TJW Media Blog

Content Marketing

October 2017

Communicating Horizon 2020 research projects to society at large

An often overlooked requirement of Horizon 2020, the EU programme for Research and Innovation, is that projects must disseminate and communicate the progress and outcomes of research.

According to the definition of the Horizon 2020 Participant Portal, these two types of communications have quite different, if overlapping objectives. Dissemination is seen as communication of research among research peers (such as published papers in the case of academic research). Communication, on the other hand, (as outlined in Article 38 of EU Horizon 2020 grant agreement) obliges project consortia 'to promote the action and its results by providing targeted information to multiple audiences, including the media and public, in a strategic and effective manner'.

This means communicating to wider society (that pays for the research), necessitating a communications within proposals. This requires considerably more consideration than just thinking that putting-up 'any old website will do'.

The HORIZON 2020 WORK PROGRAMME 2018-2020 Evaluation rules requires proposals to show the quality of the proposed measures to:
  • Exploit and disseminate the project results (including management of IPR), and to manage research data where relevant, and
  • Communicate project activities to different target audiences

In addition, the Participant Portal suggests communicating the details of projects to wider society provides significant benefits to Horizon 2020 projects, for instance by providing opportunities to:
  • Share successes - providing a positive contribution to the project
  • Show the benefits to society
  • To sell the benefits of the research (of wider interest to the institutions involved)
  • To help gain future funding
  • Assist communications among geographically dispersed partners


TJW Media (employed by University of Surrey) is currently engaged in communicating the Horizon 2020 CANDID Research and Innovation project that's addressing the challenge set by ICT-35-2016 : Enabling responsible ICT-related research and innovation, designed to make sure that technological innovations, in this case ‘smart technologies and systems’, are developed with societal needs and expectations in mind.
This exciting interdisciplinary project is nearing its conclusion; so check out Progress (dissemination) and News of engagement and other activities that explains the activities and developments of the project (communications to society).

See the Archive page for the latest reports of events and milestones of the CANDID project, as well as interviews with researchers the are currently developing ways for developers of smart technologies better consider the needs of society, such as considering risks regarding data protection.

A summary of this blog post was presented at the KTN Horizon 2020 Smart, Green and Integrated Transport networking event at ICC Birmingham on 31 October 2017. The complete slide deck, which includes slides from Innovate UK, and pitch slides from other organisations who attended, is available to download via Dropbox.