Communication activities in your Horizon 2020 project

Horizon 2020 projects are all about impact. While beneficiaries want to see projects yield concrete results, the European Commission is also fond of inspiring success stories that show what difference EU-backed projects could make.

In Horizon 2020, beneficiaries are actually contractually obliged to promote their project and its results, targeting the information to the public, media, or other audiences. The relevant article in the Model Grant Agreement is Article 38.1. It gives important indications about how beneficiaries should plan their communication on the project. For example, it states that communication activities have to be “strategic and effective”, and that beneficiaries should contact the European Commission or Agency before launching activities that could have a “major media impact”.

Preparing at the proposal stage

A comprehensive communication plan is best defined at the proposal stage.  Typically, the proposal would include a work package fully dedicated to communication. If this is not the case, the project should least foresee communication in another relevant work package. At any rate, you should define clear objectives and provide a description and a timeline for each communication activity.

Communicate keeping in mind the funder’s perspective

One thing is clear: communication is more than dissemination! Simply disseminating results is not enough. Non-specialists should be able to understand your articles, videos, or brochures. You should also acknowledge the fact that your project is part of a larger European policy on research and innovation (the so-called “public policy perspective”). To do so, consider how international cooperation has helped achieve project goals, or highlight how the project contributes to economic competitiveness and solves societal challenges.

Checklist: is my communication plan good to go?

Keeping in mind the following criteria can help you produce a solid communication plan.

  • Have I foreseen communication activities that start at the outset of the project and continue throughout the project’s lifetime?
  • Is my communication strategically planned, i.e. have I considered a match between audiences, messages, and means?
  • Am I clear about what I want to achieve with my communication?
  • Am I sure to reach audiences that go beyond those naturally interested in my project?
  • Are the communication tools proportionate to the project’s scale?

Download the checklist:

Checklist Communication.pdf

76.87 kB

Some examples

To illustrate things further, below are some examples of how communication activities can look like. They could be, for example:

  • press release for the general public when the project starts
  • An interview in the local radio station after a major achievement
  • An event in a shopping mall showing how the project’s results impact everyday life
  • Local workshops to interested audiences
  • Brochures for school or university students
  • Social Media