Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Dissemination v. communication

Section 2.2a of the standard proposal template for RIA and IA asks proposers to include a draft plan for the dissemination and exploitation of project results. Section 2.2b asks them to describe the proposed communication measures for promoting the project and its findings. What’s the difference between dissemination and communication?

Dissemination is defined in the Rules for Participation as “public disclosure of the results by any appropriate means (other than resulting from protecting or exploiting the results), including by scientific publications in any medium”. There is no corresponding definition of communication, but the grant agreement says that the “beneficiaries must promote the action and its results, by providing targeted information to multiple audiences (including the media and the public) in a strategic and effective manner”. From this it seems that dissemination is chiefly aimed at peers, usually other researchers working in the area of the proposed project, while communication is aimed at non specialists, including stakeholders whose interest is in potential application of the results.

Clearly both activities are important. Yet according to the grant agreement, it is necessary to report on the (exploitation and) dissemination of results, but not on their communication. Strange.

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