When preparing communications plans for research projects, suppliers are recommended to consider the following guidelines:
- Planning for communications: In putting together your bid document (ITT response), it is important to demonstrate a research uptake strategy by including details on communication and communication monitoring in your technical proposal and work plan; commercial proposal and budget where applicable.
- Focus on Evidence, Impact and Benefit: In the communication of research outputs, it is important to demonstrate the usefulness of the evidence/impact of your research outputs in policy-making and other policy aspects. You should put measures in place to identify and share successes such as case studies, show evidence and ensure that impact/benefits can be objectively verified. Communication should be tailored for its target audience.
- Create Consistent, Repeatable & Sustainable Communications: Research organizations are encouraged to make communications in forms that can easily be replicated and identified with the EARF across other platforms. Costly communication options are discouraged where cheaper or cost-free and effective alternatives are available. All communication must be fully compliant with relevant DFID/EARF policies governing the contract.
- Follow the Integrated Communication Management Approach: Research organizations should ensure that communications are aligned with project objectives, have been shared with the Fund Manager/DFID where applicable and have met any approval requirements before release to the Public.
- Encourage Feedback and Monitor Communications: Two-way communication is encouraged where possible, with adequate feedback mechanisms in place. Research organizations should also place emphasis on monitoring communications and their efficacy as this will be a critical component of the research uptake report.
- Channels utilization and open access requirements: Use the right channels for effective communication and ensure that the content of the communication is not compromised. All public documentation/communication should be readily available and accessible pursuant to the open access requirements.
- Risk Mitigation: Research organizations should identify potential communication risks at the onset of the project and put adequate mitigation measures/strategies in place. Caution should be exercised to avoid exaggerations or opportunities for misunderstandings and misconceptions.
- Standards compliance: Research organizations MUST comply with all the communication standards outlined by the EARF and permission MUST be sought for non-compliance from the EARF. The use of the right logos (size and colours) should be observed where applicable. All documents should be prepared in open access formats. All other relevant standards relating to communication, the Contract and the EARH/DFID funded projects should be adhered to.
- Confidentiality/Non–Disclosure: Specific Non-Disclosure Agreements also need to be complied with and disclosure timelines adhered to in terms of release of material especially where pre-mature release of material(s) may compromise a research project.