Exploring the future of science diplomacy with the next generation

It is believed that global humanity will face big societal challenges such as health, health provision and artificial intelligence in the near future.

UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Robin Grimes, visited the University of Birmingham in April to explain that science will make a difference to all these problems, as well as positively influencing employment.

Professor Grimes hosts student roundtable


During his visit, Professor Grimes met with engineering and physical Sciences students, answered their questions at a roundtable event and launched the University’s first of the Leading Thinkers event series with his presentation, ‘Science Engagement as Global Diplomacy’.

During the roundtable, students asked Professor Grimes about his thoughts on various topics including the future of energy, Brexit, women in STEM and international relations. Speaking about the roundtable, Professor Grimes stated, “Students are the next generation; they represent new ideas and new ways to look at problems”, thereby should be engaged with, listened to and learnt from.

Following the student roundtable, Professor Grimes presented his lecture to students and experts from industry and academia. This lecture was the first of the Leading Thinkers event series that welcomes experts from a variety of fields to discuss and challenge topics within policy, industry and science.

Professor Robin Grimes has been Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since February 2013. He is responsible for providing advice to the Foreign Secretary, Ministers and officials on science, technology and innovation. He is supported in his work by the UK Science and Innovation Network representatives based in overseas posts. He is also Professor of Materials Physics at Imperial College. In his research, he uses atomic scale computer simulation techniques to understand the behaviour of materials for energy applications including nuclear fission and fusion, fuel cells, batteries and solar cells to improve knowledge and efficiency.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

On the 9th May 2018, Proffesor Girmes was elected at a Fellow of the Royal Society. Speaking of the appointment of the new Fellows, Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal society said: “our Fellows are key to the Royal Society’s fundamental purpose of using science for the benefit of humanity. From Norwich to Melbourne to Ethiopia, this year’s newly elected Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society are testament that science is a global endeavour and excellent ideas transcend borders."

Science Engagement as Global Diplomacy lecture with Professor Grimes