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Abstract

The world knowledge divide has led to demands for alternative ways of improving international cooperation in order to contribute to a reduction in the scientific disparity and inequalities in the availability of human capital between the North and the South. The human aspect has an essential role to play in determining ways of optimizing knowledge circulation within the current context in which the increased international mobility of skilled people offers new dimensions for scientific cooperation as a result of major global transformations. While science is ever more dependent on relationships and international exchanges, scientific collaboration has become an indispensable mechanism for the advancement of developing and transition countries. The efficient production and equitable use of knowledge requires international collective action, and this confirms the need for novel participatory approaches and a broadening of the beneficiaries and the empowerment of new relevant actors. Within this framework, today original ideas recognize the importance of scientific diasporas and promote their interventions as key players. The technological progress that has transformed the methods of production and the transmission of information enables scientists abroad to have an impact from a distance, without having to consider their definitive return as the only reasonable option. This situation also influences international cooperation as diasporas can function as bridges for the circulation of world knowledge and the transfer of technology. Highlighting their position as knowledge communities, this paper seeks to encourage scientific diasporas as agents of development and international cooperation by offering an innovative perspective of the exchange of knowledge that can optimize North-South cooperation. Focusing on an evidence-based analysis of research on the Moldovan scientific diaspora implemented by the Cooperation and Development Center (CODEV) at EPFL and the Academy of Sciences of Moldova (ASM) in a knowledge co-production effort, the paper argues that the recognition of knowledge as a global public good, the encouragement of decentralized collective organization and actions and the provision of enabling settings and opportunity structures, are key conditions for facilitating the initiatives and interventions of diasporas.

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