H2020: How to make the difference between communication and dissemination

Communication and dissemination of results are mandatory activities for Horizon 2020 projects. They are even a central constituent of the “Impact” section of proposals. However, the difference between them is not always clear. Let’s clarify this!

Dissemination: the project results

Project leaders are required to provide an exploitation and dissemination plan in the “Impact” section of Horizon 2020 proposals. However, exploitation is also mentioned implicitly in the “Excellence” section and can constitute a specific Work Package.

The objective of exploitation activities is the better use of project results for valorisation and knowledge transfer. Dissemination aims at maximising the impact of research results in the public domain. Therefore, the target audience of dissemination activities is any potential user of the project results: the scientific community, stakeholders, industry, policy makers, investors, civil society, etc.

Consequently, listing all types of potential primary and secondary results in the exploitation and dissemination plan is very important, as well as their target audience and the means to achieve them: scientific papers, public databases, workshops, etc.

Communication: the whole project

The communication activities of Horizon 2020 projects go beyond dissemination: they do not involve project results only but also the project in general such as the societal challenges or European added-value of the project. Thus, communication activities target a much wider audience, including the media and the general public. It is important to use a less technical language so that a non-specialist audience can easily understand the goals and means of the project.

For example, communication activities include: visual identity (logo, graphic charter…), public website, leaflets and flyers, social media, videos, press releases, etc.

The consortium must provide a detailed communication plan when the Horizon 2020 projects start, but it is not mandatory as such in the proposal. However, we advise project leaders to include the communication strategy from the proposal stage: it adds attractivity for the evaluators!

More information

For the sake of clarity, the European Commission has published guidelines on the difference between dissemination and communication in Horizon 2020 projects, such as:

Our consultants are experts in communication, dissemination and exploitation of results. We support organisations in defining their strategy for H2020 projects. We are also partners in seven H2020 projects for communication, dissemination and exploitation activities. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us!