Cooperation in Science in a Multilateral World

Falling Walls Circle Tables are lending the spotlight to world-leading scientists, science strategists and policy-makers from academia, business and politics discuss how we can apply science, research and innovation to get the world moving again.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made clear the vital importance of both science and international diplomacy. But we have simultaneously seen that science doesn’t always affect policy or international cooperation.

The coronavirus is just one symptom of broader challenges: from global health to environmental destruction. The hope is that the last months will teach us valuable lessons for other crises, ensuring that scientists have seats at the table, while forging collaborations between nations.

We have seen that science has the power to build bridges between nations – in spite of both the virus and international tensions. Cooperation in science is not only important for research, but also society at large. Multilateral collaboration can make research and development more efficient, through shared talent and resources.

Such international cooperation in science must be underpinned by a shared respect for facts, which has been lacking in the leadership of many countries. The panel shared an optimism that going forward under President Biden, America will play a renewed role on the international stage.

Jan-Martin Wiarda

Independent Journalist

Jan-Martin Wiarda is an independent journalist, political scientist and economist.

Studied in Munich, Chapel Hill (USA) and German School of Journalism. Has been an author at the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Brand Eins, the Financial Times Deutschland, Tagesspiegel and others. For 8 years has worked as an editor in Hamburg at ZEIT in the education department „Chancen“ and for 3 years as Head of Communications at the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft . Since 2015 has worked as  freelance journalist, author and moderator. In 2016 defended his dissertation at the HU Berlin.

Wan Gang

China Association for Science and Technology

With a PhD in engineering, Professor WAN Gang is Vice Chairman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Chairman of the Central Committee of the China Zhi Gong Party, and President of the 9th National Committee of the China Association for Science and Technology.

He obtained a doctorate (Dr. Ing.) at Clausthal University of Technology of Germany. He was President of Tongji University from July 2004. In December 2006, he became Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the China Zhi Gong Party and was elected Chairman in December 2007. From April 2007 to March 2018, he served as Minister of Science and Technology.

In March 2008, he was elected Vice Chairman of the 11th National Committee of the CPPCC, and re-elected Vice Chairman of the 12th CPPCC in March 2013 and Vice Chairman of the 13th CPPCC in March 2018.

In June 2016, he was elected President of the 9th National Committee of the China Association for Science and Technology.

John Holdren

Harvard University

John Paul Holdren served as the senior advisor to President Barack Obama on science and technology issues through his roles as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Annette Schavan

Former German Minister of Education and Research

Annette Schavan was the Federal Minister of Education and Research in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2005 to 2013, and served as the German Ambassador to the Holy See from 2014 until 2018.

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