Masterclasses on Communicating Research

Background 
Many researchers have difficulty finding appropriate ways to communicate the outcomes of their research to policy makers. Modern EU policies need to be based on scientific evidence so it is critical that these difficulties are adequately addressed.
For that purpose, the SCOOP project (funded under the 7th Framework Programme) designed and implemented a series of Masterclasses aimed at maximising the dissemination and transfer of knowledge from Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research to policy makers.
The SCOOP Communication Masterclass series ran from 2010 – 2012. This website provides a longer-term legacy for the programme, including links and resources to support researchers in communicating their research more effectively, especially in a policy context.
 
delegates
July 2010 delegates comparing example Policy Briefs
 
Purpose
Using a practical and interactive format, the Communication Masterclasses focused on improving the dissemination of research results to policy makers at all levels (EU, national and regional). These courses were offered for research coordinators and persons responsible for dealing with communication tasks within projects funded under the 7th Framework Programme for research.
 
Masterclass Content
The materials provided here are from the final SCOOP Masterclass, held in Brussels in July 2012. The Masterclass Programme provides an overview of the content that was covered. The courses were initially conceived by Louisa Anastopoulou, a senior Policy Officer within the European Commission. Louisa also contributed key elements of the programme, in partnership with communication specialists Karen Bultitude (University College London) and Terry Martin (SPIA – the Science-Policy Interface Agency). You can view the Tutor Biographies for further information about the tutor backgrounds.
 
The Masterclass built on the practical guide to Communicating Research for Evidence-Based Policymaking, copies of which were distributed to delegates in advance of the course. For additional background information in this area you may find the Further Reading document helpful, although as always note that policy processes are inherently time-limited, therefore it is important to identify additional recent guidance from the commission when planning your strategy. In particular the RAPID press release portal may be of use in identifying major policy decisions.
 
A dedicated session focused on Connecting with Policy Makers, providing advice on where to find information about different types of policy makers, especially how to contact them. Further activities included an opportunity to review previous examples of policy-focused materials to identify good practice. If you're interested in seeing outputs from other SSH projects try visiting the Research in SSH website, then clicking through to individual project websites. Most projects should have uploaded their project flyer and brochure, as well as any policy briefs they have written, and the websites themselves can often provide useful information or ideas for relevant communication approaches.
 
The session providing an Introduction to Policy Briefs was particularly valued by delegates, as was the opportunity to compare existing policy briefs. Other aspects covered within the Masterclass that participants identified as being highly worthwhile included Writing Press Releases (with an associated resources handout for further information) as well as an overview of Web Communications (and again some associated recommended resources). You may also be interested in the SSH Policy Brief template, as well as the SSH website guidelines (including free Joomla and Wordpress templates) designed to assist researchers in ensuring that their websites are as high quality as possible.
 
Finally, delegates had the opportunity to raise queries directly with representatives from DG Research within the course, and optional individual consultation sessions were available at the end of the course. If you have any queries about your own project then your Project Officer is definitely the best initial point of contact.
 
The final course took place 2nd & 3rd July 2012. Please email jane.wooster@uwe.ac.uk if you have any queries.
 
 
Feedback from attendees
“Very informative. Very useful. This Masterclass should be available to many more projects - should be compulsory for all new projects”
“A very helpful overview of dissemination tools and instruments to diffuse results to policy makers.”
“I really hope there will be more initiatives in this direction! Well done! Thanks a lot!”