This month we had the opportunity of talking to María Díaz Navarro, communication and dissemination manager and stakeholder’s chair in MANDALA Project.
What is the role of your organization in this project?
Cluster Food+i is participating in MANDALA Project as communication and dissemination strategy leader. As a SME’s Cluster, we have a lot of experience in knowledge transfer as one of the pillars for promoting the competitiveness of our companies and the agri-food sector in general.
Why is communication important in this type of research and innovation project?
Communication is important because you need to create public awareness and enhance the visibility of the project in a way that it can be understood by non-specialists. It is also important because we have to encourage people to use the results, since otherwise our project won’t make an impact in the society. For all these we use social media and newsletters among others as channels to get to our audiences.
What benefits does MANDALA Project bring to society?
MANDALA Project is helping society to rethink the relationship with plastics. Nowadays, we are unable to overlook them, but we can reuse them, improve its recyclability and understand the impact of these actions on our environment. By doing this, MANDALA Project is contributing to the creation of a circular economy for the packaging sector.
For which sectors is MANDALA Project beneficial?
MANDALA Project is beneficial to all sectors that work with plastic packaging, but the project is emphasizing in the food (meat and ready-to-eat meals) and pharma (blisters for pills and pharma trays coverings) sectors, since they are both highly dependent on plastic.
What are the communication challenges MANDALA Project faces?
One of the biggest challenges that we face is to know how to properly communicate a research project to the society. Good communication needs to start at the beginning of the project and continue throughout its entire lifetime. It also needs to be targeted and adapted to audiences; once you have identified the target audiences of the project, I would say that the main challenge is to find suitable meeting points where to establish a bilateral relationship between the project and the different stakeholders, a key point of effective communication.
A successful communication will bring EU-funded research and its results to the attention of multiple hearings, thus helping to drive competitiveness and growth in Europe and address societal challenges.