Impact is a word that has been involved E.U. projects for a long time and if you have been involved in Horizon 2020 you may understand how important that word is. In the words of the E.U. themselves the Impact of your project must be addressed in:
…all sections of a proposal… [and]… all stages of a project
Dr. Eugene Sweeney.
Why do you need Impact in your project?
On the 7th of October (2016) an “Impact and Innovation in Horizon 2020” workshop was held in Paris1 and numerous webinars are also provided by the E.U. IPR Helpdesk to discuss the importance of impact and innovation for E.U. projects. Horizon 2020 projects in particular place more importance on Impact than ever before.
So what exactly is Impact? Frankly put it is the reason your project exists. E.U. projects do not exist in a vacuum but have effects on many different areas, from policy to industry to citizens. What is the ultimate goal of the project and how are you going to achieve it? What difference will your project make to the E.U. and beyond? Impact takes many different forms, not just commercial or fiscal. The measures and impacts achieved should benefit everyone involved in the project, from the audience to the partners and also the E.U itself. Impact separates your project from the others.
Now that impact is established as a vital part of the H2020 program, below are 3 steps to help you use impact to write a winning proposal:
1. Read the Call Page…
This may seem like a very obvious step but you would be surprised at the amount of times the team here at Sparks & Co receive proposals that do not fit the objectives of the call they are submitting under. Evaluators read many proposals, so one with a well-rounded strategy tailored for each stage of the H2020 call (as quoted by Dr. Sweeney above) will be much more likely to succeed. However, what must be remembered is that a strong impact strategy is not just to enable you to submit a successful proposal, but must be thought of as a crucial step in the project itself. When you win funding for your project the impact must play as large a role as scientific excellence and project management, so the time spent on making your Impact section the best match to the call page may be rewarded in a winning proposal.
2. Identify your stakeholders.
To properly consider the Impact your project will have, you must think of the audience that will be affected by your project. Are they patients, policy-makers, scientists or specific communities? Identifying these stakeholders shows that you have considered their individual needs and thus will make your proposal more attractive to evaluators and other interested parties. This is shown, firstly, through a well-written impact section in your proposal. As we recounted in one of our previous blog posts, communication is integral to engagement: a good communication strategy leads to engagement and therefore a successful project.
3. Design an inclusive and detailed campaign.
Now that you have identified 1) what the impact should be and 2) who is involved, it is time to think about implementation. It is easy to consider how social media can be used for maximum impact for example, but this is not to replace other methods that are equally important, such as press relations and physical communication materials2. Effective communication requires the many different types of media, platforms and materials at different stages of a project… and also after its end. Do not refine your communication campaign to one area, and try to invest your time wisely (do not be afraid to outsource your communication strategy!). As communication experts Sparks & Co know that a variety of ways are needed to give your project the impact it properly deserves and ensure a winning proposal.
Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org , the impact experts, to help you reach your targets. Not only will we help you gain funding but we will help you make the biggest impact your project can achieve!
1 Presentations from the Impact and Innovation H2020 workshop are available here.
2 Have a look at the communication materials developed by Sparks & Co to help maximise your project’s impact here.