E3. Take into account the dissemination potential
Projects involving CSOs have an advantage which other project often cannot make use of: large networks. Being connected to other CSOs, to decision-makers, to companies but often as well to the general citizens is one of the key conditions for a CSO to survive and to spread their normative ideas of the world or how it should be. That is why proposals need to entail explanations how this resource will be used. This can be the case in the end of the project, but should actually be considered in the beginning and during the complete project life cycle. At best there should be a strategy to continuously attract public attention.
Evaluators and reviewers should ask:
Who are the stakeholders that the project should communicate with?
Are the CSOs involved well placed to facilitate this communication?
Does the project structure allow such communication?
Example: Sustainable energy production
A research project in the context of sustainable energy production is led by an environmental safety organisation which has scientifically trained staff. The only research partner is a company. We asked the person responsible in the funding organisation why a project was selected that is led by a CSO. The interviewee answered that he knows by experience that the CSO is capable of doing research work. Based on this experience, the sponsor expects the CSOs to widely disseminate all results of the research project. The reason given for that was that the sponsor described itself as a state-related actor for environmental safety. The sponsor wanted to make sure that all information is communicated widely but mostly to the normal citizen so that further activities in the research and action field will find much support.
'It is important to reach the practitioners and science on an equal level. We need to fulfil the scientific demands of quality but also disseminate our information to the ones applying it in practice. That is why project results are published in a scientific series of publications and in handbooks. You need to be a two-timer. You have the scientific data which is important and you have the human'. (Funder)