Dissemination vs Exploitation of your research results; what is the difference?

Often the terms dissemination and exploitation are used in the same breath. Especially in Horizon 2020 projects, the terms are considered to be of great importance and highly valued by the European Commission. We often see that the two terms are being used interchangeably, but their definitions are by no means identical.

In order to be successful with your H2020 project, dissemination and exploitation should be effectively tackled in your H2020 proposal. To strengthen your skills in tackling dissemination and exploitation, both terms will be extensively discussed in this article.


The definition of dissemination is “the act of spreading something, especially information, as far as possible”. In this case, it is the transfer of your research results to the ones that can best make use of it.

There are 3 aims of dissemination: create awareness, create understanding and aim for action. Your project benefits from a good dissemination strategy, because it will maximise the impact of projects.

This dissemination strategy should cover why, what, how, when, to whom and where disseminating of results will take place, both during and after the funding period.


Exploitation is the act of making use of and benefiting from resources. This term is related to the development or commercialisation of a product or a service.

It is, so to say, the next step in your route-to-market to ensure that your results will be used beyond the lifetime of the project. Therefore, not all H2020 projects need an extensive exploitation strategy. For example, such an extensive strategy will not be relevant for fundamental research projects.

Keep in mind, though, that the Horizon 2020 programme is more and more focussed on impact in society. There is less funding available for fundamental research, and therefore ways to exploit results should always be on your mind when writing a successful proposal or planning your research.

Want to know more? Contact us and get your questions answered.

Some tips and tricks regarding dissemination and exploitation in your research:

  • Dissemination and Exploitation are weighted in the Impact section of Horizon 2020 proposals. In H2020 projects, you have the obligation to disseminate and exploit your results.
  • Start early in your project with developing a dissemination strategy. During this development, take along the drawbacks of dissemination; such as data becoming available before publication.
  • Quantify what you want to achieve with your dissemination actions. For example, how many views would you like on your website? How many newsletters will your project deliver? This makes your plan more actionable.
  • When you disseminate project results, always acknowledge your financial support. (e.g. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No …)
  • Facilitate your dissemination in such a way that it impacts the exploitation. Are you looking for an investor? Then you may want to disseminate your results through public media. Or, do you want to achieve clinical acceptance? In that case, you may want to target healthcare workers and patients.
  • Keep in mind Intellectual property (IP) rights. Start early with making an analysis of the IP that is already out there.
  • In some H2020 calls, the EU facilitates exploitation by an ‘exploitation strategy and innovation consultant (ESIC)’. More information about this can be acquired by your EU project officer.
  • Do not stop both activities when your project ends. Plan during the project on how to continue with dissemination and exploitation of your results as this will maximise the impact of your project results.

At ttopstart we can help you with the dissemination and exploitation processes.


We can be partner in your project, facilitate project management and establish dissemination and exploitation strategies. Particularly for SMEs, we can help you with your exploitation strategy, perform a market research and prepare your business plan. Contact Patrick if you want to know more.