Horizon 2020 (H2020) or the 9th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation has put an emphasis on project dissemination activities. Because EU citizens finance the Programme, its beneficiaries are advised to put more effort into ways of reaching and engaging with them.
The European Union (EU) has high expectations of participants in EU funded projects in terms of communication and dissemination efforts. All EU funded projects need to communicate about their project activities “throughout its entire lifetime”.
Communication & dissemination in Horizon 2020
It is especially true for H2020 Programme which started in 2014. And it will become even more important in the next framework programme Horizon Europe, starting in January 2021. Beneficiaries of EU funding will be expected to enhance their dissemination activities to engage with society.
Thus, dissemination is more oriented on project results and how to share them with potential users. Those are peers in the industry field, policy-makers and various commercial organisations. Better dissemination means contributing to the scientific community, but also having a bigger impact on society. In particular, the European Commission encourages recipients of grants to use social media during the H2020 programme to reach broader audiences.
Strategic approach to communication and dissemination could help boost the project's visibility. Basics of a good dissemination plan start with answering these three questions:
What is the key message of your Horizon 2020 project?
To answer this question, summarise the added value of your project in a sentence by asking “Why should anyone care about this project?” It is important that your key message is clear and comprehensive to lay audiences, but also to peers, stakeholders and journalists.
Who are the target audiences?
Who would you like to reach with your key messages? Who might be interested in your project? Who might find your project useful? Try to identify influential people and organisations related to your project topic. Identifying them will help to plan your dissemination activities. If you have a clear idea of your target audience, it would be even easier for you to identify and reach influencers afterwards.
How to reach them?
What are the media channels your targeted audience uses the most? Do they read newspapers or do they prefer social networks? Are they active on social media or they prefer emails?
Answering those questions will give you a clear direction for your dissemination activities. In this article we will focus on how to use Twitter for effective project dissemination.
Events, the perfect time to tweet
Planning a Twitter campaign around events relevant to your project is highly recommended. Those could be scientific conferences, presentations, meetings - defined in your project Description Of Actions or in the Dissemination Plan.
Events usually have specialised hashtags. If you monitor and use those hashtags, you might discover and engage with new influencers.
There are several moments in an event timeline you could use to increase the visibility of your H2020 project:
- You could announce that you (or partners) will attend the event one month ahead of it.
- Explore and follow the event account and the ones of the organisers a few days before the event.
- Tweet about your arrival using the event's hashtag and a nice picture of the venue.
- Engage in conversation during the event using the event's hashtag, if relevant, redirect to your project website.
- Share interesting quotes and tag the speakers.
- After the event, you could use the opportunity to tweet your reflection on it.
Report your dissemination activities
Keep in mind that you will need to report on your dissemination activities. It could be a lot of extra working hours if you don't organize well beforehand. Reporting the social media activities can be especially challenging: should you report all single posts or only monthly statistics? Having your activities organised by campaign (per event or per publication) will really help both reporting consistently and monitoring your actual performances.
To ease the reporting efforts, think about project management tools. One of those solutions is EMDESK – a project management software that allows you to log all dissemination activities during the project. It is especially useful for EU research programs such as H2020 where the majority of projects are collaborative. Deploying such project management tool might help you and your partners execute the project without worries.