Communication – an essential element of publicly-funded projects

By Rhonda Smith

(posted 19th March 2020)

Teams working on EU-funded projects have a contractual duty to share their aims, progress and results with a range of stakeholders – from policy-makers and governmental institutions, to civil society, the commercial sector and members of the public.

After all, what’s the point of the public purse funding health research if the results aren’t shared, applied and put to good use for the benefit of all of society?

That’s why communications is embedded in the design of the Silver Santé Study project and have been delivered since its launch in 2016. Through a broad range of channels – websites, social media, public meetings, publications, newsletters, newspaper articles, and TV and radio interviews – the Study’s communications team in partnership with  all its researchers are working hard to engage with and communicate the project’s work to lay and professional audiences. We identify news from our project partners of interest to the public and targeted stakeholders and write stories for the project websites and newsletters. For example, as scientific papers are published, we do our best to make sure the findings are communicated via external channels to as broad an audience as possible, stimulate interest and encourage engagement. Gathering and creating photos and audio visual material based on the work of the project’s research teams, managing the project’s social media accounts, and liaison with journalists interested in writing about mental health and meditation fills our working days..

The aim of the Silver Santé Study is to identify the determinants of a healthy later life and to develop programmes that we can all use to safeguard our mental health, well-being and quality of life as we age. Our researchers are examining whether mental training techniques – such as meditation or learning a language – can make a difference to well-being throughout the life course. What makes the study unique is that it’s the longest ever study of both meditation and language learning and it’s the first to examine the emotional aspects of ageing and mental health – all points that make the findings of great interest, particularly with regard to informing mental health policies.

As the project is now in its final year, our communications work will soon come to a crescendo helping to cascade methodologies, data and results  to a broad range of interested and influential audiences across Europe. The overall aim is to drive utilisation of that generated knowledge in the development of new policies and practices.  Click here to watch our short project video explaining our aims, the research, and what we hope it will achieve for both individuals and for society as a whole.

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