About the Science, Health and Engineering and Policy Diplomacy Initiative

Global threats such as infectious disease; climate change; and food, water, and energy scarcity increasingly require science, health and engineering expertise to enhance the resilience of societies and ecosystems. Developing a cohort of early career scientists and applied policy scholars who can apply their expertise to support policy-making is essential to collaboratively engage in science policy and international diplomacy efforts. The Science, Health, and Engineering Policy and Diplomacy Initiative (SPDI) is central to University of Arizona efforts to support scientists and policymakers to work collaboratively and enable, advise and build confidence in science and technology engagement in international affairs. Scientific capacity and cooperation have long been key elements for societies to achieve sustainable economic growth, social development, political stability and ecological resilience. Training students to increase capacity in this vital area is a major goal of this initiative. Ultimately, our aim is to train students to investigate and frame the possibilities of Science Policy and Diplomacy and resolve the complex challenges facing our world. 

Over the past 4 years, our core team has begun this effort with a variety of activities and accomplishments that are summarized below. These activities are primarily outreach to establish our position in the science policy and diplomacy (SPD) community and more meaningfully engage with the major players in the SPD field. We have achieved that initial goal through our science diplomacy conference and collaborations in Iranian SD and their associated publications, our seminar series, and interactions with diplomatic corps, particularly in the Americas. 

The next SPDI development stage is to broaden our exposure and formally begin campus training that includes National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) contacts. We envision organizing an interdisciplinary minor/certificate for UA students among other educational activities. In parallel, working with our SPD partners we will seek to open opportunities for the UA to expand collaborations within the US, the Americas, and the world for training, collaborative research, and service. Our high aspirational goal is to bring students, researchers and policy makers to Tucson in a training and research facility focusing on Food-Energy-Water sustainability and resilience and urban development challenges that face the planet.