There is no science without collaboration, and in a world that is not only facing a global pandemic, but also a global climate crisis, international cooperation is needed more than ever. But how can a unifying vision be forged? How can barriers between nations be resolved to support global big science diplomacy? These are some of the questions asked and answered in this Falling Walls Circle Plenary Table.

“The challenges that the world faces are challenges that no single country can solve on its own”, says Darion Atkins. To charter a strong scientific partnership, to empower the research infrastructure, and to create sustainable solutions, partnerships on science are not an option, but a necessity. Ottoline Leyser adds that a global challenge, such as Covid-19 or climate change, always presents an opportunity in itself: With the use of collaborative diplomacy and the power of curiosity, big science can rekindle old partnerships and form new ones.

Big Science needs to build a new level of trust

At the same time, national interests have to be taken into account. “Big Science is still mostly financed through competition”, argues Eric Isaacs. It is up to the political realm and the funding side to break down barriers and align the science on both sides of the Atlantic as well as China.

But it also comes down to the scientists themselves to forge new collaborations. “We need to demystify science and educate young people”, says Charlotte Warakaulle. Big science needs to build a level of trust and be aware of its role in navigating through uncertain times. Or as Leyser puts it, “science needs to let go of the expert label and listen to other communities”. In the end, it is not just about rekindling transatlantic partnerships, but about rekindling the trust in science on a global scale.