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What is communication, dissemination and exploitation?

Dissemination, Exploitation and Communication are an essential part of EIT Food projects. In fact, they are also a legal obligation under Horizon Europe grant agreements. This article focuses on Dissemination but you can also find advice on Communication strategies in the related Comms Hub article ‘How do I promote my EIT Food project?’

Dissemination of research and project results is a crucial step in maximising the impact and reach of the work. By sharing findings, outcomes and best practices with wider audiences, the benefits of the project can be extended beyond the original project partners and stakeholders. Dissemination helps

to raise awareness of the project, attract new partners and funders, and encourage replication and scaling up of successful practices.

It is in the interests of EIT Food and the European Union to make results available to benefit society and amplify their impacts by enabling more people to access them, thus ensuring that the benefits are widely shared. For this reason, communication, dissemination, and exploitation of projects are key activities that allow the circulation and the uptake of the knowledge produced.


DefinitionStrategic and targeted measures for promoting the action itself and its results to a multitude of audiences, including the media and the public, and possibly engaging in a two-way exchange.The public disclosure of the results by appropriate means, other than resulting from protecting or exploiting the results, including by scientific publications in any medium. The use of results in further research and innovation activities, including among other things, commercial exploitation such as developing, creating, manufacturing and marketing a product or process, creating and providing a service, or in standardisation and policy making activities.
Objective- To reach society as a whole to inform about the project, its topics and planned activities.

- Demonstrate how EU funding contributes to tackling societal challenges
- Circulate knowledge 

- Make results available to the relevant stakeholders that can best make use of them 

- Enable value of results to be wider than the original focus
- Further uptake and use of results
FocusInform about and promote a project and its results/successMake results available for others to useMake use of research results
HowStrategically planned with pertinent messages, right medium and means- Identifying the value of results and their stakeholders 

- Publishing and sharing results with the right audiences
- Creating prototypes, business models, software, IPs
Target AudienceThe broader publicAudience that may have an interest in the USE of the results (scientific and education communities, industrial partners, investors, policy makers, etc)
People/organisations, including project partners themselves, that make concrete use of project results



Dissemination strategy

Dissemination is the public disclosure of results other than protecting or exploiting the results. Its goals include circulating knowledge, making results available to the people that can best make use of them and enabling the value of results to be wider than the original focus.

In some cases, dissemination can create opportunities for exploitation and commercialisation because sharing research or project outcomes may attract potential commercial partners or investors.

The focus of dissemination is on results.

What are results?

The European Commission defines results as any tangible or intangible effect of the action, such as data, know-how or information, whatever its form or nature, whether or not it can be protected, as well as any rights attached to it, including intellectual property rights.

Key results are the outputs generated during the project which can be used and create societal impact, either by the project partners or by other stakeholders.

Project results can be reusable and exploitable (e.g. inventions, prototypes, services) as such, or elements (knowledge, technology, processes, networks) that have potential to contribute to further work on research or innovation.

The infographic below, developed by the European Commission, gives an overview of different types of results and the relevant stakeholders/target groups.

Image source: European Commission

Efforts and resources should focus on identifying key results, particularly those results that have a significant potential to be exploited.

When should dissemination activities happen?

Dissemination should be planned from proposal stage and then monitored and implemented throughout the whole lifecycle of the project, as soon as the project produces some results.

Proposal stage

A dissemination plan should be drafted at proposal stage, usually in the Communication and Dissemination work package. When planning dissemination activities, consider what your results will be, their value and possible interested parties. Plan activities that permit you to reach those parties, making results available for others to use and building these synergistic relationships throughout the project – from the very beginning and throughout the implementation. At this stage you can also plan specific deliverables that will contain the produced tools, knowledge and material.

Project implementation, as soon as you have results

During the implementation of your project, as soon as you have results, revise your dissemination plan to identify the wider value of the results produced. Take into consideration that the same result can gain different values for different stakeholders.

The below value proposition template helps you to identify the value of your results and the potential stakeholders, beneficiaries and users.

Our _______________________ (description of results)

Help(s) __________________________________ (potential user/up taker/beneficiary of your results)

Who want to ____________________________________ (things that your users/up takers/beneficiaries are trying to get done, it could be tasks they are trying to perform and complete, problems they are trying to solve, needs they are trying to satisfy)

By reducing/avoiding _________________________ (a problem or pain of your users/up takers/beneficiaries, it could be obstacles that prevent them from doing something, risks, undesired outcomes)

And increasing/enabling _____________________________ (a gain for your users/up takers/beneficiaries, it could be outcomes and benefits that your stakeholders want)

Template adapted by Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y., Bernarda, G., & Smith, A. (2015). Value proposition design: How to create products and services customers want. John Wiley & Sons.

Once you have some results and their value and stakeholders are identified, find ways to make your results available.

Common dissemination practices include online repositories, portals, user workshops, policy briefs, targeted e-mails, case studies, pitching events, presentation at conferences and poster sessions.

Among the online repositories where you can publish your results, we strongly advise you to use the Horizon Results Platform (HRP), which is a repository and matchmaking platform of the European Commission where Key Exploitable Results (KER) of EU-funded research and innovation projects can be published. To publish your results on this platform, please contact your Programme Manager. More information on this platform can be found under the “Dissemination tools from European Commission” section of this document.

After implementation/end of project

After implementation and towards the end of the project, it is important to report the dissemination activities accordingly to allow for proper project monitoring. EIT Food has developed a deliverable template

 for the innovation projects that aims at not only gathering clearer information on what the KIC Added Value Activities (KAVAs) have achieved in those areas, but also providing more information on what communication and dissemination activities have occurred/are in process.

Dissemination best practices from EIT Food`s funded projects

Project: UnderPRESSURE

Type of result: Prototype of a new homogenisation process to produce healthier and more natural food

Stakeholder: food processing companies

Dissemination activity: a pilot-scale prototype of the technology has been located at the research centre’s facilities to be tested. A communication of this opportunity together with the description of the prototype have circulated through a press release.

Comment: good example of how to make results available for others to test, while at the same time facilitating further exploitation by connecting with potential clients and stakeholders.

Project: Next Tuna

Type of result: Validated prototype

Stakeholder: Investors

Dissemination activity: Presentation to investors at pitching events

Comment: good example of how to make the most out of project results by disseminating them in investors’ pitching events, thus securing fundings for further development and exploitation of results. This is a good dissemination activity since it facilitates further exploitation by securing funding, extending the results’ market reach for the benefit of society.

Project: Digifresh

Type of result: Prototype of a digital twin to monitor quality and shelf life of fresh food products

Stakeholder: Supply-chain actors

Dissemination activity: Workshop to present the results of the project in the form of a digital twin solution to monitor quality and the remaining shelf life of fruits and vegetables.

Comment: good example on how to share the major outcomes of the project and actively engage with potential up takers and users of results, at the same time helping commercialisation and exploitation.

Project: Annual School Agenda

Type of result: Educational material

Stakeholders: School teachers and pupils, research, industry and academic institutions

Dissemination activity: Creation of the #AnnualFoodAgenda Schoolkit. It’s a set of simple guidelines that could inspire similar approaches and represents a successful collaboration between research, industry and academic institutions with school teachers and pupils.

Comment: A very good way to merge three years of work in developing and implementing educational materials into a toolkit that is made available to all the interested parties. The toolkit is available at this link and includes detailed explanations all the resources.

Project: Food Science Class

Type of result: Educational material

Stakeholders: School teachers and educators

Dissemination activity: A teachers forum where project members shared lesson plans developed during the project with teachers and educators, which can easily be implemented in other classrooms.

Comment: Great way to “train the trainers” and enable the value of results to be wider than the original focus by making it available to more teachers and educators and providing the knowledge and the material necessary to replicate the lessons.

List of resources on intellectual property rights (IPR)

Intellectual property rights (IPR) play an important role in supporting the commercial exploitation of results. Consult the courses and resources below to know more about the different types of IPR and whether that can be applicable to your results.

Intellectual property (IP) service providing free-of-charge support to help European SMEs and beneficiaries of EU-funded research projects manage their IP in the context of transnational business or EU research and innovation programmes.

  • Courses and material made available by EIT in partnership with EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) and EPO (European Patent Office).
    1. Learning wallet with 9 short modules about IP basics 
    2. E-learning centre of the European Patent Academy: (

Legal requirements for dissemination

Horizon Europe regulation 

Art. 39 of Horizon Europe regulations

“Beneficiaries shall disseminate their results as soon as feasible, in a publicly available format, subject to any restrictions due to the protection of intellectual property, security rules or legitimate interests.” 

Art. 17 of Horizon Europe Grant Agreement

“The beneficiaries must disseminate their results as soon as feasible, in a publicly available format, subject to any restrictions due to the protection of intellectual property, security rules or legitimate interests.”

EIT Food Strategic Agenda 2021-2027

“The dissemination of results and good practices is reflected in all EIT Food activities, particularly with regards to EIT Food Innovation projects. This aim is to maximise the take-up of new knowledge, both for commercial purposes and for policy making, as well as ensuring accountability for expenditure.”

EIT Food subgrant agreement

Annex 3

The EIT Food Participant must disseminate its results as soon as feasible, in a publicly available format, subject to any restrictions due to the protection of intellectual property, security rules or legitimate interests.

If EIT Food Participant intends to disseminate its results, it must give at least 15 days advance notice to KIC LE (legal entity) and the other EIT Food Participants involved in the same Project (unless agreed otherwise), together with sufficient information on the results it will disseminate.

The KIC LE or another EIT Food Participant involved in the same Project may object within (unless agreed otherwise) 15 days of receiving notification, if it can show that its legitimate interests in

relation to the results or background would be significantly harmed. In such cases, the results may not be disseminated unless appropriate steps are taken to safeguard those interests. Additional dissemination obligations

Where the call conditions impose additional dissemination obligations, the EIT Food Participant must also comply with those.

KPIs on dissemination

The following KPIs apply to EIT Food-funded projects.

EIT Food Business Plan 2023–2025

For the Open Innovation call

EITHE16: Continuously disseminated results/GP/LL: Results from the Activity should be continuously disseminated by consortia: number of results, good practice (GP) and lessons learnt (LL) disseminated through appropriate means (e.g., publications, online repositories, fact sheets, targeted workshops). Results are any tangible or intangible output of the action, such as data, knowledge and information.

Dissemination tools from European Commission

The below tools and platforms have been developed and made available by the European Commission. EIT Food-funded projects can access and are eligible to use these platforms and services. 

Horizon Results Booster (HRB)

The Horizon Results Booster is a package of free-of-charge specialised consultancy services for framework programme beneficiaries to support them in their dissemination and exploitation activities. The services include portfolio dissemination and exploitation strategy, business plan development and go-to-market guidance.

The Horizon Results Booster offers three types of services:

  1. Help and guidance for:
    • creating a results portfolio with other projects (module A), 
    • creating and executing a common dissemination strategy for a cluster of projects (module B) 
    • improving an existing exploitation plan (module C)
  2. Tailor-made support services to develop a business plan
  3. Assistance, coaching and mentoring for go-to-market activities.

Who can apply?

Ongoing or completed projects, either as an individual project or as a part of a project group (depending on the services). Project consortium can benefit from one specific service only once, but it can apply for the three different services altogether. The project and/or project groups will have access to the services they request based on their motivation, commitment and maturity of their results.

How to apply? 

Beneficiaries can apply by filling out the application form.

Horizon Results Platform (HRP)

What is the Horizon Results Platform?

The Horizon Results Platform (HRP) is a repository and matchmaking platform of the European Commission where Key Exploitable Results (KER) of EU-funded research and innovation projects can be published. These are the main and prioritised results, selected by project partners, with a high potential value to be “exploited”. This means being usable and derive benefits downstream the value chain of a product, process or solution, or act as an important input to policy, further research, or education. A result can be any tangible or intangible output of the action, such as data, knowledge, and information whatever their form or nature.

What's the value of the Platform?

It is a matchmaking platform between key exploitable results from project consortia or startups and potential investors, commissioners, customers and stakeholders. It is also an effective way to disseminate results, which is mandatory for European-funded projects. The European Commission is continuously working on improving the platform, onboarding stakeholders such as Business Angels Europe, Solar Impulse Foundation, EU IPR helpdesk, Enterprise Europe Network and the European Business Angels Network.

How does it work?

If you would like to publish Key Exploitable Results or a startup in the platform, please contact your Programme Manager.