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The UK needs to beef up its science diplomacy

Covid-19 and Brexit make boosting network of attachés crucial, say Chris Tyler and Jean-Christophe Mauduit

The science and innovation network is a little-known but crucial arm of the UK’s science diplomacy strategy. Its staff, the SIN officers—affectionately known as sinners—are science attachés scattered around the world who represent the UK’s international interests in science and innovation.

There are roughly 100 sinners worldwide; the UK needs more. A strong domestic research and innovation system is crucial for economic growth and geopolitical influence. But these days, domestic systems do not operate in isolation. That applies to competition for talent, investment and influence, and to collaboration on solving global problems, such as Covid-19.

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