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EcoWeb a dynamic e-dissemination platform for EU eco-innovation research results

Final Report Summary - ECOWEB (EcoWeb a dynamic e-dissemination platform for EU eco-innovation research results)

Executive Summary:
The dissemination of EU-funded research results is usually done by the individual projects through dedicated project websites and several dispersed communication channels. To help enterprises, in particular Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to find results and benefit from EU-funded research, the ECOWEB platform has been developed. It aims at removing access barriers to EU funded eco-innovations by showcasing and promoting them in a novel, dynamic, and user-centred online application.
The objective of the ECOWEB project was to set up a user-friendly online platform for green technology and knowledge transfer to European companies. In a particularly collaborative approach, the consortium developed ECOWEB as an intelligent and highly automated online "one stop shop" that displays up-to-date information about research projects and their results.
ECOWEB automatically collects information about eco-innovations from the databases of the EU funding programmes FP6 , FP7 , CIP , and LIFE+ , expands the content with relevant data from the projects' websites, and enriches the content semantically. In addition, ECOWEB offers project coordinators the ability to update and maintain the contents regularly.
In this two-year project, the ECOWEB project team contacted over seven hundreds European multipliers to inform them about ECOWEB, encourage them to actively spread the word among their members, and engage them in usability tests to gather feedback on the platform prototypes. To extend ECOWEB's reach, the consortium partners formed partnerships with dozens of these multipliers: ECOWEB is connected with a network of SMEs and enterprises all over Europe in order to reach the maximum number of potential users.
As a result of the communication efforts of the ECOWEB project (potentially reaching 200,000 stakeholders through different channels) and the inherent interest for eco-innovations that brings numerous users through search browsers (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), the ECOWEB platform has achieved more than 15,500 unique visitors exceeding the 10,000 unique visitors per year objective. From this use of the platform, on average 25 (after the project phase) to 30 (during the last 2 months of the project phase) project contacts are clicked for viewing each week.
In the long-run, ECOWEB will lead to an increased uptake of eco-innovative solutions and the creation of new and sustainable products, processes and services, as well as the improvement of existing methods and technologies.
Project Context and Objectives:
Every year the European Union funds hundreds of R&D and innovation projects to link sustainability and economic growth, aiming at boosting eco-innovations. Although the EU achieves a remarkably high annual rate of growth of eco-innovations, transfer to SMEs, 99% of all European businesses , is rather low. Some of the barriers to an accelerated uptake of eco-innovations are the limited access to external information and knowledge, and the lack of suitable business partners or collaboration with research institutes and universities.
The dissemination of EU-funded research results is usually done by the individual projects through dedicated project websites and several dispersed communication channels.
To help enterprises, in particular Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to find and benefit from EU-funded research, the online platform ECOWEB has been developed. It aims at removing access barriers to research results by showcasing and promoting them in a novel, dynamic, and user-centred online application, and to ease the partnerships.
Objective 1

Set up a user-friendly online platform for the transfer of EU-funded green technology and knowledge to European SMEs. In the long-run, ECOWEB will lead to an increased uptake of eco-innovative solutions and the creation of new and sustainable products, processes and services, as well as the improvement of existing methods and technologies.
Objective 2

Streamline the dissemination of EU funded research results from projects on eco-innovations and clean technologies through a single entry point.

Objective 3

Connect existing networks and multipliers to the platform and engage a selected number to act as ambassadors of ECOWEB platform and to engage stakeholders.

Objective 4

Increase collaboration between research, business and networks of enterprises (in particular SMEs) in Europe.

Objective 5

Monitor the use of the platform to identify the eco-innovations and topics of interest for users and the availability of these within the EU-funded results.
Project Results:
• ECOWEB platform
Along 24 months the first platform for European eco-innovations was developed in several stages and iterations applying an "agile development approach", which allowed reacting to changing requirements or priorities quickly.

[Figure 1: ECOWEB Platform Development Roadmap and Features]

Understanding the users’ needs
The user-friendly ECOWEB platform provides several search functionalities and services to find, promote, share and stay informed about European eco-innovative research results.
As the ECOWEB project aimed to promote and foster the uptake of EU research results in the area of eco-innovations by SMEs as well as by national and pan-European networks, key success factors to this endeavour were:
- a clear understanding of the stakeholders’ information needs,
- making the information available in a form that satisfies their varied information needs and expectations.
Therefore, a distinctive characteristic of the ECOWEB project was its close consideration of the end users during all stages, from the requirement analysis to the finished platform, and throughout all development stages. Thus, the consortium followed a user-centred design process with extensive usability evaluations involving actual users. In the different test iterations of the platform mock-ups and prototypes, around 125 people participated in several user tests (e.g. eye tracking studies, questionnaires, cognitive walkthroughs, focus groups).

[Figure 2: Usability engineering process (Ziegler, J. (n.d.). Lecture notes, University of Duisburg-Essen)]

In the final usability tests (summative evaluation) scenario-based usability lab tests were conducted in each project partner country (Austria, France, Germany, and Italy), aiming at testing ECOWEB against requirements that were set up in the task analysis as well as against the usage of similar systems. With regard to the latter, ECOWEB was compared to CORDIS (database for EU Framework Programme funded projects). The results revealed that participants were extremely satisfied with the provided search functionalities (the Guided Search and the Virtual Library) on ECOWEB. With regard to likelihood of usage, 69.5% of the stakeholders stated that they are planning on using ECOWEB to search for eco-innovations. In addition, 88% of the lab test participants considered that ECOWEB is a useful tool to search for eco-innovations.
• ECOWEB functionalities and services
The user-centred approach when building ECOWEB guarantees the final product matches the users’ needs regarding the information offered about EU-funded eco-innovations and the speed at which relevant information can be found.
In the subsequent sections, we will feature the most important elements of the ECOWEB platform.
The home page (see screenshot below in Figure 2.1) offers a primary access point to the ECOWEB platform with a description of the platform's motivation, a quick entry to the search functionality, and an overview of featured eco-innovations that can be found on ECOWEB.

[Figure 3: ECOWEB Home Page]

From the main page all search functionalities are accessible. ECOWEB offers several different search functionalities.

ECOWEB functionalities
The Keyword-based Search helps ECOWEB users who already have an idea of what they wish to find.
The Virtual Library offers various filters to drill down and narrow the list of eco-innovations by, for instance, topic, tangible and intangible outcomes, participating partner countries, readiness level. The Virtual Library was designed to support users, who already have an idea of what they want to find and displays results in a clear structure.

[Figure 4: ECOWEB Virtual Library]

The ECOWEB Guided Search assists the users at finding suitable results. It is targeted at users that may not have a clear understanding of what they are looking for or who are new to the domain of eco-innovations. The interactive search guides for environment, society, energy, as well as material and production related topics ask several need-oriented questions to find out about the users current information needs to immediately recommend suitable eco-innovations.

[Figure 5: ECOWEB Guided Search]

The Semantic Search analyses the users’ search terms to suggest contextually related Guided Search instances, in which related answers are already selected.

[Figure 6: ECOWEB Semantic Search]

Once the user has found an interesting eco-innovation, the ECOWEB platform displays all relevant information about the eco-innovation in a well-arranged and easily accessible structure in the eco-innovation profile.

[Figure 7: Example of a search result Profile]

While ECOWEB focuses on eco-innovations rather than projects, it does support users wanting to search for projects through the Project Index.

[Figure 8: Project Index]

Finally, if the users want to have an overview of the most prominent topics, countries, and eco-innovations on ECOWEB, they can have a look in the Statistics Section.

[Figure 9: Statistical overview]

ECOWEB services
Besides the varied search options, the platform offers various services to help users to stay informed on the latest eco-innovations and share them with their networks easily.
Users can register to receive information about ECOWEB as well as promising eco-innovations through newsletter services or RSS feeds. The information can even be customised via the RSS feeds or via a customised Newsletter (an email digest) for the four main categories: environment, society, energy, and material and production.
The social share bar on each eco-innovation and project profile page allows users to quickly connect and share individual eco-innovations they have discovered on ECOWEB with their social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn or via e-mail.
The ECO-bag (bookmarks manager) helps users save interesting eco-innovations while browsing on ECOWEB. The list can be printed, sent via e-mail or saved as a PDF version, making it easy to share several eco-innovations at once.
Project or dissemination managers of projects featured on ECOWEB may use the platform to request access to the ECOWEB Content Updater to keep the information about their eco-innovations up-to-date.
ECOWEB also offers a contact service, which may be used to send contact requests to individual project members, without revealing their email addresses.
More sophisticated, the Eco-Innovation Boxes are applications that may be integrated in third-party websites easily as an HTML iframe. They support sharing eco-innovations quickly and their effortless distribution among a large audience. Users can chose between two types:
a) the Result List Box is a rotating widget that displays individually eco-innovations in the preselected field of interest. It offers several options to configure the rotation type, size, colour, and content.

[Figure 10: Screenshot showing the selection of a Result List Box]

b) the Guided Search Box is offered in five variations for the topics energy, society, environment, material and production, as well as a general box focusing on different research outcomes. It allows users to answer questions and immediately receive recommendations for most suitable eco-innovations.

[Figure 11: Screenshot showing the selection of a Guided Search Box]

• ECOWEB database: Intelligent Data Management
The ECOWEB ontology
ECOWEB has a comprehensive homogeneous database that covers holistic information of particular relevance from past and current EU funded projects on eco-innovations as a basis for the ECOWEB platform.
An ECOWEB ontology was developed containing an extensive taxonomy of 112 eco-innovative topics, such as energy efficient transport, risk management methods or waste treatment. The ECOWEB ontology is the core of the ECOWEB platform, as it describes all:
- elements to define a project (e.g. runtime, objective, goal, participating partners...)
- elements to define an eco-innovation (e.g. approach, outcome, status,...)
- elements to classify an eco-innovation (e.g. topic, result type, implementation area,...)
It was crucial to "get the structure right" to help users find what they are looking for quickly - even if they used different terms to describe it.
Automated integration and update of European eco-innovations
An important element for the sustainability of ECOWEB was to automate as much as possible the integration of eco-innovation projects into the database, as well as to update, revise, and enrich the given information. A semi-automated workflow as depicted in the following graph was set up.

[Figure 12: Data integration workflow]

It covers all steps from (1) the integration of new projects, (2) the automated expansion, (3) the semantic enrichment of content, (4) the validation by the individual project coordinators or dissemination managers and finally, to (5) the management of the integrated data in a data management backend.
ECOWEB Maintenance and Monitoring Tools
The effective maintenance and monitoring of ECOWEB Platform is supported by 6 (semi-)automated tools that facilitate

1) automated integration and updating of eco-innovative projects and their results
2) revision and editing of the integrated contents
3) synchronisation with the ECOWEB platform
4) gathering insights for the improvement of the ECOWEB Search functionalities
5) event notification after database changes and platform interactions
6) monitoring of the platform performance and report generation

Figure 13 depicts the high-level view of the components and their interrelations. The individual components are described further in chapter 3.


[Figure 13: ECOWEB Maintenance and Monitoring System - Overview]

A web-based dashboard that allows accessing and monitoring all relevant performance data of the ECOWEB platform through a single entry point.
ECOWEB Performance Monitoring System
The ECOWEB Monitoring Dashboard allows easy access to all analytics tools that have been connected to the ECOWEB platform. These include
 Google Analytics - to gain insights into how visitors use the site and how or from where they arrived at the site as well as automated reporting

 Process Performance Monitoring and Analytics - gives information on the performance of the ECOWEB Search Guides (e.g. popular topics, most answered questions, most frequently selected answers)

 Social Share - informs about the social activities on the site (e.g. most shared projects and eco-innovations and generated click-backs to ECOWEB)

 Content Statistics - provides an overview of the ECOWEB database status (e.g. number of projects and eco-innovations, time of last update by project managers, number of integrated eco-innovation boxes on third-party sites)

• ECOWEB Partners & list of actors directly informing/interacting with SMEs

The approach of the ECOWEB project was to bring tailor made information to SMEs not only directly via the platform but also by collaborating with the right multipliers and using their channels.
The ECOWEB team’s communication strategy was based on the setting-up of close collaboration with the so-called multipliers , a part from the general dissemination and promotion activities.
The subsequent efforts were then concentrated on building up a broad and detailed network of multipliers that will be well-informed and will have the potential to fulfil the SMEs needs towards regional (geographic proximity, allowing personal contact, support in native language, etc.) and sector-based specification (multiple multipliers for each region, according to their sector-based spread), instead of grouping the SMEs directly.
Although each potential ECOWEB multiplier usually has a specific target group, in most cases they reach SMEs dealing with different kinds of subjects that might be linked to eco-innovations. To find out which multipliers might be valuable to reach which group of SMEs (region, sector) a classification structure was established to list the different multipliers to contact afterwards. This resulted in a list of around 700 multipliers covering all sectors and all European countries.
A part from informing the identified multipliers about ECOWEB, close collaboration was sought with a number of them to actively spread the word about ECOWEB to their members and through their media channels. The goal was to create a trans-European network of multipliers that will act as ECOWEB ambassadors in the different countries and sectors.
The project partners collected addresses of multiplier in their country as well as in other European countries and from outside Europe. The multipliers were selected according to the following criteria:
- organisation with an existing network to SMEs potentially interested in eco-innovations
- having many direct contacts to SMEs
- having origin interest to inform SMEs
All together 706 multipliers were contacted by e-mail, the most promising multipliers have been additionally contacted by telephone (176 multipliers) and with 81 multipliers a face to face contact has been organised to discuss the opportunities of cooperation.
The majority of the multipliers were located in the countries of the project partners (Germany, Italy, Austria and France), but also 74 international multipliers and 175 national multipliers from other countries different to those represented by the ECOWEB consortium, have been contacted.


National multipliers from other European countries than those represented by the ECOWEB project partner countries origin mainly from Spain (23), Denmark (17), Slovenia (16), Sweden (9), UK (9), Belgium (8), Bulgaria (8), Rumania (8) and Poland (7).
The multipliers, which cooperated with ECOWEB, where quite equable distributed to the 14 different sectors of eco-innovations. This causes as many multipliers covered the entire range of sectors in their field of activities.
Indeed, users have easy access to ECOWEB partners and ambassadors in their region and/ or sector that can offer support for their needs and in best case, directly in their native language.
Potential Impact:
In this section, on the one hand, we will describe the main dissemination activities and their performance and, on the other hand, we will judge the overall potential impact of the platform. Finally, we will advance the future plans for the platform’s sustainability.

a. Main dissemination activities

ECOWEB is first and foremost a knowledge and technology transfer initiative aiming to increase the uptake of EU-funded eco-innovations by enterprises, especially SMEs. As such, the online platform was developed for the benefit of SMEs (as users) and the EU-funded projects with eco-innovation results from the European Commission funding programmes Framework Programme (FP6 and FP7), CIP, and LIFE+ (to improve their dissemination). However, the communication efforts were also focused on another key target group: multipliers and networks of enterprises such as sector and professional associations, chambers of commerce, incubators, technological platforms and regional agencies which are in direct contact with SMEs. During the development stages of the platform all these three first level groups were involved in the design and contents of the platform to create a user-centred platform. Other secondary target groups were campaigners and interest groups such as existing initiatives supporting or leading to eco-innovations at EU level and institutions funding for and informing on innovation and research. Different instruments were used to address these different target groups.

[Figure 14: Members of the ECOWEB stakeholder community]

Promotion materials
In order to achieve an as-broad-as-possible spread of information, ECOWEB used several different dissemination instruments addressed at these different target groups, as described in table 1 below.

[Table 1: Type of dissemination outputs and activities in ECOWEB]

Promotion & dissemination activities
Most of the dissemination efforts were shifted towards the end of the project with the availability of the first public platform prototype. In the first 18 months the whole consortium was more concentrated on the development of the core parts of the platform, and gathering impressions and testing communication for full dissemination from April 2013.
The approach of ECOWEB was to raise awareness of ECOWEB within SMEs directly and indirectly reach them via multipliers and partners, and other stakeholders (media, the funding programmes involved, etc.) that would work as supporters in spreading the message. The purpose of our dissemination actions was divided into informing/promoting the platform in general to our stakeholder community and in to engaging some stakeholders with direct contact with or channels to reach a broader number of SMEs.
To increase the visibility and the knowledge about ECOWEB, the consortium implemented several promotional actions such as participating in events focusing on eco-innovations or innovations in general and the publishing of articles in sector media at regional, national and European level.
For some dissemination actions we collaborated with other projects and initiatives such as FP7 ENVIMPACT, ECOPOL, ECO-PRO, EraSME, etc. A more detailed list of dissemination activities is provided in Section 2the Template A2: List of all dissemination activities. Here, we only provide a short overview of some high-impact activities of the project and their performance:

• Dissemination at events around Europe
ECOWEB project’s team travelled to relevant eco-innovation related conferences and events throughout Europe to present ECOWEB and invited multipliers to participate in.
With a small consortium composed by seven partners, the ECOWEB project managed to be officially present in the agenda of 41 events throughout Europe - surpassing the objective of participating in 2 events per dissemination partner. In addition, we encouraged the participation from those member states which are not involved as project partners, by presenting ECOWEB in events in eight other countries (BG, HU, PL, IR, PL, BE, LU, DK) covering areas such as CEE and North Europe; meeting visitors from all around Europe.

• Potentially reached audience in events
The active dissemination of ECOWEB in national and international events is estimated to could have reached potentially an audience of 72,203 people participating in these as visitors or exhibitors/speakers. In total 2,757 ECOWEB-brochures were handed in to people interested in ECOWEB. In the different events, the most used tool for dissemination was a public presentation of ECOWEB, performed in 24 occasions, followed by setting up (or sharing) a booth or stand.
Around 25% of the events attended were targeted to EC funding topics were R&D or innovation projects candidates to be part of the ECOWEB database and European eco-innovation related initiatives were present. In the rest, the events were mainly business orientated and focused on one or multiple eco-innovation related topics thus included enterprises and their representatives or support networks.
On the whole, the promotion activities performed in the different events did not directly have an immediate big repercussion in the visits to the platform. Either the audience of the events was too reduced or the competition with other simultaneous activities was bigger. Nevertheless, the objective was not to bring immediately a big number of visitors but to raise awareness within the visitors and exhibitors or speakers and to establish collaboration agreements with some organisations and networks following the Communication Plan of WP4 to “activate multipliers” to spread the word about ECOWEB on the short and long term. As a result from the active participation in 41 events since the public launch of the platform in April 2013, ECOWEB managed to raise the interest of 30 multipliers from 10 countries to become “ECOWEB Partners ” and disseminate information about ECOWEB actively.

Event highlights:
• 4ème Forum National des éco-entreprises in Paris, 4 April 2013: The Eco-enterprises National Forum is a yearly event that gathers all kinds of French stakeholders which activities are in the environment sectors. It focuses on innovation, business development and tools to promote and develop the environment field. This was the first public event were the ECOWEB platform was presented publicly to various stakeholders. PEXE partner held a presentation to raise awareness at the conference dedicated to innovation. All the 400 participants of the conference received the updated ECOWEB brochure (for stage-II, i.e. focused on the platform presentation) in the folders handed in to the participants.
• Highlights der Energieforschung (Highlights of the energy research activities) in Vienna, 21 May 2013: ÖGUT had a stand and ECOWEB-brochures were distributed to the participants of the conference. According to the title of the event the participants were strongly interested in getting information about research activities. Especially before the presentation, during the lunch break and after the official programme, many contacts to high level decision maker could be made for instance the Upper Austrian Umweltcluster, the Umweltcluster Vienna as well as the Umweltcluster Eco World could be convinced to become ECOWEB-partner. Following this, they disseminated ECOWEB at their newsletters and websites. Some weeks later the Umweltcluster Vienna also participated in the high level stakeholder meeting on 1st July 2013, the ÖGUT-Themenfrühstück: Verbreitung von Eco-Innovation Forschungsergebnissen auf internationaler Ebene.
• “Technology Cooperation Days” at Hannovermesse, Hannover, 9-11 April 2013: The event consisted of pre-organized 30 minutes meetings. Meetings were held with chambers of commerce, the deputy Vice-president for Knowledge Transfer from the Spanish Ministry of economic affairs and competitiveness, business consultants, sales managers, innovation incubators and mangers. At the Hannovermesse itself we presented ECOWEB to some regional chambers of commerce from Germany, Italy and Austria. As a result of this event some organisations became ECOWEB-partners or made ECOWEB public via their communication channels (website, newsletter).
• South-East European Eco Forum – Save the Planet Conference and Exhibition, Sofia (BG), 30 May 2013: The ‘Save the Planet’ Exhibition encourages the technology transfer to the South-East European market in the waste management, recycling and environment sectors within the framework of the South-East European Eco Forum. Eutema attended the event to target multipliers from South-Eastern European countries and European networks of environmental experts participating in the conference. Different tools from the forum were employed: forum newsletter (sent to around 15,000 readers which resulted in directly 90 readers clicking in the ECOWEB URL link in May), customized booth, presentation slot and 1-to-1 meetings.
In the conference, Mr. Kristof De Smet Vice-President from the European Network of Environmental Professionals (ENEP) was engaged to collaborate with ECOWEB. As a result, a member of the ENEP attended the following week our ECOWEB Workshop (organised by APRE and UDE) in the Green Week, and the network promotes the ECOWEB platform.
In the booth and in 1-to-1 meetings, around 60 contacts from Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Germany and Netherlands interested in receiving information from ECOWEB were made, resulting in follow-up activities with 20 of them, one SME user offered to give a testimonial of their successful use of ECOWEB and gaining five “ECOWEB Partners” (active collaborators).
• Green Week Workshop & Stand, Brussels, 4-7 June 2013: APRE in collaboration with UDE and eutema decided to organise a satellite event at APRE Liaison Office in Brussels on 4 June and applied for a booth at the GREEN WEEK conference in Brussels. Within the satellite event two workshops on how to use ECOWEB the most efficiently to search for eco-innovations were conducted by UDE. Participants were asked to perform some search tasks by using the different search functionalities provided on ECOWEB. Afterwards, concrete solutions were presented and discussed.
During the event, it was possible to meet researchers, SMEs, policy bodies, NGO organization active in air quality sector. After the event:
- Simon Pascoe (Project Officer, ENEP European Network of Environmental Professionals
Brussels) integrated the Eco-Innovation Box in its website: http://enep.ngo.im/
- Giuseppe Spanto (Chief Executive Officer, Innovation in Sciences & Technologies – Is TECH) became one of ECOWEB partners: http://www.ecoweb.info/partners
For more information about ECOWEB’s participation and dissemination in events, consult the project’s public deliverable D5.3.

• Articles about ECOWEB
Also the Publishing of articles about ECOWEB was shifted towards the last part of the project resulting in more than 84 articles published in in various media like newsletters and magazines of chambers of commerce and clusters, surpassing the objective of 2 articles per dissemination partner. For a full list of articles published, see Template A2: List of all dissemination activitiessection 2.

b. Evaluation of communication activities (WP4 and WP5)

• Dissemination outputs versus outcomes

[Table 2: Results of performance metrics of dissemination efforts in the ECOWEB Project during M1-M24]

On the whole, the dissemination activities have increased direct and referral traffic to the ECOWEB platform as the figure 2.1 shows. The notorious dissemination activities carried out during the last three months with the participation in 17 events and the publishing of 59 articles in different channels has paid-off bringing directly interested users to ECOWEB, representing around 65% of all users.

[Figure 15: Evolution of the Traffic Sources of the ECOWEB platform.]

The direct traffic resulting from our communication and dissemination efforts origins mainly from European countries (with the exception of the US)

[Figure 16: Direct Traffic 1 Apr – 16 Sep 2013]

The impact of the ECOWEB project’s dissemination and communication activities is visible in the platform use when looking at the evolution of the traffic to the platform. There are notorious traffic peaks when the consortium performed mass mailings to different stakeholder groups or with some articles published in high impact media.

[Figure 17 Evolution of traffic to the ECOWEB Platform from April 1st till September 16th of 2013]

• Activation of multipliers from WP4 activities
On the whole, 134 multipliers around Europe have supported the spread of ECOWEB in the last months of the project phase and a few of them will remain a reference point in different countries. The most used way of collaboration was to distribute public information (107), e.g. by placing an article in a newsletter or in a magazine. 16 multipliers placed the ECOWEB logo at their website and 4 multipliers established a widget at the website and 5 multipliers used other ways of distribution.
The potential numbers of stakeholders, which may have been reached by the activities of the multipliers, is estimated by key figures as print run of print media, number of recipients at newsletter as well as by estimated visits of websites. According to these assumptions about 177,000 stakeholders have been reached in total.


c. Potential overall impact

• Platform users numbers
The objective of the ECOWEB project to have 10,000 users per year in the platform has been more than surpassed reaching more than 20,000 visit in 5,5 months from which over 15,500 are unique visitors.

[Figure 18: Visits vs. Unique Visits - Since Launch on the 2nd of April 2013 till 16th of September 2013]

In addition, the number of returning visitors has also been increased from an initial 18% to a 30% in average as we can see from the pie charts in figure 19. This fact shows the good acceptance of ECOWEB with users returning to it short after the first visit and impression.

[Figure 19: Comparison of new visitors vs. returning visitors short after the platform launch and after intense dissemination efforts]

• Contacted projects
The evaluation of the actual uptake of results is an intricate and sensitive matter. The ECOWEB consortium opted for indirect parameters such as the contacting through the platform’s contact forms. As it has acknowledged that users preferred to contact project partners per phone or searching their direct email address, an additional metric was implemented: the users’ clicking on contact details (the sub-pages “contact-service”.
Through the contact form to contact individually partners involved in a particular eco-innovation, thirteen contact requests have been registered since the launch of the final platform (July 1st 2013). Although few contact requests, these are mainly from SMEs located in a different European country, to that/those form the consortium, interested in the particular eco-innovation either for direct take-up or for technology transfer to their clients. An example is an eco-conscious hotel in Great Britain interested in sustainable ceramic tiles developed (by an Italian - Czech-Republic consortium) from a new recycled material that would resist the particular environmental conditions of this hotel.
The sub-page “contact service” is installed since 1st of July 2013. If a visitor opens this page, we can conclude, that he/she wants to know more about the partner than the name of the organisations, the name of the contact person and the website of the coordinator. In this case, the user will find out the telephone number of the coordinator and of the project partners. This active step allows indicating a certain likelihood of actual contacting.
Already within the period 1st July – 16th September 2013, these subpages have been opened 296 times, where contact data of 267 projects were viewed. From this use of the platform, we can predict that on average 25 (after the project phase) to 30 (during the last 2 months of the project phase) project contacts will be weekly clicked for viewing.

[Figure 20 Number of page views of the ECOWEB sub-page “contact-service” within the period 1st July – 16th September 2013]

On 19th July 2013 an e-mail with a link to a Google Drive survey was sent to 1,328 addresses of project partners and coordinators of 149 projects (out of about 3,000 projects). Until the 12th August 2013, 84 people answered the survey regarding project contacts. Out of them 72 declared that they did not have been contacted, 12 persons declared that they have been contacted due to the presentation of their project at ECOWEB. The organisations established contact to the project partners are allocated mainly to the sector “Environment”, followed by the sector “Material & Production”.
Assuming that the number of visits will continue into the future – thanks to the promotion performed during the project and the “long-tern collaboration established with some multipliers – the number of contacted projects will be around 240 per year. Applying the relation of “SMEs” and “other than SMEs” to this number, about 140 projects per year will be contacted by SMEs and 100 projects per year will be contacted by “others than SMEs”.
• After project plan/Business model
The FP7 project ECOWEB was a pioneer project regarding the original approach to coordinate activities to support the dissemination and use of knowledge during the project lifetime. In this project, the consortium banked on innovative and sustainable ICT solution which would provide an up-to-date service after the project termination, becoming the first “gateway to European eco-innovations”.
The web platform will be kept in operation at least until 2016. Specifically, two project partners, eutema and SMART, will guarantee the financing of the platform and its services.
The computer engineering set up will automatically update eco-innovations displayed on ECOWEB. SMART will also guarantee to improve the search algorithms structuring the platform during this period. Although this system considerably reduces maintenance and monitoring costs whilst offering useful and up-to-date services to users, some minimum running costs will need financing.
Bearing in mind the technical possibilities and sounding out the interest of different stakeholders, the consortium considers the following sources of income:
• Onetime payment of new FP/CIP/LIFE+ eco-innovation projects (from 1st of September 2013): New projects sourced into the ECOWEB database will be synchronised into the platform for a fee as a symbolic contribution to financing the platform’s maintenance.
• Include individual non FP/CIP/LIFE+ eco-innovation results: For a fee, organisations would be able to include their eco-innovations in ECOWEB. This option will enrich ECOWEB database by offering users more variety of eco-innovations but information would need to be checked in order to assess whether the innovation could be considered as an eco-innovation and that there is no offensive content.
• Integration of other public databases: The costs will be estimated for each individual case according to the kind of database, the platform adaptation needs, the evaluation of data load, and the connection mechanisms. This option will enrich ECOWEB database offering users more variety of reliable information on eco-innovations. However, there will still be a need for a customized solution and translation of all information by the customer into English.
• Sponsorship: ECOWEB can deliver increased awareness and brand building opportunities to organisations willing to pay a fee to cover the running costs of the system. In the five first months of the web portal public launch 15,000 unique visitors have used ECOWEB. This number is expected to continue growing as ECOWEB becomes more and more popular.
• Premium partnerships of new ECOWEB network partners: For a fee partners will receive real time updates on technologies relevant to their activities and will access to trend analysis on the topics and eco-innovations of interest.
Indeed, the ultimate goal of the financing model is to cover the running costs and, if possible, enrich the platform whilst keeping administration costs low.
List of Websites:
The address of the ECOWEB online platform: http://www.ecoweb.info/

Coordinator: Georg Melzer (melzer@eutema.com)
Platform developer: Martin Schliefnig (ms@smart-infosys.com)

For more information about the project or to contact some of the project partners, visit the project info site at www.ecoweb-project.info.