European agriculture is facing tremendous challenges related to the rapid decrease of farm populations, competitiveness on open markets and the preservation of natural resources on finite areas. Grasslands, which are highly significant for nature conservation, often face land-use competition with arable cropping, urbanisation and other uses. Farmers need dedicated innovations to improve grasslands economic performance and their effective implementation in practice. This requires co-creation of knowledge between researchers and farmland practitioners, as was broadly pointed out by the European Commission. This paper describes a novel approach to create a collaborative space for grassland innovations contributing to profitability of European grassland farms while preserving environmental benefits. Innovative modes of collaboration between practice and science are enabled by an international thematic network across eight European member states. A methodolog y serves to collect farmers’ innovative ideas and to stimulate collaboration among various stakeholders (farmers’ groups, extension services, education and research) including cross-border collaborations, where grassland-related knowledge is made available for local conditions. This interactive innovation model fosters knowledge exchange and establishes a farmland-specific Information Management System. The aim is to stimulate a renewed, collaborative innovation culture for EU grasslands. The methods are conceptualised and put into practice by the Thematic Network project Inno4Grass funded under Horizon 2020.
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