Best practices for communication in Horizon Europe projects
Why communication is important
Science has become embedded in virtually every aspect of modern life and, increasingly, we see this with sustainable technologies to tackle climate change, plastic pollution, and other forms of environmental degradation. Along with this, it has become increasingly important to ensure useful scientific achievements are communicated effectively and efficiently, leading to greater uptake of the solutions that are created.
Effective science communication is particularly complex because it is not only dependent on what is being communicated, but also who it is being communicated to: often, there is a need to break down complicated data and technical information in a way that can reach the average person, while also demonstrating the scientific underpinnings of the solution.
“Impact,” “outreach,” and “research communications” have become buzzwords, but their importance cannot be understated in the context of a successful Horizon Europe project. In fact, plans for effective research communication are now required for this and many other grant applications.
There is increasing pressure for successful projects to tell the story behind their technology, including how it will help in the real world and the impact it will have on society. Though it is difficult to get it exactly right, research teams that succeed in implementing a good communication plan will likely many tangible benefits, as well as positively impacting their reputation and even influence policy decisions for the betterment of economies, societies, and humanity.
What does good research communication look like?
Research communications is difficult, as it necessitates addressing a wide range of audience groups with different levels of technical understanding – all while utilizing the same communication mediums and output. Interpreting complex findings and distilling them into usable information for non-experts without oversimplification for expert-level stakeholders is both essential and challenging.
When crafting this delicate message, it is critical to keep in mind the main objective: what relevant aspects of the research needs to reach the audience, regardless of their background or knowledge level. Timing is also key, as information that is relevant to these audiences is best communicated when they are ready and willing to listen rather than when the information becomes available from the project side.
When it comes to disseminating information and communication materials, there are numerous mediums available to deliver research communications, such as:
· Project website announcements
· Press releases
· Q&A sessions
· Guest features
· Podcasts and videos
· Events and exhibitions
Audiences that need to be reached for research communications vary greatly, which means that messages, timing, and content all need to be tailored to reach different groups in the best manner possible. Researchers who are able to engage, analyse, and discuss issues around the relevance and impact of research findings will likely be more successful and find it easier to disseminate information on their projects. It is also wise to involve intermediaries such as NGOs, research councils, or industrial partners to help carry communication forward with policy briefings and other “official” third-party communication pieces.
Communication of the project itself
Making your project visible is crucial to reach out to relevant stakeholders, build new collaborations, and help sustainable technologies get to market – and it is also a legal obligation under the Horizon Europe grant agreement.
Below are the most impactful and effective methods of reaching audiences with research communications.
Horizon Europe-funded projects are required to have a web presence in the form of either a dedicated website or as part of an existing website. The site should provide, at a minimum, details about the project objectives, actions, progress, and results.
Project news and updates should be shared via social media, with particular emphasis on utilizing Twitter. There are dedicated Twitter accounts for almost all Horizon Europe-funded projects, as well as Horizon Europe itself and certain Clusters within the program.
Press releases and guest features
If your project is able to draft a press release that can be disseminated by industrial partners, print media, or other organizations, that can be a great way to reach diverse audiences. Preparing guest features for outlets can also be beneficial for project communication.
Podcasts and videos
For the technically savvy, soliciting guest appearances on science podcasts or other media can offer the chance to really describe the project in detail and can be a great way to communicate in greater depth than written materials. Videos offer a similar level of detail that can reach audiences in a short amount of time, with visual aids helping to increase the communication value.
Events and exhibitions
Lastly, attending events and exhibitions to talk about your project can be great to address the audiences present, as well as the opportunity to take advantage of networking that can lead to further communications opportunities.
Difference between communication, dissemination and exploitation
Communication, dissemination, and exploitation may seem like the same thing, but they are different. They are interlinked concepts that all result in showing what a project does in the lab and how it can be applied to the real world, but they are often confused and should not be used interchangeably. If you are seeking funding under Horizon Europe, please also consult our article on the difference between communication, dissemination and exploitation.
How Linq Consulting helps with project communication
Linq Consulting specializes in all areas of creating and managing successful proposals and projects, with dedicated project planning specialists that have experience with multi-million Euro collaborative funding applications. Our team of expert researchers, writers, and project managers can help with all aspects of not only writing a work plan, but also carrying it through and implementing it for Horizon Europe proposals or project management.
The dedicated experts at Linq Consulting are available to assist with Horizon Europe proposals at every stage of the writing and application process. With our expertise in grants management, we can help you secure funding from Horizon Europe, as well as any other grant opportunities that may be available.
For more information on how we can help, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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