East-West Cooperation in Science and Technology: Actors, Actions, and Intelligence Gathering

Organizers: Matěj Bílý – Doubravka Olšáková, Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences

The symposium is organised with the support of the Strategy AV21: Research programme Identities in the World of Wars and Crises.

The conference will explore the central role of technology and science in overcoming ideological boundaries during the Cold War. Despite political tensions, scientists and experts from both sides of the Iron Curtain found common ground, facilitated by the neutral working environment created by scientific and technological endeavour. The Atoms for Peace conference in Geneva in 1955 was an important milestone in improving East-West cooperation. However, the technological rivalry between the blocs fuelled competitiveness, driving politicians‘ strategic interest in science and technology. National prestige became intertwined with scientific progress, especially during the Cold War. The shock of Sputnik spurred scientific and technological progress in the 1960s and 1970s, increasing the mobility of scientists and integrating intelligence gathering into their routine practices. Certain areas, such as nuclear proliferation, disarmament and environmental security, attracted considerable interest in intelligence gathering.

With a focus on exploring the complex dynamics of international relations during and beyond the Cold War era, the conference seeks to analyse the multiple intersections of science, diplomacy and technological progress.


Friday, April 5
Venue: Selwyn Old Library Room 4


Nuclear Diplomacy, Communication and Technological Sovereignty
Chair: Doubravka Olšáková, Discussant: Sam Robinson

Technology and Science Diplomacy
Chair: Matěj Bílý, Discussant: Sam Robinson

East-East and East-South Relations
Chair: Barbara Hof, Discussant: Sam Robinson

Saturday, April 6
Venue: Selwyn Old Library Room 2&3


The Role of Science Diplomacy In a Modern World
Chair: Lyubomir Pozharliev, Discussant: Barbara Hof

Final Remarks

Programme in PDF

Tematické weby