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Boston science diplomacy report maps another tech and innovation hub

Published on 25 June 2019
Updated on 04 May 2024

The practice of diplomacy is changing. Unlike some years ago, it now involves new actors and subjects. These changes have necessarily created new ways of interactions. Governments, the private sector, academia, and the science community all have a need to work together. New areas, like science diplomacy, are on the rise, especially in the last ten years.

Diplo’s report examining how countries interact with the tech sector in the San Francisco Bay Area was published one year ago. Numerous diplomats and science diplomacy practitioners have inquired about following up with reports on other science and technological hubs. We set out to identify a new city or region which would not only be useful and interesting to map, but would also explore other science and technology sectors.

Working in partnership with the Center for Science Diplomacy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), we searched for somewhere not only with strong academic roots and a rich scientific environment, but also where the trajectory of developments is on the rise. Somewhere not only with a long tradition of diplomatic representation, but also attracting an increasing number of new consulates.

We chose Boston, Massachusetts.

Boston is the historic centre of academia in the United States, and since the latter half of the 20th century, it has developed into one of the country’s main science and innovation hubs. More and more governments are choosing to expand their existing outposts in the city, while others have made the decision to establish a Boston presence in an effort to help ensure their future prosperity and stability, and to anticipate the policy implications of the latest science, technology, and innovation (STI) developments.

In our report on science and diplomacy in Boston, we have mapped the overall landscape of consular and other representations, and their variety currently in place, and look into how diplomacy interacts with the Boston STI ecosystem. The publication looks into the types of work done and outlines how results, successes, and failures are measured by various players. It also identifies possible areas for development and training, and provides a listing of thoughtful recommendations that any (particularly developing) country looking to set-up shop in Boston should find useful.

The report, ‘Science & Diplomacy: How countries interact with the Boston innovation ecosystem’ – a joint work of DiploFoundation and the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy was released on 25 June at swissnex Boston, and was followed up by a round-table discussion on 27 June at the AAAS.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

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