Eye on 2022

Communications and design: (Not such) a secret ingredient for successful EU Research and Innovation Projects

By 24/05/2022

Dear Reader,

Don’t trust me on the title above – trust the team from Europa Media, who daily endeavour to spread the word about projects in excellent packaging!

I have asked them to turn the spotlight on themselves for once and tell you about their mission, day-to-day life at the office, and roles and projects – to try to reveal the X factor.

Our company, Europa Media, has over 20 years of experience developing and managing research and innovation projects. Our approach is unique in the market since all the services we offer come directly from our own hands-on experience. Through our courses, webinars, and consultancies, we help you be more successful in EU-funded projects.

With our help, you can connect with organisations around the world and work together to find solutions to problems that matter to you, while meeting Europe’s priorities and missions.

Graphic of the structure of Europa Media

From organised project managers to creative graphic designers, from hard-core geologists to environmental warriors, from communications and marketing savvy to our own IT crowd, we work together to make your learning experience as pleasant as possible.

Don’t worry, Reader, I will not introduce everyone in the office, but I did talk to the ones who make the packaging so lovely that you absolutely can’t resist the productFrancesca, Catalina, Gloria, Attila, Fruzsina, and Lucie. I will try to give you a nice intro to our international team of comms and design experts.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

To start off light, I asked the team about the deadline days, but Attila wasn’t fazed: ‘For me, a deadline day is the same as any other day, because we are awesome! We work well together; we complement each other, and have a perfect weekly plan.’

Francesca also emphasises that, when it comes to tight deadlines – you guessed it! – communication is key: ‘We talk weekly as a team and make sure the message comes across no matter the language. We are focused, and all want the best for our projects. We are all aware of what is happening in the team, know the tasks we have, and understand how to prioritise. We set up different channels on our chosen communication platform and religiously use a task management platform to define timelines. This helps us prioritise when we have multiple deadlines and when it might be hard to know what to focus on.’

We make sure your idea reaches the right people, using only the power of words and design.

Although the team says they only use words and design, there is a lot of effort and knowledge behind the products.

Lucie mainly works with Adobe Creative Suite, including Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and After Effects. ‘New technologies are emerging all the time, so we pay attention to new software. Recently, Figma entered the game, and it is a potent tool that I am using daily. You definitely need to be eager to learn new things all the time because design and technology are evolving fast. You cannot survive just with what you have learned in art school. Design research often has to be done, and for this, the designer usually visits blogs and websites. On lazy days, there’s Pinterest’, Lucie admits. Attila adds that a good sense of typography is a must, too: ‘Of course, we must be able to use our design software at an advanced level and never stop learning, because this is a rapidly changing field.’

Fran and Catalina added a few more essentials to Lucie and Attila’s list: ‘The number of tools you can use daily is vast, and it keeps growing. From social media management platforms like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, and Grammarly to keep your English flawless, to Bitly to shorten and monitor your links, Emojipedia to quickly add some emojis to your social media posts, or Canva to create some simple visuals. As a communications professional, on top of great tools you need to have exceptional attention to detail.’

Fruzsina and Catalina emphasised soft skills, too: ‘It is essential to have good time management, problem-solving skills, and persistence throughout the assignment, as some projects have a long duration. The designer needs to be creative, think strategically, and be adaptable. You’ll most likely have to deal with many rounds of revisions while creating the best communications material.’

We cut through the noise

The team shared with me details about some of the projects they have been working on. These snapshots will help you understand the range of topics our projects cover, as well as our role in partnerships:

We are already involved in many Horizon 2020 projects on a wide range of topics, and have a number of newly funded projects starting in the upcoming months, including SPEAR, which focuses on the implementation of Gender Equality Plans in Research Performing Organisations following a tailored methodology developed within the project itself (COMPASS).

Furthermore, we are working on COLLECTiEF, Train4Sustain, and EUBSuperHub, three projects dealing with energy efficiency and buildings from a different perspective. COLLECTiEF’s aim is to make the existing European building stock smarter by increasing their energy flexibility and ability to adapt to both external climate conditions and occupants’ needs. Train4Sustain mainly focuses on harmonising sustainable energy skills in the construction sectors across the EU, while EUBSuperHub will create a common European approach to assessing buildings’ energy performance.

Finally, there is ADMA TranS4MErs, a very ambitious project bringing together partners from all EU countries with the aim of supporting ambitious and innovative Manufacturing SMEs to become Factories of the Future.

Let’s hear it – what is the X factor?

The secret is trust, transparency, and structure. Our team is unique because of its diversity. Each team member is valued for their unique personality, talent, and skills. We understand one another and work together very well. Diverse thinking and experience help us solve problems and create high-quality products. To protect this balance, we need to be team players, respect and listen to everyone, be patient, have common goals, and be open.

We like to think that what we do here matters and is valuable both for us and our audiences. We get to be part of a team, and part of something bigger than what we could do on our own. You don’t always see it in action, but behind the scenes there is an amazing team of professional, creative, and diverse people working to deliver engaging and instructive content that brings EU citizens closer to our project activities and objectives and, consequently, to broader European Union goals.

Whatever limits are set for creating a visual identity, our personality will show through. This is important because most of the projects we are working on serve a noble purpose. Their aim is to make the environment, our society, and thus the world itself a better place.

Final notes

As Europa Media provides training, offers frequent tips and tricks on different topics, and shares free resources in the form of webinars, templates, and learning materials, I simply have to end this blog by forwarding some advice from Catalina, whether you are curious about project social media, or communications in general:

‘Rule number one: Have a very clear idea of who you are writing for. If you know your target audience, you’ll know how to get your message across via social media. For example, suppose you want to reach a large and diverse audience. In that case, sophisticated language might not be ideal, but keeping it short and sweet would do the trick. At the same time, remember the “why” behind your social media presence: Why are you creating these posts? What do you want to achieve? It’s always better and more effective to post a few great, targeted posts than a hundred generic ones. Secondly, as a social media manager, you’re likely to be overseeing multiple channels, so great planning is critical. Scheduling posts in advance can be a lifesaver when dealing with many deadlines! Finally – nevr understimate the powre of poofreading (multiple times!)


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Finally, if Horizon Europe projects are your focus right now, we are organising the first face-to-face event after more than two years online: from 13–17 June in Barcelona. Join us there, or attend a corresponding online course from 7–10 June. We look forward to meeting you!