Many EC and other large research and development projects require that the project partners disseminate information on the project and the outcomes. This is, of course, a very reasonable request. As public money is being invested into furthering knowledge, results must be shared widely.

Effective dissemination is not always easy to achieve on projects that are, by their very nature relatively short term, usually 2 – 3 years. Here, we outline a few key activities that the Maple team consider to ensure projects are disseminated as effectively as possible.

Mailing Lists

A common method used to disseminate project work is to create a mailing list of potentially interested parties, with whom information can be shared. Usually, targeted mailing lists are built up over time, so whilst we believe that this remains a viable option, as research projects are relatively short-lived, it should be seen as an ‘add-on’ rather than a core activity. A more effective approach is to leverage existing networks of funders and partners that are well-established, and which will exist beyond the lifetime of the project. These could be professional institutions, industry associations, or pre-existing LinkedIn or web groups, depending on the project. This ensures that the project and research results reach a wider audience and are more impactful.

Audience

An early task in any dissemination activity is to define and segment the audience and to ensure that the format of the disseminated works is suited to each target audience. Many projects focus largely on disseminating results to the project funding group, which is often in the technical or tactical part of an organisation. In addition to the tactical level, focus should be on the strategic part of the organisation, typically director level and with a longer-term view, the procurement department, recognising the impact that restrictive or open procurement can have on implementation and the operational, ‘boots on the ground’ personnel.

Channels

Once the audience has been identified and segmented, it is possible to determine the most effective channels to use to reach them. As well as making the results of the work ‘findable’, look to pro-actively disseminate in the places relevant to the audience. This could be through social media platforms and content or professional or trade publications. Project work can help establish links with several publications with a wide reach, making it possible to publish a series of articles throughout the project lifecycle, initially informing that it has been awarded and the aims, then disseminating results and driving traffic to the organisations website for interested parties to download deliverables.  

Digital Presence

It is important to have an optimised digital presence; the Maple team does this by two means. Firstly, develop a project website that is like a ’shop window’ for the project. This needs to be user-friendly, easy to navigate and take into consideration SEO (search engine optimisation) so research results can be found organically by relevant audiences who might find them of interest. The use of Google Analytics and other tools enables us to view performance and target content accordingly. The second method is to develop a dedicated LinkedIn page for the project where we can proactively promote information about the project, the team and deliverables and drive traffic towards the website.

For both the digital presence and for documentation and presentations, it is important to have a consistent approach to the way the work is presented, through engaging artwork and branding. The ‘brand board’ needs to be communicated with the project team, so the colours, font and themes are clear and consistent throughout. 

Ultimately, dissemination forms the building blocks of a wider project objective, which is to get the results used in practice. Too often, projects have been delivered and the reports end up as shelf furniture. Linking back to audience identification, as well as communicating information about the project, it also helps to target training needs and means of delivery towards the project’s conclusion.

To find out more about what we do and how we can support the dissemination efforts of your project contact us here  

Meet the Maple team here

See examples of our work here

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