Tips for Successful R&D Project Communication

rd project communication

Project clients, end-users, influencers, students, funders, and the media all impact the ultimate success of an R&D project. How can you consider them in your communication and communicate effectively?

My company, AE Partners, helps built environment R&D projects succeed through communication. Here are a few tips that we’ve found useful for your next R&D project!

Project Planning – Make the Proposal Easy for Decision-Makers to Approve

Project communication has already started in the planning phase. The preparation, planning, and acquisition of funding for the project are marketing and sales efforts that determine the project’s future.

  • Think strategically about project communication: to whom, why, and towards what goals.
  • For funders and clients, risks and their management are important issues. Discuss these openly but demonstrate that the risks are manageable.
  • Messages, language, and visual presentations should be designed and executed like any professional marketing communication.
  • A decision-maker may not be an expert on the project’s content, which should be considered in both content and presentation style.
  • If the project is international, consider cultural differences in your messages. Knowledge of marketing and sales psychology can also be beneficial in project preparation.

Project Kick-off – Utilize the Newsworthiness of the Project

In the kick-off phase, it is essential to create excitement and get the flywheel moving. The kick-off is also an excellent time to gain publicity for the project.

  • Publicly stated goals reinforce the commitment of the entire project team.
  • The project’s expected outcomes and impacts interest the audience more than the project’s work packages.
  • Accentuate the unique or new features of the project. What is the standout feature that sticks in everyone’s mind about your project?
  • Start regular public and internal updates from the get-go.

Execution – Increase Interest

Communication during the execution phase informs target groups about what is happening in the project, what results it has produced, and their significance.

  • In external project communication, regularity improves results, while surprises increase interest.
  • The scientific community has its publication channels and conventions. Communication for the general audience is entirely different. Think about explaining things so that even a journalist can understand and convey the message correctly.
  • Tell stories. Only five percent of the audience remembers statistics, while stories stick with 63 percent.
  • Listen to what others are saying about your project. It tells you a lot about the success of your communication.
  • Use various communication tactics and channels creatively. Sometimes, an article in a leisure publication has a more significant impact than a professional journal.
  • Engage in conversations. Good communication is not a monologue.
  • There is always something to tell about the project!

Project Completion – Inspire Adoption of Results

The completion of the project is a highlight that should be visible and audible.

  • Demonstrate the project’s achievements and future potential.
  • Provide success stories and case studies that showcase how the project’s results can be applied in real-world scenarios.
  • Use many channels: webinars, newsletters, social media platforms, in-person events, industry media, etc.
  • Even advertising can be an excellent addition to the communication mix.
  • Make it easy for stakeholders to share the project’s results and give testimonials.
  • Good communication lays the groundwork for the future. If the project is passed on to a new project, well-managed communication has created a good foundation for it.

Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or email me at if you would like to discuss strategies for effective project communication!

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