Communication is a word that most everybody has some sort of association with, e.g. spreading the word, informing, talking about a product. With dissemination, it’s a bit different – at least that was my impression when I first heard the word during a job interview. To this day, I think that “dissemination” is a word that’s mostly used in the European project context. So let’s have a closer look at what dissemination actually means, how it differs from communication and – most importantly – what we are doing to make the communication and dissemination activities of FUSILLI a real success.
Communication in a nutshell
In the context of European projects like FUSILLI, communication refers to the spreading of general information to a broad public target audience. In communication, we make use of an easy-to-understand language, omitting highly technical words that might only be understood by professionals. The goal is to communicate our project and its main messages, in this case FUSILLI and the importance of the transformation to sustainable food systems, to an audience as wide and diverse as possible, reaching especially those usually less targeted by the project’s topic, such as children, young people, elderlies, or socially deprived groups. The methods of choice are both traditional tools like postcards, flyers or press releases as well as modern channels like digital events, videos or social media posts.
And what about dissemination?
When you want to learn more about dissemination and you google the term, you sometimes end up learning more about “spreading a disease” (and I think by 2021, we have all had enough of that!). Only when you search for it in a scientific context, you learn about its second meaning – the one that is used in projects funded by the European Commission like FUSILLI. In this case, dissemination refers to the spreading of (technical) information to a specialised audience. In other words: we communicate scientific or technical details, results or methods in a technical language to a professional audience that is well versed in the respective topic, in our case, sustainable food systems. This can be in the form of scientific articles, publications or booklets (watch out for our “cookbook” coming during the course of the FUSILLI project) as well as webinars, workshops, or even MOOCS and summer schools. In FUSILLI, these activities will happen in the coming years as well, so stay tuned!
How to make your D&C activities a success
We have set the ground for what communication and dissemination means. Now let’s head over to the next topic of how we can make our “D&C” activities (that’s the official short name) a success.
The number one rule for successful D&C is that we always customise our planned activities to our individual project – every single time. This means that we cannot simply recycle a previously developed D&C strategy and apply that one-to-one to FUSILLI. On the contrary, we always must consider questions like “What is the main message of FUSILLI and how do I want to communicate it?” or “Which audience groups do I want to reach with FUSILLI?” and then, we have to think about appropriate tools and activities accordingly. Otherwise, our project will drown in the crowd and the very valuable results of FUSILLI will not be spread to the world so that others can learn from our solutions, e.g. of how to develop a Living Lab in line with the Food2030 priorities, and replicate them elsewhere.
Number two is that we make use of (what we call) a “communication cascade” that consists of two main parties: we, as the D&C work package leader of FUSILLI, are mainly responsible for the development of all general dissemination and communication activities of the project (such as a recognisable branding, an intuitive and informative website, visually attractive promotional materials, etc.). The partners, on the one hand, are responsible to regularly provide us with news updates and information from their specific activities (so that we can turn those into a news article or a social media post) and, on the other hand, to share our general communication materials with their own (local) networks (such as our newsletter). Only when we and the FUSILLI project partners are working closely together, can we assure high visibility of FUSILLI and therefore successful dissemination, communication and later exploitation (more on that in another blog article!) of our project’s results!
Number three is that we should also always be up-to-date when it comes to the latest (and most successful) communication tools or methods. For example, 15 years ago, nobody would have thought of posting short 280-character statements on the internet to inform about a product. And 10 years ago, nobody would have expected that today, communication would highly depend on the sharing of pictures and videos (instead of texts) to promote a project’s outcomes. The world is always changing and you need to stay on top of your game and educate yourself about what’s trending if you don’t want to be left behind.
Of course, there are many more secrets to successful dissemination and communication, but first, we don’t want to spill all our secrets and second, we want to make sure that you come back to the FUSILLI website to learn more about us! From now on, once a month, a blog article like this, written each time by a different project partner, will be published on the FUSILLI website to give you an insight glimpse into our project activities and to tell you more about our approaches and outcomes. If you want to make sure not to miss a single information, sign up for our newsletter or follow us on twitter.
Author: Bettina Remmele, Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum
Organisation: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) is the work package leader of WP6 on dissemination, communication and exploitation activities within FUSILLI project. Through its involvement as either partner or coordinator in more than 70 projects in 2020, SEZ supported consortiums in transnational technology transfer, organised international conferences and information days concerning European research and innovation programmes, promoted projects via diverse dissemination and communication measures as well as supported partners with successful exploitation of the project’s results.