Dissemination and exploitation related activities have always been a focal issue for all EU funded projects. Apart from the traditional ways of disseminating the project results via newsletters, flyers and presenting the results in conferences, it’s worth considering bringing together the key stakeholder groups in either a specialised conference organised within the frame of the project, or host a brokerage event where the various parties could liaise with each other in a rather informal manner.
In one of our recently completed projects, we tried to combine a small-scale specialised conference with such a brokerage event to be able to reach out to a wide group of stakeholders, offering them a full package of information and networking opportunities. Although we did not plan to host hundreds of guests, the organisation process, logistics, identifying target groups and promoting the event took a lot of efforts, and planning had to start way before the event itself. The description of the preparation process below will cover this one specific event; however there are a number of general firsthand experiences included, which you may find useful when aiming to organise a similar event.
- If possible,plan your event towards the end of your project (not only you’ll have solid results to disseminate and discuss, but you may also utilise more effectively any “remaining” funds (due to potential under-spending of some partners) to make it bigger with more significant penetration potential or even better in terms of overall quality.
- Consider initiating a meeting with the key partners well in advance of the event to develop a joint strategy and concrete plans and to allocate various tasks and responsibilities internally.
- Invest enough time and effort into identifying your target groups to inform about the event and into contacting those potential speakers who will bring value to it; you may achieve better results if you offer them reimbursement on their travel and accommodation expenses (provided you have the sufficient financial background available).
- As your invited speakers start confirming their participation, be prepared to draft a preliminary agenda and disseminate it heavily in order to trigger additional interest towards the event. Keep this agenda up-to-date and make sure the latest version is available easily at the event’s dedicated site.
- This site can be incorporated within the project’s or your organisation’s own web page but there are a number of service providers specialised in the IT needs of organising match making and brokerage events (such as online registration, facilitating networking efforts, setting up meetings between the registered participants, indicating interest towards each presentation etc). Previously we worked with the Austrian company B2Match to our greatest satisfaction.
- Customise and tailor your letter of invitation dedicated to each of your target groups pointing out and highlighting the potential benefits they may have by participating in the event. The single-invitation-fits-all approach usually doesn’t deliver the hoped results.
- Be prepared that your initial calculations regarding the number of total participants might prove to be overly optimistic and you’ll end up having less attendees than you predicted based on your background research and on the feedbacks of the extensive mobilisation campaign.
It is hard work to bring together such an event, and unless it is planned in advance and budgeted in the proposal preparation phase, it might be very challenging to find sponsors to aid your efforts. On the other hand, it helps enormously to introduce your project to a wider audience, most of them with a relevant background, and disseminate your results which eventually may culminate in another proposal or new partnerships.