Skip to main content

Dissemination and uptake of FP water research results

Final Report Summary - WATERDISS2.0 (Dissemination and uptake of FP water research results)

Executive Summary:
Context, goals and tools
The implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and its daughter directives, as well as the Floods Directive, is not a “Business-as-usual approach” and constitutes an exceptional challenge to water managers and governments across Europe. Assessments of the current status of implementation have shown that less than 40% of water bodies will meet the Good Ecological Status in 2015.
Meeting these objectives in the long run will require additional knowledge and know-how in terms of designing measures and management approaches. This knowledge is however to a large extent generated by EU-funded research, but insufficiently applied to address the challenges occurring in the context of WFD implementation.
The concept of the WaterDiss2.0 project was to add an intermediate step after research by analysing the available water research outputs testing and improving dissemination, knowledge brokering and uptake tools. This step further was developed closely with water stakeholders by involving them within communication and dissemination actions, events dedicated to research outputs and providing them a dedicated social network, the European Water Community.
Main Results:
The three project years have resulted in the production of new knowledge and tools on knowledge brokering. The main goal of the project was to produce a research analysis tool, recommendations and guidelines for future dissemination of EU research outputs. All these tools, recommendations and guidelines derived from a need for better and more effective uptake of water research results.
The first WaterDiss2.0 result was the development of a strategic analysis tool of water research outputs (The Individual Dissemination Strategy 2 – IDS2 ). The IDS2 allows the development of a tailored dissemination strategy for each research output, based on its intrinsic characteristics. This strategic tool, by analysing and targeting specific research end-users defines the communication message to be formulated and the dissemination actions to be carried on in order to promote the uptake of each output analysed. The IDS2 is the first step of the WtaerDIss2.0 process. The implementation of part of the dissemination actions defined by the IDSs2, led to the second result of the WaterDiss2.0 project.
Final result of the WaterDiss2.0 project is secondly materialized through a Recommendation report . This report provides details on the WaterDiss2.0 framework within the SPI as a knowledge brokerage initiative and the methodological basis to gather recommendations to improve this interface. It also presents a set of recommendations for improving the uptake of research results in water and work towards a knowledge brokerage approach in the research of the water sector. Finally, a set of four key recommendations addressed to the European Commission are presented in form of a statement resulting from the Final Workshop of the project.
Finally, one of the main results of the project is presented in “WaterDiss2.0 as a service ”. This report on “how could be a potential service based on WaterDiss2.0 findings?” presents the production of new knowledge and new tools on knowledge brokering. The report explores the future of WaterDiss2.0 project results and the potential ways of implementation. Generally, two propositions can be argued as WaterDiss2.0 as a Service:
• As a training initiative for scientists to better skill them in science communication;
• As a Knowledge brokering service to complement the role of science and fill in the Science-Policy-Practice gap.
Both propositions are further discussed in this report as well as examples of good stories coming from the project activities while working with EU funded research projects.

Project Context and Objectives:
The implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and its daughter directives, as well as the Floods Directive, is not a “Business-as-usual approach” and constitutes an exceptional challenge to water managers and governments across Europe. Assessments of the current status of implementation have shown that less than 40% of water bodies will meet the Good Ecological Status in 2015.
Meeting these objectives in the long run will require additional knowledge and know-how in terms of designing measures and management approaches. This knowledge is however to a large extent generated by EU-funded research, but insufficiently applied to address the challenges occurring in the context of WFD implementation. This concern is shared by many stakeholders, water managers and researchers alike, who have a strong interest in boosting the transfer of research outputs to the real life, like it is shown by the initiative led by some members of the CIS group (WFD Common Implementation Strategy) to run a dedicated SPi (Science-Policy interfacing) working group.
The concept of the project is to add an intermediate step after research like a marketing team in the industry by analysing available research outputs, testing and improving dissemination, knowledge brokering and uptake tools. This step further is developed closely with the stakeholders by involving them within communication and dissemination actions, events dedicated to research outputs and providing them a social network, the European Water Community, for promoting exchanges between the target groups.
All actions undertaken by the WaterDiss2.0 project are consistent with the “SPI European Water cluster” activities conducted by the tree projects WaterDiss2.0 STREAM and STEP WISE.

1st goal: Collecting and analysing project outputs
The first objectives of the WP1 were mainly to gather information about European water project outputs and to develop a dissemination methodology for these outputs (which implies the development of an output analysis methodology).
To reach theses objectives, 63 water research projects have been identified. Among these projects, several were studied more in depth by identifying project objectives, outputs, embedded dissemination activities, and potential future impact of the outputs. Based on the information collected, an in-depth analysis of the projects, of their dissemination activities and the uptake of outputs, was performed. Main barriers and facilitators to research dissemination and uptake were highlighted and semi-structured telephone interviews with selected stakeholders were conducted in order to gather information on their specific needs and to review the proposed methodology.
An Analysis grid was presented and discussed at the Consensus Conference (Berlin, November 2011), in order to validate the approach. By bringing together practitioners and scientists, the conference has contributed to a fruitful knowledge exchange and generated opportunities to enlarge expertise. Feedback and comments from stakeholders, project coordinators and WaterDiss2.0 partners on the drafts were taken up and used to adjust and further develop the Analysis Grid. A final version was presented, which paved the way for the development of the Individual Dissemination Strategy (IDS) template.
This first version of the IDS was revised from May 2012: the review aimed to further develop the framework for analysis and validate the Individual Dissemination Strategy approach, applying it to projects. Also the objective was to propose dissemination and uptake actions to EU-funded research projects addressing key water management challenges, to liaise with project coordinators and link the projects with the tools and activities developed in the WaterDiss2.0 project (dissemination events, publications, EWC,..). The second version was operational in August 2012. The applicability, effectiveness and adequacy of the IDS2 has also been analyzed in two articles that are expected to be published in 2014.
2nd goal: Developing dissemination tools: The European Water Community

The WaterDiss2.0 project has developed a communication platform to allow all water stakeholders to benefit from a common space dedicated to water research in Europe. This platform, called the European Water Community (EWC - www.europeanwatercommunity.eu) has been jointly designed and developed by OIEau and Tripnity. EWC gathered more than 600 members, coming from all sides of water management and policy across Europe. It is dedicated to:
• the researchers, as individual knowledge holders and as members of European consortiums, and the research funding bodies at national level.
• the practitioners, with decision makers (basin authorities, municipalities) and «doers» (suppliers of technologies, consultancies, operators). It was necessary to convince both the ones who accept to host innovation and those who take the risk to develop innovative processes.
This community is a communication platform with the aim to connect science with policy to improve water management in Europe. It is open to all those interested in the science policy interface. Objectives of EWC are
• The exchange of ideas and information regarding research projects, results and research needs between scientists, policy makers and water managers.
• The access to precise description and information related to research outputs themselves and not only to research projects.
3rd goal: Organizing dissemination activities

Most of the actions undertaken by the WaterDiss2.0 consortium dealt in the organization of dissemination events, publications and facilitation of the European Water Community (EWC).
The first phase of the project has helped to refine dissemination and uptake methodologies and to define the most appropriate activities for optimal dissemination of research outputs taking into account the objective of the ownership of these outputs by “end users” and the means available (human and funding) to implement these activities.
The second part of the project was a test and optimization period for dissemination activities and methods developed. The goal was to choose and test, according to the analysis of intrinsic characteristics of each research output, the consistent actions to be carried on according to available funds.
Several types of events were organized. Feedbacks on brokerage events, targeting a wide audience, showed its effectiveness in communicating on WaterDiss2.0 project activities and promoting new tools for research dissemination and uptake. Concerning the dissemination of EU research results and so the implementation of these dissemination tools, summer schools, seminars and e-seminars seems to be more appropriated cause the audience of these events is selected primarily for its thematic interest and level of operability (consistent with characteristics of outputs defined by IDSs2).

The analysis of research outputs and the feedbacks on the organization of dissemination activities led to the formulation of recommendations in terms of dissemination of European water research results.

4th goal: Formulating evaluation, assessment and recommendations:
The ultimate WaterDiss2.0 objective was to develop a set of guidelines for future EU project dissemination, drawing from the lessons learnt throughout the activities evaluation undertaken.
During the first part of the project, a first discussion among project partners risen up on above future guidelines and recommendations WaterDiss2.0 was able to produce at the end of the project for the better implementation of the Science Policy Interface.
The first step of development was dedicated to a conceptual stage in which WaterDiss2.0 set up an in-built evaluation framework which included a multi-method and transversal approach through all project activities. This approach was specifically focussed to address the efficiency and effectiveness of information knowledge flows, of crucial importance for knowledge brokering.
Our activities needed a continuous learning-process to evaluate our contribution to assist the uptake of water-related research results from EU funded projects and to enhance the knowledge flow in the Science-policy-practitioners gap. Thus, a strategy was established to ensure overall quality of our activities through coherence and integration of the day-to-day activities. This strategy was built upon indicators on the effectiveness of dissemination tools, level of uptake of research results and the impact of WaterDiss2.0 activities in the stakeholders’ behaviour. This strategy allowed the collection of impacts and lessons learned. Gathered feedback from this strategy came from (1) the internal feedback from the project partners and (2) external feedback gathered from questionnaires and interviews to our stakeholders.
The analysis of the impacts and activities carried on during the WaterDiss2.0 project led for part to the design of new knowledge brokerage tools and generated recommendations and observations. Experience gathered from WaterDiss2.0 activities provided more clear guidance to overcome addressed challenges such as how to better disseminate research results, how to better communicate science, or how to strength the Water Science- Policy- Industry Interface to become results/benefit-oriented.

WaterDiss2.0 recommendations are addressed to knowledge makers, knowledge users, funding bodies (especially the European Commission) and knowledge brokers. These recommendations are organised following the time line of a research project, starting from the drafting of the call to “after the end” of the project. (More info in section 4.1.4 of this report)

Project Results:
4.1.3.1 WP1: Analysing FP project results

Individual Dissemination Strategy

Design and review process
One central task of the WaterDiss2.0 project was to collect information on FP6/FP7 research projects outputs, analyse their potential future in close collaboration with the research teams, design a Individual Dissemination Strategy (IDS) for each project and chosen output, and then support their transfer to the targeted stakeholders, with the support of dissemination tools, together with real-life events designed for specific audiences. The first period of the WaterDiss2.0 project focused on creating and developing a generic analysis grid and an Individual Dissemination Strategy.
In order to streamline the knowledge about best practice derived from the analysis of the chosen FP6 and FP7 projects into a concept that can be applied to all projects, a generic Analysis Grid was developed. The Analysis Grid is based upon a literature review, questionnaires and interviews with project coordinators and stakeholders and was conducted in the first year of the project. It describes the underlying analysis for building a successful dissemination strategy. With the support of the generic Analysis Grid, research outputs have been assessed in terms of their distance-to-market. It offers an approach on how to reuse these outputs at reasonable cost and reasonable risk. In order to ensure that the approach proposed by the consortium fits the needs of the stakeholders, the draft analysis grid was presented at the Consensus Conference, which took place in November 2011. The approach was discussed with the project coordinators, and key practitioners.
Following on the above described process, it became clear that so far no tool to strategically plan dissemination activities was available. To that reason, WaterDiss2.0 developed a strategic planning tool, the IDS. The Individual Dissemination Strategy (IDS) was designed originally to list and describe the dissemination support activities WaterDiss2.0 was offering. At its core, WaterDiss2.0 encouraged the use of the European Water Community platform (EWC) and offered a total of 20 activities over the course of three years, including workshops, e-seminars, summer schools, and brokerage events. The selection criteria outlined in the IDS supported the choice of the most adequate activities to disseminate the output to its intended target audiences and ensure uptake. The best practices identified during the literature review, questionnaires and interviews informed the execution of these activities.
The IDS was tested in detail during the first period of the project with several EU projects within the WaterDiss2.0 portfolio, and reviewed by a peer group. The peers are members of the project consortium of WaterDiss2.0 and participants at the WaterDiss2.0 summer school. The test and assessment of the IDS resulted in the drafting of the second version of the IDS, the IDS2 mid 2012. The IDS2 is the operational version of the IDS, to be applied to research outputs during the second period of the project.
In the same time, the identification of outputs to be analysed through the IDS2 method was a crucial point. Output factsheets for all 63 research projects were created as well, also when no IDS2 could be developed. This Task was achieved through increased cooperation between WaterDiss2.0 and some project coordinators. Outputs answering to particular criteria were then selected to be analysed through the IDS2 method.

The IDS2: strategic dissemination planning tool
The final IDS2 template is an analysis and strategic planning tool developed by WaterDiss2.0 to identify the best dissemination actions to carry on for EU output dissemination and uptake.
The first step of implementation of the IDS2 was the identification of European research outputs ready for dissemination, likely to meet European legal framework requirements (thanks to the 63 factsheets mentioned above). The WaterDiss2.0 team therefore worked with 25 EU project leaders to design IDS2, to guide their decisions.
A first contact with the coordinator responsible for the output selected allows obtaining his agreement for his participation to the analysis process. The participation of the coordinator is an essential condition for success. The IDS2 then works in stages: characterization of the output and targets. Once clarified these points, it is possible to specify the message you want to draft for optimising the communication and to determine, based on earlier identified targets, the best dissemination strategy to adopt. This strategy takes the form of a list of dissemination actions to be conducted (seminar, e-seminar, summer school, brokerage event, video, policy brief, training, promotion material…). The IDS2 generated too a description of the general circumstances and considerations for dissemination.
Feedback on IDS2 implementation
The interest of project coordinators to engage in the IDS trialling process varies depending on the project timing. Normally more interest was showed when projects were close to the end and research outputs were more elaborated and researchers have more time for dissemination actions. Reason why different approached for a dissemination strategy shall be adopted depending on the timing of the research activity.
Normally all trials were better elaborated when assistance of WaterDiss2.0 partners could be provided. Therefore, the tool even if can be self usable, it is better implemented when guided by knowledge brokers, WaterDiss2.0 partners in this case.
Concerning the transferability to other sectors, the tool is applicable to other applied research projects outside the water domain.
The experiences of European project coordinators revealed that the identification of specific target groups, although essential, was the most time consuming element of the IDS process. Frequently analysed projects lacked a sound characterization of potential users and target groups, both at project level and at output level.


4.3.1.2. WP2: Dissemination strategies and tools

The European Water Community EWC
The WaterDiss2.0 project has developed a communication platform to allow all water stakeholders to benefit from a common space dedicated to water research in Europe. This platform, called the European Water Community (EWC - www.europeanwatercommunity.eu) has been jointly designed and developed by OIEau and Tripnity. EWC gathered more than 600 members, coming from all sides of water management and policy across Europe. It is dedicated to:
• the researchers, as individual knowledge holders and as members of European consortiums, and the research funding bodies at national level.
• the practitioners, with decision makers (basin authorities, municipalities) and «doers» (suppliers of technologies, consultancies, operators). It was necessary to convince both the ones who accept to host innovation and those who take the risk to develop innovative processes.
This community is a communication platform with the aim to connect science with policy to improve water management in Europe. It is open to all those interested in the science policy interface. Objectives of EWC are
• The exchange of ideas and information regarding research projects, results and research needs between scientists, policy makers and water managers.
• The access to precise description and information related to research outputs themselves and not only to research projects. EWC includes also an “EU research results E-Fair” grouping all factsheets mentioned in section 4.3.1.1 of this report.

EWC simplified structure
From the home page, the objective was to have access to the research output first step of analysis (the factsheet level in the WaterDIss analysis process (please refer to section 4.3.1.1 of this report), to the communication platform and to WaterDiss2.0 results.
This simple approach is materialized by the design on the top of 3 blocks each dedicated to a specific access to:
- output pages;
- the logged part of EWC (access to thematic groups, list on the table below);
- the results of the dissemination actions performed by Waterdiss2.0.
A second area highlights research outputs (according to partner’s directives) and the EWC activities.
A third area is dedicated to water news and events and to section research news feed by RSS flux.


Access to information on research outputs


The output page presentation focuses on the most important issues for each output analyzed within the WaterDiss2.0 framework (Factsheets designed during the first part of the project).
For each output, WaterDiss2.0 partners drafted a factsheet including the following topics:
- Output title
- Output type
- Key words
- European directive
- Output description
- Outputs innovative aspects and advantages
- Output state of development
- Target
- Related documents, videos
- Project
- Funding programme
- Start and end dates
- Partners
- Contacts

The display was standardized for all outputs analyzed with an attractive display of texts and vignettes (video, documents, links,…)
All information was available online (by EWC members but also by non-members) in direct factsheet consultation or via a search engine.
A discussion group is generated for each output on the exchange part of the platform. This discussion group is accessible directly from the page of each research output.



4.3.1.3. WP3: FP project dissemination activities

The WaterDiss2.0 Dissemination Strategy

The WaterDiss2.0 project had a complex and interconnected set of objectives, relating to knowledge exchange, and dissemination of results from water EU-funded projects (mainly from FP6 and FP7 programmes, but potentially from other programmes too) to specific relevant stakeholders or end users who would be able to act upon them. These stakeholders could be, amongst others, practitioners, scientists, students, policy makers at EU, member state or regional level, research funders, consulting companies or other businesses and NGOs. The WaterDiss2.0 project then requires an evaluation of appropriate and optimal ways of dissemination of outputs more generally. The IDS process (described in the section WP1 of this report) led to the formulation of the key elements to conduct adequate dissemination actions for each EU research output analysed.

Once the IDS2 was conducted for an output under WP1 activities, the state of development of the output, the good contacts, the message to be promoted, the adequate audience and the means to reach her has been identified.
Starting from this information, it became possible to plan dissemination activities for each output analysed.
The role of the WP3 was to plan and coordinate all events and actions for dissemination.
A wide range of activities have been used for dissemination and included:
1. Events: Seminars, Brokerage events, e-Seminars / Live TV streaming, Summer schools.
2. Posters
3. Papers
4. Articles
5. videos
Output dissemination has been done for part using “predesign event”, adaptable to the specificities of each output and including specificities of each target group.
56 Events have been run (‘designed and animated’) , including some organised in conjunction with major national or international meetings, and some more focussed and specific WaterDiss2.0 activities. Some events have been run as ‘brokerage’ events promoting WaterDiss2.0 activities, other as professional seminars promoting all types of research or cross-cutting themes such as ‘innovation’, and some as ‘thematic’. A series of E-seminars has been carried on in 2013.
The format of meetings has been deliberately adapted, to allow experimentation and evaluation of alternative tactics for knowledge exchange. Some of the presentational techniques have been more experimental, so that proper analysis of their success could have been done. In some cases, material from projects has been specially prepared, and used to support the presentation of results at meetings. For example, a series of videos have been prepared showing European researchers talking about findings from some projects, and used to allow presentation of outputs when the project managers were not able to be physically present. Posters, leaflets and PowerPoint presentations have also been produced. Web-conferencing has been undertaken at some meetings. Some meetings did also serve useful purpose in establishing that the potential set of users of research was wider than originally anticipated.
Focus on brokerage events
Brokerage Events were 1-day side-events (several days during forums) organized back-to-back with or integrated into larger regular events such as trade shows, exhibitions, or conferences that allowed interaction with stakeholders through booths, stands, and posters. Other events at national and international level gave knowledge makers the opportunity to promote their outputs face-to-face to their target audiences and get in touch with potential practitioners that could take up their research results. These events included the sixth World Water Forum in Marseille as well as the IWRM event in Karlsruhe, the World Water Week in Stockholm, and Wasser Berlin International, for example.
The high and diverse audiences of these large events provided a good opportunity for a wide promotion of the research results to create awareness of their existence, and to enlarge the list of potential cross-border contacts.
In the Knowledge Brokerage approach, large events were very effective to foster networking and identify new windows of opportunity. High representative from target groups were frequently attending these events
During some of those large events, WaterDiss2.0 participation was focused in interviewing key actors of the water sector to better gather their views and know more about their needs concerning dissemination of research results (6th World Water Forum, CIS SPI event 2012, Water in the Urban Environment 2013). These semi-structured interviews allowed WaterDiss2.0 partners to gain observations on the current perception of water stakeholders.

Focus on seminars
Seminars allowed for wider dissemination of project outputs in several European countries, adopting a participatory approach. The approaches were effective to analyse the knowledge users’ needs and allow researchers to adapt their outputs while also increasing the visibility of the projects and results. Reaching the local/regional level through these seminars was difficult for many projects that worked rather at EU-level and it may require more resources if translation was needed. Nevertheless, some regional events (like in Limoges in July 2013) have given us the opportunity to promote our results and European research outputs to the regional level.
When these seminars joined existing events, time and work resources were strongly needed to deal with organisational issues, to train speakers (researchers) to communicate about their findings (a speaker guide was designed) and approaching target users to encourage them to participate.
Some of these events were organized during national or european events, allowing the participation of a high number of water stakeholders, thanks to the better geographical accessibility. Those events were a success in the point of view of networking and the creation of social learning spaces, gathering actors from all water sectors.

Focus on e-Seminars
e-Seminars were 2 hours sessions held on Adobe Connect, a webconferencing tool. They needed to be well focalised and are effective tools for very specific issues.
e-Seminars required careful planning and deep understanding of the needs of the targets. as the audience is deliberately reduced, it should be perfectly targeted.
A guide to conduct e-Seminars has been produced. This document guides the WaterDiss2.0 partners both in terms of selection of topics and outputs for e-seminar(s) (consistently with tasks carried on by other partners), in terms of contact and discussion with project Coordinator(s), announcement/invitation to the e-seminar, registration management, drafting of agendas, technical support for connection, speaker Guide and feedback.
As an example, a feedback from the NOVIWAM project: “The E-seminar organized by the WaterDiss2.0 project was a very useful tool because we really need it to target new potential partners to communicate our main results. This E-seminar was very useful because it gives the opportunity to debate with strategic contacts to include into the NOVIWAM cluster. We also had the opportunity to invite an external expert on clustering issues. It’s a lesson learnt for sure. For some milestones in the project, we needed to bring an outside view and expertise to get our message across to our targets. This kind of collaboration and joint initiatives need to be promoted”(Macarena Urena)

Focus on Summer schools
Summer schools targeted young researchers and practitioners aiming to promote inter-relationships, interdisciplinary approaches, and sharing of research with a narrower scope, normally focused on a specific field of science. Two summer schools were organized, one on flood risk management (August 2012, Oxford) and a second on river basin planning and management (August 2013, Venice). These summer schools aimed to provide an opportunity of an intensive capacity building and exchange amongst talented young researchers, PhD students or freelancers from all over Europe with some of the leading academics, researchers and practitioners in the field.
Besides the scientific training service for the audience of those courses, Summer Schools could therefore have specific objectives within the knowledge brokerage approach. One of the objective identified was raising awareness of the types of research that were funded by the EU (and others), that were potentially of value and likely to have impact. We could do that through attracting specific project teams or leaders to talk about their work. For instance in the last summer schools, participants interviewed project coordinators about their approach to dissemination, resulting in a self-understanding of the effectiveness of their dissemination approaches for both interviewers and interviewee. Summer Schools could also raised awareness with these young professionals of the need to engage the end-users of research when initially planning a research proposal. Otherwise it was difficult to ensure that outcomes will be used at all.
From the gathered feedback of these courses, summer schools could engage people and changed in behaviours, thanks to the ‘learning through doing’ approach and not a passive listening to presentations about research. They build plenty of opportunity for the participants to work together on ideas and projects, to collaborate, to critique and to explore new ideas together.
note: WaterDiss2.0 does not provide funding for extensive translation of outputs for example, although the use of simultaneous translation at conference events has been undertaken in 2012, a method that worked very successfully indeed and added immeasurably to the levels of participation of end users. However, lack of resources regarding translation needs not allowed translation during the majority of events organised by the WaterDiss2.0 project.


4.3.1.4. WP4: Assessment of impacts

WaterDiss2.0 assessment process and recommendations
As explained above, over sixty FP6 and FP7 projects either completed or in progress, were reviewed in terms of dissemination and uptake of research results. The projects’ own intended dissemination methodologies were evaluated, and some new methods of engagement have been suggested for adoption, and then trialled. Agreements have encouraged specific forms of dissemination for particular outputs. Interactions with different stakeholders took place; therefore observations on their behaviour could be collected.
The objective of work package 4 was to assess the impact of the Waterdiss activities and to test the project added value, in doing so, this work package checked whether this project is maintaining and enhancing the effectiveness of the science/policy interface and the quality of research results marketing and innovation, through a continuous process of action learning amongst all the partners.
A strategy (According to project Task 4.1- Quality control) was established to ensure overall quality of our activities through coherence and integration of the day-to-day activities. This strategy was built upon a set of indicators on the effectiveness of dissemination tools, level of uptake of research results and the impact of WaterDiss2.0 activities in its stakeholders’ behaviour. The set of indicators for dissemination and uptake is available in the Deliverables 4.1 first version, and the final version was published in Deliverable 4.3. This strategy allowed a systematized collection of impacts and lessons learned. Gathered feedback from this strategy came from (1) the internal feedback from the project partners and (2) external feedback gathered from questionnaires and interviews to our stakeholders.

Resulting from the assessment work, impacts from the project could be collected (see deliverable D4.2 and D4.3) in order to check how WaterDiss2.0 was impacting in increasing the effectiveness of the SPI activities.
The collection of impacts during this project period (see Deliverable D4.3) was clustered in themes in accordance with the progress to date of the project, which was organized as follows:
1/ Impacts from the process of generating data: WaterDiss2.0 activities
1. Developing an analysis on dissemination of FP projects outputs
2. Trialling the Individual Dissemination Strategy (IDS) tool
3. Carrying out dissemination activities
4. Promoting the project
2/ Impacts from the results of the project
5. Improving dissemination patterns and increasing evidence for Knowledge Brokerage – working with researchers
6. Improving uptake of water research results – reaching target audiences
7. Setting up new tools for Knowledge Brokerage
Experience gathered from WaterDiss2.0 activities provided more clear guidance to overcome addressed challenges such as how to better disseminate research results, how to better communicate science, or how to strength the Water Science- Policy- Industry Interface to become results/benefit-oriented. This evidence was translated into the form of recommendations for future dissemination of research outputs arising from the integration of the assessment of project impacts (Task 4.3 Guidelines for future Eu projects) As such, WP4 integrated findings and translated them into recommendations to be taken up from different target groups (Deliverable D4.5). The recommendations and guidelines were validated by WaterDiss2.0 stakeholders during the Final Workshop held in December 2013 in Barcelona. These have been clustered according to their relevance at different stages of research projects, as shown in Figure X. Conclusions from the workshop are reported and published on the project website.



Potential Impact:
WaterDiss2.0 Consensus Conference: Expediting the transfer of european water research. Berlin, 3 – 4 November 2011.
Water practitioners and researchers share a common interest in catalyzing the transfer and use of EU-funded water research outputs in order to meet the policy aims set out in the Water Framework Directive and related directives. The WaterDiss2.0 project, funded within the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technology development (FP7), aimed to improve the processes of research communication and uptake
During the initial project phase, the focus of WaterDiss2.0 has been upon assessing the needs and requirements for improving the dissemination and uptake of research results. For a selection of more than 60 FP6 and FP7 projects, the WaterDiss2.0 consortium was looking to analyse the potential futures of the research outputs in close collaboration with the research teams and to design and help realise dissemination strategies for each individual project.
With this conference, the WaterDiss2.0 consortium aimed to introduce, discuss and validate the WaterDiss2.0 approach to communicating results of EU-funded water research and to promoting their uptake in the water sector. It aimed to emphasize how the WaterDiss2.0 process can be a normal component of the dissemination step of every research project. Finally, by bringing together practitioners and scientists, the conference served as a platform to build and strengthen networks of water professionals, an essential tool in order to better protect our European water bodies.

Evaluation of IDS usability

The Individual Dissemination Strategy framework first and foremost supports dissemination, but contributes to knowledge brokerage and even social learning. This systematic approach offers substantial support for developing effective dissemination for particular outputs, within a few days, provided the user holds expert knowledge on their context and applicability; it is therefore highly cost-effective. Doctoral students (at the Summer School held in Venice in August 2013) have also confirmed that it has the potential to be applied successfully in other types of project, not only in the context of applied European research on water themes, because of the general nature and formulation of the questions. Not every aspect of the IDS needs to be elaborated in detail in order for the strategy to be effective. Rather, depending on the variety of outputs, target groups and project aims, questions assist authors from different backgrounds to establish a logical flow of communication, and prevent them from omitting crucial aspects from their dissemination strategy. Moreover, the IDS has proved to be a useful tool for teaching researchers how to make their dissemination strategies more successful.
The IDS2 could specifically have a positive impact on the following barriers to dissemination:
Easiness to identify outputs
• The identification of the outputs is the first step in the IDS2. To perform this task, normally support of research teams is needed when those outputs are only published in scientific journals. However, the identification of output close to the status of ready-to-be-used does not mean major difficulties and can be identified by WaterDiss2.0 team.
• The prioritization of the outputs is, sometimes, difficult depending on the size of the project. The support and advice of the research project coordinator is important during this step of IDS2.
Identification and Characterization of target users
• Normally, projects analysed by WaterDiss2.0 lacked the characterization on the potential users of their outputs. Frequently, there are multiple target groups and it is not clear which output can be addressed to each of them. There is a lack of specificity of target groups that could be fill in by the IDS2.
• The task of specifying the target groups is evaluated as a difficult one, especially to reach the right contact in the right moment. However partner’s evaluation differs having the context of the nationalities of the WaterDiss2.0 team. Germany, French, Spanish and Italian partners referred more complexity in the structural organizations of the different target. On one hand, some partners (CFFPDDA and GFW) do not see as a barrier this activity; those are training centres which are often getting in contact with the target sectors in their daily work. On the other hand, the technical and research oriented institutions have less barriers in getting in contact with research teams.
• The level of detailed information on the target users often still very generic. An updated list of contacts has been needed during the entire WaterDiss2.0 project and allowed a precise identification of the targets. This is one of the requirements of the IDS2.
Identification of goals and messages for each selected output
• Important is the identification in the precise time of the dissemination activities. Due to the time constraining of EU projects, the specific dissemination activities for each IDS2 should be planned at the beginning of the project.
• Once previous tasks, characterization of the selected output and target have been duly identified, selecting the goals, dissemination tasks, and timing for the output became easier.
• IDS2 is a good support to the collaboration with the project coordinators during the process of identifying topic related events with the specific output from research.
• Normally the identification of one message connected to one output is missed. WaterDiss2.0 experience highlighted that the knowledge brokers need to design a specific message for each of the identified activities and channels to approach the target audience (Spiral – Team 2012; STREA-STEP-WISE, WaterDiss2.0 2012).

Dissemination activities
The modes of dissemination used by the coordinators are theoretically very diverse, and all say they use multiple means, but in practice there continues to be heavy reliance on publishing articles in peer-refereed academic journals, inaccessible to potential users of the findings. Conferences, reports and websites are also almost universally used to 'tell' users about research findings. Early and focussed engagement with particular stakeholders is much less common, and although some projects do seek to involve the general public (particularly local residents and schoolchildren, in river restoration projects, for example), most investigators do not attempt to build a 'community of practice' amongst and with the key stakeholders and users in government and industry
Experiences within WaterDiss2.0 showed that a combination of dissemination means needs be used, addressing the two-directional nature of learning, and contributing to true knowledge exchange. Participatory tools (e.g. communities of practice, mind-mapping, role play, group model building, World Café) have been proven very successful to increase mutual understanding. Differences in timing between the two social systems of the stakeholders and of their language need to be adjusted. This creates the base for a commonly understandable discussion and builds the mandatory framework for knowledge brokerage. More active styles of engagement, such as interactive workshops rather than conferences, appear most effective at prompting take up and genuine learning for application.
WaterDiss2.0 activities enable new participatory methods, but as this happen in both ongoing projects and finished projects, this process could not be effective enough to foster the uptake of the already produced research results. Therefore, effective dissemination need to be well planned and accordingly with the timeframe of the research and with the policy cycle. The analysed project cases showed that uptake of research results is more likely to happen when specific and early attention is paid to the dissemination process itself.
The ‘human’ approach has been an effective channel for dissemination (face-to-face meetings and participatory approaches). When dialogue was enabled and knowledge from both social systems could flow, target users enlarge their awareness on new findings providing innovative solutions for the daily live, and researchers could better understand the priorities and problems of the target groups concerning a certain water issue and thus, integrating such approach in their research activities.

The final WaterDiss2.0 conference: building a dialogue between researchers and knowledge brokers

Sharing of research outcomes amongst researchers and potential users of the findings is a slow process in the water sector. At a time when water resources are under unprecedented pressure from climate change, demand is rising and environmental legislation is tightening, such findings are needed urgently. However, research outputs have typically taken a decade or more before becoming incorporated into new policies, products or services. Knowledge is often missing to build programmes of measures inducing impacts on the implementation of the WFD. Research projects often need support to ensure their outputs are available to potential users on time. There are many challenges in sharing useful research between stakeholder communities, and across international boundaries. The ways in which future EU calls for bids are framed is an important issue too.
For the last three years, the WaterDiss2.0 Project partners have been working with a considerable number of recipients of EU Framework Programme funding to identify strategies for more effective and speedier transfer of research results to intended users.
This workshop aimed to enable participants to find out more about the accomplished work, and both research teams and end-users will benefit. In addition, scientists, policy makers and practitioners had an opportunity to share their own knowledge brokerage experiences, tools and methods, and to add further examples of successful practice to the outcomes of the Project.
To improve the flow of knowledge between science, policy and practice, the workshop provided answers to the following questions:
- Why is the dissemination of EU water-related research poor and slow?
- Why is it so important to develop specific research output dissemination strategies?
- How should the water industry increase the use of knowledge brokerage tools to boost innovation?
- What are the responsibilities and roles of knowledge users, knowledge providers and knowledge brokers?
- What more should the European Union and national funding bodies do to maximize the effective uptake of successful water research outcomes?

WaterDiss2.0 recommendations

The results and activities of WaterDiss2.0 can influence the following groups:
- The “knowledge makers”, (namely the scientists). This group involves researchers in consortia of FP projects (possibly also other research funding programmes). This group comprises relevant actors in the field of research, who is producing new outputs and innovation for the improvement of the water sector.
WaterDiss2.0 aims at assisting some of these knowledge makers by developing Individual Dissemination Strategies (hereafter IDS) for their research outputs.
- The “knowledge users”, (namely the policy-makers and practitioners). This target group comprises actors who will use the above mentioned new knowledge from research activities. This group involves:
a. Policy makers at local, regional, national and international level.
b. Practitioners in the water field (industry)
c. Other stakeholders in the water field, such as suppliers of technology, consultancy services, etc.
Even though the WaterDiss2.0 methodology is more oriented at the knowledge makers, its activities directly influence all target groups. An example of the outreach to target groups is the dissemination activities. Evidence from WaterDiss2.0 activities suggests, that the project has an impact on the target group through:
• supporting the provisioning of new knowledge in terms of research outputs from the list of projects analysed,
• a better characterization of targets thanks to the matrix of tools and actors, and
• an in-depth understanding of the projects WaterDiss2.0 was responsible for and the development of IDS2, which helped to guide projects to increase the uptake of their research results.
- The European Commission and other funding bodies. This group refers to the developers of strategic research agendas and providers of funding.
The final results of WaterDiss2.0 aim at providing guidelines on core elements to better draft dissemination strategies for future research project answering the funding calls, which might also help the proposal evaluation process.
- The Knowledge brokers , including SPI groups (Water SPI cluster , CIS-SPI group ).WaterDiss2.0 keeps permanent contact with this group. The results from WaterDiss2.0 activities include the following achievements: exchange of new experiences and evidences and the provision of new knowledge (Outputs list, contacts, etc.) and methodologies and tools.


The WaterDiss2.0 project activities generated evidence and observations about dissemination of European-funded water project findings from project partners and a wide variety of other stakeholders. This evidence was translated into the form of recommendations arising from the integration of the assessment of project impacts. These have been clustered according to their relevance at different stages of research projects.
It is outside the scope of WaterDiss2.0 to produce tools on how to better identify market needs. However, the project aims to analyse the needs of the potential users groups and provides knowledge for both, the researchers and the practitioners /policy-makers on their different needs and attitudes and how to overcome these. WaterDiss2.0 tries to reduce the distance between the two societal systems concerning the knowledge transfer process, by promoting research outputs, collecting feedback, presenting knowledge in an innovative way and providing all stakeholders with a platform for communication, etc. In that sense recommendations are provided on how to better reach the groups, which channels match better, etc…
All above mentioned issues are transversal to the lifetime of a research project. Therefore, recommendations are clustered in themes according to the timing of research projects:
a. When writing the proposals
b. When planning the dissemination strategies
c. When implementing the activities

During the Final Workshop, a working session was organised to outline and validate WaterDiss2.0 recommendations for future projects and grant applications. Mediated break-out discussion groups, led to a structured gathering of opinions from the stakeholders. As a result following sections provided the validated recommendation by the stakeholders and some additional recommendations coming from project partners’ observations and lessons learned.
Finally, specific key recommendation are addressed to the European Commissions to be integrated in research contracts from approved proposals of funding programmes, aiming at minimizing obstacles and raising the awareness of the research teams.
Lists of the main recommendations with their time-lines are presented below:

Impacts of WaterDiss through recommendations when writing calls/funding programmes and responding to research proposals
A first set of recommendations is designed to improve the content of EU calls and funding programmes, as well as the process of writing research proposals in the field of water.
Recommendations in this section are clustered in three major themes. The first concerned obligations that should be included in the text of the calls and the grant agreements. The second concerned the phase for evaluation of proposals by the European Commission. The third referred to the stage at which proposals are written.

Figure 4
 Obligations in the calls
• RECOMMENDATION 1 – Involve a dissemination expert within the steering committee.
• RECOMMENDATION 2 – Guide project coordinators in the drafting of dissemination strategies, by providing a guide.
• RECOMMENDATION 3 – Create a central database on research needs, including needs expressed by stakeholders in water sector.

 Evaluation of proposals
• RECOMMENDATION 4 – Dissemination specialists should be included in teams that evaluate the proposals. RECOMMENDATION 5 – Evaluators should have a good overview of all the proposals in the call, assisted by a classification tool to avoid excessive overlap of projects.
• RECOMMENDATION 6 – Innovative means of dissemination, and appropriate analysis of the impact of using these, should be rewarded.

 When writing proposals
• RECOMMENDATION 7 - Engage target users in the proposals, by direct involvement in the consortium and, preferably, as part of the project steering committee.
• RECOMMENDATION 8 - Connect proposed projects clearly and unambiguously with a sector demand.
• RECOMMENDATION 9 - Include two types of project coordinators: Technical and Dissemination specialists.


Impacts of WaterDiss through recommendations during a research project development
Another set of recommendations concerns the lifetime of individual research projects.

Figure 5

• RECOMMENDATION 10 – Target group identification should be given priority
• RECOMMENDATION 11 - Creating ownership: Including stakeholders (=target group) into the projects from the beginning.
• RECOMMENDATION 12 - Creating a dialogue between stakeholders and the project consortium
• RECOMMENDATION 13 - Promoting the use of existing central knowledge hubs for information exchange (e.g. CORDIS)
• RECOMMENDATION 14 - Ensure communication activities include k* (knowledge brokering, translating and disseminating).
• RECOMMENDATION 15 - Ensure a common understanding of language among all stakeholders

Impacts of WaterDiss through recommendations when research is completed
Last set of recommendations are relating to the period after a research project is finished, when results are ready to be used.

Figure 6

• RECOMMENDATION 16 - Freely accessible and searchable EC-sponsored repository for research results and associated information.
• RECOMMENDATION 17 - Encourage a ‘confederation’ of recognised European research centers to interchange results.
• RECOMMENDATION 18 - Projects should allocate funding for dissemination of research findings after the end of the research phase of the project, by engaging with technology platforms during and after the project.
• RECOMMENDATION 19 - Maintaining relations with longstanding stakeholders, such as river basin commissions or their equivalent.
• RECOMMENDATION 20 - Making better use of connections with existing and ongoing professional and social networks.
• RECOMMENDATION 21 - The Commission should consider funding specific dissemination activities based on suites of completed projects, such as international study tours, group visits to pilot sites and educational or training activities.

Impacts of WaterDiss through recommendations to the European Commission
The following statement contains a set of four key recommendations, which are concerned with the needs of stakeholders and the potential actions by the Commission to improve dissemination of research findings in the water sector and elsewhere. This statement resulted from the discussions and debate during the final WaterDiss2.0 workshop (Barcelona 2-3 December, 2013). It was an agreed statement from participants, addressed to the Commission.
RECOMMENDATION 1: Conduct a review of outcomes of completed lines of funding to consider lessons learned from projects (including on the effectiveness of knowledge brokering), and to avoid duplication of effort in future programmes and projects. Specifically:
• Designate a senior project manager for project coordination at the EC to transform derived knowledge from programmes and projects into information accessible to end users.
• Specify a small number of managed and accessible repositories for research outputs and logging of end user needs.
• Consider rebalancing the budgets of whole programmes to reserve an element for knowledge exchange during the life of the programme and beyond.
RECOMMENDATION 2: Ensure that every call includes a requirement for knowledge brokering to be identified explicitly within project descriptions.

RECOMMENDATION 3: Ensure adequate funding is provided for the full suite of knowledge brokering activities including knowledge dissemination, translation and brokering by re-balancing budgets of European calls.
• Consider such rebalancing at programme and/or project level as appropriate.

RECOMMENDATION 4: When reviewing bids, ensure that adequate attention is paid to knowledge brokering activities within the proposed programme of work.
Specifically:
• Generate an expectation that knowledge exchange activities are specified in some detail.
• Consider specifying the appropriate proportion of funding to be allocated to such activities within a project.
• Consider specifying an appropriate proportion of the project funding for knowledge exchange activities beyond the end of the research timeframe.

List of Websites:
www.waterdiss.eu
The project website is operational since April 2011.
The second version of this website has been done in June 2011.

www.europeanwatercommunity.eu
The communication platform is operational since March 2011.
The second version is operational since mid-October 2012.