Bridging the gap between science and policy is an ongoing challenge, particularly in the context of publicly funded research. Because research outputs have typically taken a decade or more to be incorporated into new policies, there is a clear need, on the one hand, to support dissemination in order to speed up and ensure the transfer of research results and, on the other, for this dissemination to be designed and implemented in a strategic way. Here we explore knowledge exchange and uptake of water research results, a concept known as knowledge brokerage, as part of the FP7 project WaterDiss2.0 (2010–2013). While knowledge brokerage is a multi-directional learning process and not a one-directional distribution process, due to the diversity of topics and the wide range of projects that we assisted within WaterDiss2.0, we focused on the science-to-policy practitioner direction of knowledge exchange. Our aim was to improve the uptake of water-related research results from EU-funded projects to support the implementation of European water policy, in particular the Water Framework Directive. To achieve this, we worked with many recipients of EU funding in order to research methods of reducing the communication distance between scientists and policy-makers, by enabling scientists to identify their target groups, establishing dissemination materials and channels, creating clear messages, and communicating them in targeted ways. In cooperation with selected researchers and scientists of FP research projects, we 290also identified the main challenges and general barriers that scientists currently face in effective knowledge dissemination and uptake by target groups. The results were incorporated into a toolbox, which included the Individual Dissemination Strategy (IDS), in order to support the knowledge flow between science, policy and practice, and to facilitate transfer to broader applications. Observations and insights ultimately led to recommendations for researchers, policy-makers, research funding organizations and science communication experts.