Dissemination, communication and exploitation of EU innovation projects

How to start and key activities.
The Dissemination, communication and exploitation of the results are activities the importance of which is sometimes underestimated within research and innovation projects.

Day One is in charge of this task for MARILIA: in this article, the Italian Startup Studio tells us why dissemination and scientific communication should be better considered and what would be the key activities to implement them. Sometimes, people perceive dissemination and exploitation as “tick boxes”, not important for the “real work” of the project.

First of all, we have to say that communication, dissemination and exploitation of results are mandatory activities for Horizon 2020 projects.  However, the difference between them is not always clear. Let’s start to clarify this!
If we look for an official definition of the term “dissemination”, the Horizon program generally refers to “the public disclosure of the results by any appropriate means, including by scientific publications in any medium. So it means:

  • Transfer of knowledge and results to the ones that can best make use of it;
  • Maximizes the impact of research, enabling the value of results to be potentially wider than the original focus.

Communication means “Taking strategic and targeted measures for promoting the action itself and its results to a multitude of audiences, including the media and the public, and possibly engaging in a two-way exchange”. For example, communication activities include visual identity (logo design), the project website, graphic tolls (brochure, rollup and flyers), social media, videos, press releases, etc. About the communication, the main points to keep in mind are:

  • Reach out to society as a whole and in particular to some specific audiences;
  • Demonstrate how EU funding contributes to tackling societal challenges.

Finally, for the Horizon program “exploitation” is “the utilization of results in further research activities other than those covered by the action concerned, or in developing, creating and marketing a product or process, or in creating and providing a service, or in standardization activities”.


Europe’s future economic growth will come from innovation and research to turn into marketable products. The communication and dissemination about European research projects should aim to demonstrate the ways in which research and innovation are contributing to a European ‘Innovation Union’ and account for public spending by providing tangible proof that collaborative research adds value. To ensure it, research projects must develop a communication and dissemination strategy that explains how the outcomes of the project will be shared with industrial stakeholders, institutions, the scientific community and the general public. An effective dissemination and communication  plan explains:

  1. Why – the purpose of dissemination and communication
  2. What – the message to be disseminated
  3.  To whom – the target
  4. How and when – the method and the timing

source: Horizon 2020 Guidance. Social media guide for EU funded R&I projects | v1.0 


Here there are few key steps that we, at Day One, are adopting to evaluate the market potential of the MARILIA future product:

a. Identify areas and stakeholders that could make use of the project results;
b. Use effective channels to engage potential users (stakeholder networks and platforms, domain specific platforms, direct, events, project website, social channels);
C. Make use of face-to-face or written interviews (through surveys) to collect feedback on the project idea to modulate the product development accordingly to the users’ requirements;

In this article for FETFX, we also talk about design thinking, strategic marketing and working together with the stakeholders since the early stages are essential in the product development process and exploitation of results within MARILIA.

More information

The European Commission has published guidelines on dissemination, communication and exploitation in Horizon 2020 projects, such as: