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European Research Executive Agency
News article9 November 2023European Research Executive Agency

Building trust in science for peace and development

How can science be applied to conflict resolution? In what way can novel research contribute to inclusivity? Discover how science – through experimentation, the production of knowledge, and cooperation – can influence society.

A visual with a scientist and a dove
© European Union, 2023 ; image source: Good Studio, Shutterstock

Science and peace are not often mentioned in the same sentence. Yet, science can play a vital role in creating the conditions for peace and in turn, allow for societies to flourish.

The World Science Day for Peace and Development is our chance to recognise this role and how science can be a driver for positive change.

But science cannot reach its full potential unless citizens place trust in it. By fostering trust in science today, it can inspire the scientists of tomorrow, spur the development of future scientific discoveries and allow for their application in the real world.

In an era of emerging conflicts, we need to embolden the scientific community and ensure it can respond to our multi-faceted challenges.

Read a selection of Horizon Europe projects below that are working to give peace and the development of inclusive, fair, and equal societies a chance.

Research for peace

The EU was founded ‘to promote peace’ - but what this means in practice is a challenge. The CDE4Peace project researched just that: how to enhance the EU’s conflict prevention and peacebuilding tools. The project, funded through the MSCA programme, explored the potential application of Concept Development and Experimentation (CDE) in the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. CDE is about evaluating novel frameworks prior to committing resources for their real-world application.

More on the CDE4Peace project.

In order to promote peace, the EU needs skilled people trained in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The premise of the project is that current trainings are too general or too narrow or do not reflect the multi-dimensional aspects of modern conflicts. By connecting relevant actors in the field, the project developed a novel, multi-lingual, approach: an online platform to advance conflict prevention capabilities. It includes a hub to connect peace actors from various sectors, allows trainers to boost their skills and individuals to find courses that suit their needs. 

More on the project. 

An agenda for sustainable development

In 2015, the United Nations launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs include 169 targets touching on poverty, climate action, and peaceful and inclusive societies, amongst other topics. The CROWD4SDG project seeks to go beyond traditional data for tracking progress and integrates Citizen Science, a framework whereby the public participates in scientific experimentation and discoveries. The project focuses on SDG 13: Climate Action and will bring citizens onboard through an innovative crowdsourcing cycle. You can get involved through the project’s DonateWater initiative, a data-gathering citizen science project on water resources in Nigeria. The project also participated at the UN-Datathon on 3-6 November.

More on the CROWD4SDG project.

Increasingly, innovation policies influence wider EU political decision-making. The EL-CSID project’s objectives were to understand this dynamic. First, the project analysed the current state-of-play of how the EU operates in the domains of science and diplomacy through its external relations. Second, the project sought to establish a strategic and systematic approach to how science and diplomacy can advance EU interests, such as safeguarding human rights and promoting peace. Alongside two other EU-funded projects, EL-CSID launched the EU Science Diplomacy Alliance to facilitate the study of science diplomacy.

More on the EL-CSID project.

Trust in science

The theme of this year’s World Science Day for Peace and Development is ‘building trust in science’ and a collection of ongoing EU-funded projects are researching how to maintain and build trust in science. IANUS, VERITY and POIESIS are working on ensuring science is transparent and that citizens place trust in it. The projects focus on inclusivity, so that citizens are involved in knowledge production, helping, in turn, to foster science’s real-world applications.


At the European Research Executive Agency, we also provide scientists with guidance on communicating about their research. Our aim is to provide researchers with tools that give them a voice, elevating evidence-based science in an era of disinformation.


Publication date
9 November 2023
European Research Executive Agency