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What is liaison, how do we do it, and why?

Tue. 16. Feb 2021 09:24

Collaboration, dissemination, sharing of knowledge, and added value. These are words and concepts that describe the general aims of liaison in many projects. This blog post seeks to provide a broader understanding of what liaison means and why it is important for projects in general and for the IMA project specifically, along with how IMA has gone about this activity.

Liaison refers to the facilitation of close working relations between people or organisations through cooperation and information exchange. The advantages of such relationships can be widespread and may even bring the respective project(s) to a higher level through the contribution of different perspectives, angles, and knowledge on the matter. Furthermore, by staying visible on a number of occasions and across a broad spectrum of relevant initiatives, the particular project ensures a broader dissemination and sustainability of the project’s objectives.

“Liaison has an important role to play during a research project – whether it be collaboration between partners in a project consortium, the dissemination of findings to peers and other key stakeholders including policy and decision makers or implementers – these activities result in a sharing of knowledge that adds value, as is the goal, to a research field. Liaison activities during a project also deliver a longer term benefit. Liaison activities build new and strengthen existing networks and partnerships, they uncover new ideas, they stimulate innovation – all of which in turn, unlocks the potential for future collaborations, research and projects,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hegerl, President of EAAD.

In IMA, specifically, liaison activities have played a crucial role through the project lifetime. In the project, such activities have been defined as activities where there has been a combined effect between two or more parties, and where information exchange in the activities has provided added value. Hence, it is important to emphasise that liaison means more than just dissemination; a mutually beneficial relationships has to exist.

The aim of the liaison activities for IMA has been to keep the project in sync with other EU and non-EU initiatives with similar or complementary objectives to IMA, and to foster, when appropriate, the exchange of information, ideas, and any other kind of synergy between the consortium on the one hand and these other initiatives on the other. By identifying and liaising with relevant projects, networks, organisations, and initiatives, the use of the outcomes of IMA is sustained.

IMA has been engaged in liaison activities both on a project and a partner level. On the project level, IMA has tried to remain highly visible across a range of events during the project along with collaborating with a number of other project consortia and initiatives with similar or complementary aims. In that way, IMA has made sure to be involved in different efforts, which have allowed the project not only to apply the knowledge obtained here in other settings but also to gain knowledge from other initiatives, strengthening the liaison between the projects and enriching results on both sides.

To gain a complete picture of how the IMA consortium project have engaged in liaison activities, a questionnaire was distributed to all the partners. This questionnaire was inspired by a similar one used in the MasterMind project and adapted to fit IMA. The questionnaire asked about what relevant events, projects, and initiatives the respective partner had participated in or collaborated with both in local or national contexts and in international contexts. The survey showed that the IMA partners have been involved in a number of relevant events from local to global levels and have collected relevant information to boost the project and disseminate information about our work. The results of the survey have been reported in D7.3 Report on liaison activities

Overall, the liaison and creation of synergies that has taken place as part of IMA strengthen the efforts towards improved implementation processes in local settings, at a European level, and in an international context, and create added value for all parties. Such liaison activities support the pooling and flow of knowledge in the field and create awareness about possibilities for overcoming implementation barriers and reaching healthcare goals.

What are your thoughts on liaison? Have you ever experienced situations where collaboration with someone enriched both of your outcomes? Please share your thoughts and reflections on this in the comments below!

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 733025.
This content reflects only the author's view and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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