By Professor Lars Johanning, University of Exeter
The University of Exeter has over 20 years’ experience in offshore renewable energy, including wave analysis; marine hydrodynamics; resource modelling; moorings; testing; reliability engineering; offshore installation, monitoring, operations and maintenance.
These are truly exciting times for Renewable Energy: technology is advancing, costs are falling, attitudes are changing and grid parity is on the horizon. Despite the current political challenges, we believe the revolution really is unstoppable.
Our Renewable Energy Engineering Department is at the forefront of clean energy research and we collaborate with many organisations on a variety of projects. Our taught programmes are dedicated to training the brilliant minds of tomorrow, ensuring that future generations and the renewable energy sector are equipped with highly skilled individuals who can deliver for us all.
We are proud to be involved in the WEDUSEA project and to be working closely with the other talented partner organisations to help unlock the huge global potential of wave energy.
University of Exeter has been leading on four roles for WEDUSEA – project communications, dissemination, research into novel mooring and tether systems.
Within this article, we are going to explain a little more about the importance of communications to WEDUSEA and other Horizon Europe projects.
University of Exeter and WEDUSEA
University of Exeter is the lead partner for communicating the WEDUSEA project to the widest possible audience. Our work in this area is closely tied to two of the main objectives of the WEDUSEA project:
- “To boost the development of the wave energy industry worldwide, by creating awareness of the potential of wave energy amongst policy makers, industry, potential investors and the public, thus directly impacting policy, public perception and investor confidence in wave energy.”
- “To disseminate results and outcomes which enable the capitalisation and exploitation of the results through new innovations, products and services, as well as feeding both environmental databases and worldwide technical standards.”
It is a legal responsibility for organisations receiving Horizon funding that their key findings and research results are shared and disseminated as openly and widely as possible, so that they can be exploited to the fullest extent. The Horizon Europe funding agreement states that: “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.”
Horizon Europe believe that dissemination is all about spreading research results as widely as possible to maximise the impact of the project. Disclosing results publicly aims to transfer knowledge and thereby to contribute to future research and progress in the field and beyond. Scientific publications and conferences are great opportunities to do so, but there is more to it.
In a project funded under Horizon Europe, participants are required to plan and carry out their communication and dissemination activities carefully and extensively.
There is a wide range of target audiences with whom WEDUSEA needs to communicate. These audiences include leaders in the offshore renewables industry; academia, such as scientists, engineers and innovators; policy makers within government and regulatory bodies; public sector funding bodies; the media and other opinion leaders; and interested members of the general public. Our communications have to be tailored to the needs of these different audiences.
A key objective of WEDUSEA is to create awareness of the potential of wave energy, change perceptions and boost investor confidence. This ambition informs all our communications across all channels. We have specific tools we can use, which include:
- The WEDUSEA website, which we manage and regularly update with latest news on the project, upcoming events, latest publications and blog articles contributed by the project partners. In time this will also include project videos, downloadable brochures, and a live stream from the demonstration test site
- Social media activity on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and X
- Press releases, where we work with a specialist marketing and PR agency, Brand Innovation, based in Cornwall UK, who have in-depth experience in the marine technology sector. They have strong contacts with the international trade media, as shown by the success of WEDUSEA launch press release. This received a huge amount of global media interest, with around a hundred pieces of editorial coverage generated worldwide, spanning the USA, UK, Ireland, Europe, India, China and more.
- Exhibitions, conferences and seminars
- Webinars and workshops
- Articles in journals and magazines. We were delighted to be asked to contribute to the Journal of Ocean Technology this year. You can download the article at this link.
The communications strategy will also cover the dissemination of the key results and findings from each key stage of the WEDUSEA project, as detailed in the ‘Project Deliverables’ section of our website.
The above notes give a broad overview of the scope of our communications work. For much more detail, please go to the ‘Publications’ section of the website, where you can view and download our full Communication and Dissemination Plan, which was developed in conjunction with the team at EMEC.
We are all looking forward to continuing to communicate with you about the WEDUSEA project.