The Momentum of WordPress
Scientific research serves as mankind’s own Snake Plissken to solve and address daunting challenges. Some argue that WordPress has a great potential to gain momentum in becoming a backbone of future websites in the European Union dedicated to scientific research, funded under the aegis of Horizon 2020, which is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs in the EU with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
Domestic and EU-wide research-industrial consortia regularly apply to calls (tenders) of Horizon 2020 and in case of winning, comprehensive and responsive websites are also established and maintained during any over-arching research project. This is the opportunity to be seized by WordPress developers and practitioners: to learn about EU-projects, to make WP a suitable option and raise awareness over its enormous potential.
Horizon2020’s Requirements for a Wordpress powered website
Horizon2020 has five pillars: (i) excellent science, (ii) industrial leadership (like biotechnology, nanotechnology), (iii) societal challenges, (iv) policy & research, and (v) global collaboration. Just to grasp the flavour of currently running tenders within the domain of societal challenges, which pillar covers bioeconomy, climate action, energy, health, society & culture, and transport areas, a new tendency can be observed. Namely that research projects are requested to address global mega challenges in interdisciplinary ways (e.g. using Big Data in evidence-based policy making). It points to the need for a website platform that is responsive, calibrative and can keep abreast with time. WordPress therefore comes to the fore.
By keeping these pillars in mind, we can sketch the contours of elementary requirements from WP to be a useful platform in Horizon2020 project websites.
- Modern design architecture: websites are required to handle and display both simple and complex research contents in various fields (from a very basic study-oriented research to one that uses complexity science for instance in addressing smart city development and transport issues or financial sector risk assessment). Websites shall be able to demonstrate interdisciplinarity in terms of design elements as well.
- Transparent and ease accessibility: since the content of the websites will be read and used not only by scientific community for the purpose of cross-fertilisation of outcomes, but also policymakers, business and third sector representatives as well as citizens, the websites are required to be as transparent as possible and easily accessible.
- High responsiveness: beyond the classical responsiveness-related requirements from a website (being adapted to mobile devices, equipped with social media etc.), more and more Horizon2020 project websites must be able to have feedback interfaces for different reasons (e.g. to get opinions and responses from stakeholders, to map demand about various innovation support services etc.) or intranet opportunity.
- Multi-lingual feature: since Horizon2020 projects can be delivered by consortia partners located in various countries across Europe (even in the Eastern Partnership Countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), multilingualism shall be an option.
- Customisation options for design elements and functional sections such as:
- project logo;
- news slideshow;
- event calendar (with registration option);
- partner’s logo sphere;
- EU flag with obligatory sentences, Horizon2020 logo, description;
- community media (facebook, linkedin, xing, twitter)
- search engine meta info
- Menu Structure (multi-level capable menu supporting child elements):
- The Consortium
- Contact information
- Overview of tasks
- Work Packages
- Advisory Board
- Project results
Since Worpdress is very flexible and can be adopted to almost any niche, these requirements are perfectly met. It is hardly by chance that WP websites geared towards Horizon2020 are already out there, see UPWAVE project. All in all, Horizon2020 projects would benefit a lot from using WP’s inherent potential in a more dedicated way. The open source characteristic of WordPress CMS (Content Management System) guarantees the longevity of websites developed of which sustainability is an important requirement from the European Commission.
Examples for Potential Horizon2020 WordPress Themes
Albertino – Science Research & Technology WordPress Theme
With this fascinating scientific research oriented WordPress theme, Horizon2020 consortia leaders have the ready-to-use tool to display project results in a well-structured and catchy way. It is equipped with all the necessary features any Horizon2020 project needs.
NewsUp – News, Magazine & Article Directory Theme
Another potential candidate for a research project website comes from the circle of themes developed for news as well as articles. The NewsUp WordPress Theme can be easily transformed and further elaborated to fulfill the objectives of any Horizon2020 project website.
Scientist – Science, Research and Innovations Magazine
Scientist WordPress Theme offers a wide range of possibility for introducing the given EU funded Horizon2020 project. As it is often the case, tenders are divided along Work Packages that should be carefully presented with the milestones and deliverables (e.g. study, survey, policy brief, white paper etc.). Newsletters can also be displayed and published by this theme in a delighted way. Research projects also have lot of meetings as well as events from kick-off meetings through validating workshops to final conferences of which pictures and summaries can also be presented and made available on this theme.
Many research projects also aim at preparing training materials (e.g. ‘HOW TOs’, when it comes to fostering innovation in the public sector etc.), what else can be more suitable for that purpose than the EducationPress WordPress theme than can be easily tailored to the given Horizon2020 research project.
Beyond the above mentioned features of Horizon2020 related websites, PolyClinic also offers an integrated database and search module, that can be transmogrified into interactive database or feedback interface as well. It is most applicable to projects that are targeting wider audience or aiming at reaching out higher stakeholder involvement.