Being involved in the Horizon 2020 projects had opened a lot of new opportunities for our Small and Medium Enterprise (SME). Since being introduced to the EU funding programmes, we have realised that there are many diverse opportunities for the development and innovation of many different organisations in Europe and elsewhere in the world. However, as experts in the field of communication we have also noticed that many organisations do not fully used these opportunities – both those who have gotten funded as well as those who have failed to get funded.
Thus, in this article we would like to highlight some of the lost opportunities and to inspire your organisation to utilize the Horizon Europe programme to achieve the best possible results.
Poor communication strategy
If you did not have an excellent communication strategy for your project, you most likely did not excel in communicating your project’s process or results. Thus, nobody was able to see your efforts, meaning potential partners could not discover your organisation to invite it to participate in future projects and so on… Basically, you were living a short-term adventure which is not ideal if you are trying to build a strong and powerful image for your organisation at a local or international level.
Our advice: Next time you apply for funding, make sure that the proposal has a strong communication and dissemination strategy and ensure that all the partners are willing to contribute to and implement it.
It is not a secret that your project was implemented with public money. Thus, it was your duty to demonstrate to the general public, the academic society as well as to other stakeholders how your achievements will have an impact on a particular technology, sector, target group or anything/anybody else concerned. One way to do this is to engage with the public. There are various ways to achieve public engagement. Society is a willing participant and will take part if you “package” it in the right way.
Our advice: Take public engagement seriously especially since the Horizon Europe missions wants citizens to understand the value of investing in research and innovation.
The fact that we should not implement a self-centered communication strategy seems like a very basic thing. However, most of the previous projects only communicated about themselves – what happened, what the team did etc. Great! Nice to know! So, what? Your organisation, the project consortium and your target audiences will gain more if you communicate for them. Meaning, when you implement your project, you do it with the higher aim to serve society, science, the future, nature etc. Thus, you just need to apply the basic communication logic that is widely used for commercial purposes. You do not communicate detailed information about the technology, the product, the process or the service – you communicate about its benefits to society, the target audience, clients, stakeholders and so on.
Our advice: Focus on the impact of your actions, rather on what you do.
If you had implemented your project as a secret mission, you might have lots of regrets now. The only proof that your project exist might be a few words on an official EU website or in the best-case scenario on a dead social media profile with few followers. Unfortunately, it also means that you have lost the opportunity to shine. You did not promote your experts, scientists, innovators or your organisation at the local and international level. Thus, there is no proof of your achievements which, unfortunately, reduces your organisation’s credibility while at the same time questions your competencies and capabilities.
Our advice: Create a portfolio for your organization based on real achievements and facts. Create links to external publications, videos and other information sources.
The impact is actually the main reason why any project is implemented. Thus, you should focus on the potential impact while writing your proposal as well as during the project implementation.
The impact includes the actual expected outcomes of the project that are supported by communication activities; such as dissemination and exploitation of your project results. Lots of proposals do not get funded because of the poorly thought out and written impact section.
Our advice: Focus on the impact during the first stage! You will achieve much better results in the short and the long term.
Our Main Advice!
When you first start thinking about your project, you need to define what you plan to achieve – what impact the project will have! By adopting this strategy, you will be able to write a better proposal, demonstrate your organisation’s expertise, increase the chances of getting funded and finally, you will be able to contribute to a long-term development strategy for your organisation.