Dissemination and Communication (D&C) actions across EU-funded projects have become more important and relevant as the funding calls have progressed and developed more. The trajectory of carrying out specific tasks to maximise the impact of EU-funded projects has also changed drastically. In this blog post, we would like to share with you some tips & tricks according to our experience as D&C leaders and supporting partners in many different H2020, BBI-JU (now CBE-JU), and Horizon Europe projects.
According to the European Commission’s Funding & Tender opportunities website: “With your communication activities you call the attention of multiple audiences about your research (in a way that they can be understood by non-specialists) and address the public policy perspective of EU research and innovation funding…”
Moreover, informing people and the world that you are working in developing a certain innovation or a sustainable solution to a problem is just the beginning. After informing people, you need to support your scientific developments by also spreading the word and sharing these results with a designated targeted audience. “By sharing your research results with the rest of the scientific community, you are contributing to the progress of science in general.”(European Commission’s Funding & Tender opportunities website).
Communication and dissemination actions play a big role in measuring the impact of your project on the population. Having a clear, concise and cohesive strategy is key. But before we dive in, let’s get to the point.
What is it exactly that you should do and shouldn’t do to guarantee effective communication and dissemination of your project’s activity?
DO spread the right message to the right audience. DON’T take your target groups for granted.
Understanding the project’s targeted community is essential to develop the correct messages. A technical text with scientific concepts will not be approachable to the general public. Social media posts with over three emojis might not be taken seriously by the academic or policy-making community. This is why, it is important to understand what audiences will be more likely to engage with your project and therefore, craft curated messages for each group. The key to catching people’s attention is to speak in their language and to show them how you are solving a bigger problem with your project’s developments and results. Don’t forget to include the funding acknowledgement in all your communications!
DO support your messages with visual elements. DON’T overwrite or share gigantic texts.
Your audience will appreciate it if you share clear and concise messages that connect directly to a specific need of theirs. Busy, industry and academic people scroll through social media quickly. The most effective way to catch their attention at once is to support your publications with visual imagery or graphics. This is why, having a well-thought-out visual identity for your project is crucial. People will connect right away with your project’s objectives and will associate the message with the project’s colours, texts, or graphics. This is an ideal way to leave a mark on your audience.
DO plan out your actions and D&C strategy with enough time. DON’T improvise or wait until the D&C plan is due.
Being ahead on planning and organisation of the Grant Agreement’s timings is very important. You need to anticipate what you know will happen eventually. Map out relevant events and publications that could be of interest to the project. Start having conversations with your coordinator about possible approaches to the D&C strategy. Reach out to your networks so everyone starts understanding your project’s goals. Open social media accounts before the project’s kick-off meeting. Make sure to keep a good internal communication channel within your consortium so everyone is up to date on relevant news to post about.
DO think outside the box and beyond. DON’T stick to the minimum expected.
It is always a good idea to show off your work in creative and imaginative ways that no one else is expecting. Think about trending topics, analyse what projects have been successful in D&C actions and evaluate their strategy, what did they do differently? What can you switch from? Are there any traditional platforms that are probably no longer being trafficked? Ask your questions and employ current trends to attract your targeted audience. Millennials and Gen Z people are not impacted in the same way as policymakers or academia. Study the available channels and propose new solutions to expose your project and exploit its results in the best possible way.
If you have further questions or if you are feeling doubtful, we highly recommend reading the European Commission’s guidelines for an effective communication, dissemination, and exploitation of results for EU-funded projects here: Communicating about your EU-funded project.