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Table 5 Major challenges and possible solutions in TN’s implementation phase

From: The multi-actor approach in thematic networks for agriculture and forestry innovation

Challenges Proposed solutions
Alignment of different actors towards the same goal Take partners profiles (background and expertise) into account
Keep the focus on the specific TN challenges by having regular meetings and updates
Communicate transparently between consortium partners
Uptake of TN results into practice Involve a facilitator, create a space of trust where actors can co-exist
Adopt a clear language easily understandable for users, avoid buzz words
Distribute videos and podcasts through social media to give visibility to TN stories and best practices
Translate dissemination materials in as many languages as possible
Participation of farmers, foresters and advisors Use awards (e.g. Newbie gives yearly awards for farmers)
Provide the possibility reallocate budget to compensate the time of farmers/foresters and (private) advisors (subcontracting)
Contact farmers/foresters directly
Involve representative organizations or existing networks of farmers/foresters and OGs (e.g. EuroDairy experienced a good connection with farmers due to the involvement of 42 OGs)
Engage members in the Advisory Board who can facilitate contacts with farmers/foresters
Use of expertise from actors outside the EU Engage international partners in the consortium and/or invite international experts to participatory workshops (e.g. FERTINNOWA and Sheepnet involved actors outside the EU in transnational workshops)
Improvement of the interaction between actors Organise discussion groups or events where scientists and farmers can meet (e.g. OK net Ecofeed organised “Science Bazaars”)
Involve small peer groups and incentivise activities that stimulate peer-to-peer learning among farmers/foresters and advisors
Involvement of experienced facilitators Provide training for improving the facilitator’s softs skills
Involve facilitators from the conceptualisation phase
Integration of TN results into practice Create an open-access digital platform that houses the TNs outputs organised in a common easy language with defined concepts. The TNs INCREDIBLE, SKIN, and 4D4F created an interactive knowledge platform