New guidance for communicating research findings

New guidelines will soon be available to help research teams throughout Europe to communicate the results of their projects more effectively.

The ‘best practice’ guidelines have come out of AgriFoodResults, an EU-funded project coordinated by the French ACTIA (Association de Coordination Technique pour l’industrie Agro-alimentaire) and aimed at improving the communication of food research. They are due for launch in the next two weeks.

“At the moment many researchers do not really know how to communicate with different target audiences,” Christophe Cotillon, project coordinator of AgriFoodResults, told FoodNavigator. “In the guidelines they can find tools and tips to help them better communicate with consumers, industry and other stakeholders.”

There are four sets of guidelines. One contains general advice for dissemination managers and communication personnel for communicating research findings, while the other three are designed to help research teams target industry, consumers and policy makers respectively.

The latest draft guidelines were presented at an event in Brussels on 1 March, which was attended by over 70 project coordinators and communication experts within EU-funded agri-food projects.

A new tool called ‘Virtual Supermarket’ was also demonstrated to delegates.

“In a supermarket you have different areas dedicated to specific product categories. The idea behind the Virtual Supermarket is that people can visit and get the main research findings in a particular research area, whether that be meat or food safety,” explained Mr Cotillon.

Initially, the supermarket will just include EU-funded Framework Programme (FP) 6 and 7 projects, but ultimately, Mr Cotillon said the aim is to expand its wares to include other food research projects.

Access to the ‘Virtual Supermarket’ will be via the project website at www.agrifoodresults.eu.

The winners of the inaugural Communication Star Awards were also announced at the event. According to Mr Cotillon, the purpose of the awards is to acknowledge project teams that have done well at communicating research results.

The ‘small projects’ award went to HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence). This three-year FP6 project, coordinated by Luis Moreno from the University of Zaragoza, is aimed at preventing obesity in adolescents in Europe by providing information, tools and advice.

The large projects award was given to CASCADE (Chemicals as contaminants in the food chain) - a Network of Excellence for research, risk assessment and education. Coordinated by Ingemar Pongratz from the Karolinska Institute, this project provides information on chemical residues and contaminants.

AgriFoodResults is a project supported by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007-2013] under grant agreement no 226927.

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