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Raise public appearance and perception of LifeSciHealth Projects through communication experts and services

Final Report Summary - APPEAR (Raise public appearance and perception of LifeSciHealth Projects through communication experts and services)

The APPEAR project was a pilot communication action aimed to boost the public perception of four running Life Science projects creating new paths in future research communication of the Life Science Programme. A selection of four Life Science projects were made thanks to the contribution of the European Commission officials, the mediation of the APPEAR project coordinator and the scientific officers of the European Commission. The APPEAR consortium established a cooperation agreement with the four chosen projects that allowed them to improve their abilities of communication with extra expertise coming to them from the APPEAR members who specialised in different fields of communication.

As a Specific Support Action (SSA), it aimed at integrating the communication and public perception of several research projects referred to different strategic objectives of the programme. In particular, as for the action plan of the communication from the European Commission of the thematic priority two of the objectives meet the aims of APPEAR project. They are:
- to set up an initiative to improve and facilitate the science communication process;
- to do activities to promote public perception.

To this end the project acted through an inclusive, comprehensive and well-structured methodology of information flow and communication activities at European level.

The APPEAR project ran for 18 months, until June 2007, and reached in particular the following objectives:
- to set up customised communication plans for the production and distribution of correct and understandable information on issues related to raise controversial debates on the objectives and impact of research;
- to provide a wide range of communication services to each project assisted ranging from inputs and development of news to the production and distribution to international broadcasters of various formats of audiovisual material for short or in-depth TV stories in local languages;
- to make the flow of information from projects as smooth as possible and to ensure the overall scientific coherence of the project by involving scientific experts in the most strategic phases of news raising activities;
- to care about the production and the distribution of valuable and understandable information towards the media outlets, to ensure the attainment of a large public;
- to raise public perception of research communication and to provide a valuable communication model to improve the public perception of research and scientific content.

APPEAR project activities performed were all conceived with the final aim of helping bridging the gap between EU research results and their general perception all around Europe. Since European research results in the targeted fields are likely to contribute to the potential improvement of European citizens' quality of life, APPEAR communication and dissemination activities tried to pave the way for a strengthened consensus on European joint efforts in research.

The project has responded to the need of contributing to the impact of European's public health by:
- promoting and facilitating the dissemination, transfer, exploitation, assessment and take-up of past and present programme results;
- contributing to the strategic objectives, regarding European Research Area (ERA);
- preparing future community RTD activities.

The results and the impact of the APPEAR project so widely distributed and spread contribute to increase the knowledge about the European research in Life Science among European citizens.

The project partners of APPEAR have thus created a model allowing projects in charge of research activities to benefit from the activity of experts in communication able to disseminate their results and activities. This way doing, supplies the projects that did not foresee a budget dedicated for communication activity or provides those with something more efficient and effective than simple communication.

Having the research projects not enough resources to dedicate to dissemination issues, but being dissemination an important activity to execute to make the results being known, the fact of having an external consortium consisting of experts in different areas within the communication, facilitates the spreading of the project results.

The press office organised the production of news and articles and distributed them to the press, reaching at least 30 online publications, a production company produced videos, in two different versions for each of the four projects and a distribution company managed the distribution of the films in 18 European countries, to 17 broadcasters in 16 different languages.

An event to promote these results in front of the members of the European Parliament in Brussels gathered all the results from the four projects and showed them in front of a public composed by members of the European Parliament, members of the Commission and journalists. This event contributed to provide the members of the European Parliament and the journalists with more information and material on the European research in life science area thus generating a positive perception of the European Union activities.