGSA, a conference that attracted a truly global attendance and that further raised the awareness of science diplomacy as a discipline of growing importance.

 

FMSTAN meeting May 2018 – UN CSTD, Geneva

In May, the FMSTAN was invited to host their next meeting in the margins of the 21st session of the UN’s Commission on Science & Technology for Development (CSTD). The 2-day meeting in Geneva brought together representatives from the foreign ministries of 18 countries, as well as important guests from the World Bank, CERN, and CSTD among others, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of Science Diplomacy, the role of science in the SDGs, disruptive technology and transnational advice in emergencies. 

The workshop was widely considered the network’s best and most engaging meeting to date and represents the ongoing growth and value of a high-level group devoted to the role of science and evidence provision in countries’ foreign ministries. 

 

FMSTAN meeting: Tufts University, Talloires – Sept 2017

The 2nd FMSTAN meeting in Talloires, with hosts Tufts University European Centre and the Science Diplomacy Centre, brought together an impressive number of countries foreign ministry’s advisors for a meeting that set the tone and direction for the development of the network. 18 countries were in attendance, for a vibrant and important meeting that coalesced the intention of the network.

 

Background resources:

Below is a short list of resources that give some background to the origins of FMSTAN and the field of Science Diplomacy:

For access to more resources, see the INGSA resources pages.