What are target groups of an environmental RI and why it is important to communicate with them? How to ensure that the information to be disseminated and communicated derives from the specific information needs of that target group?
One of the main key points in RI’s communication is to identify its target audiences. The four most potentially important target groups for RI communications are perhaps scientific communities, enterprises, policy makers, and citizens. All of these groups can have sub-groups with their own special needs and requirements. Next it is shortly introduced why and who to communicate with different target groups.
Scientific communities. This target audience includes the research communities, other research infrastructures and infrastructures in the environmental fields. Perhaps the easiest to reach target groups are the research communities in the scientific field of the RI. They share the interest towards the scientific questions and problems to be solved and commonly are already integrated to the RI’s activities. It might be more challenging inform the different research communities outside of the integrated communities. The focus of the communication to research communities is to build and/or maintain and deepen the collaboration, exchange of good practices, sharing information on technical implementation, etc., and information flow, increasing the level of networking as well as providing access to RI’s products and services. One important aspect is also to engage and find synergies with new potential users. Raising the number of data users is often necessary for the RI to prove its role in the eyes of funding agencies.
In order to foster the innovation potential of research infrastructures, fluent discussion between the RI and industry and private companies (Small and Medium Enterprises; SMEs) need to be ensured. Creation of an innovation-friendly atmosphere can boost new novel products and technologies to be invented, and further have an effect on the economy. Thus, dissemination of the RI products and services as well as the potential to use SME products in RI’s activities and build jointly new technologies are one of the key points to engage with private sector. Ri needs to be aware of the challenges and differences in the working ways and time scales of academic and business fields.
Dissemination to decision makers and funders may help to engage with the different authorities in European and global level, and potentially attracts resources to the RI and related projects. The goal of this dissemination is often to raise awareness and understanding of the scientific knowledge and socio-economic benefits that the RI can offer. These dissemination activities will use partly similar efforts as for scientific communities, SMEs and citizens, but have their own specific details and limitations. The used methods and messages differ based on the level of the decision maker: local (town, city), regional (several cities), national, international, or global. A possibly important way to reach global policy makers could be via global organizations such as WMO (World Weather Organization), WFO (World Food Organization) and WTO (World Trade Organization).
Dissemination of RI and its products to citizens in a local and global level is to raise awareness of the RI activities, objectives, and it’s benefits to the civil society and create a positive attitude towards the RI. This dissemination can take place via several routes, the two considered to be the most powerful means are media (news agencies, tv, radio) and online tools and games. Providing educational material for school children has also been found important among RIs.