Scandinavian Turfgrass and Environment Research Foundation, STERF

STERF is an independent research foundation that supports existing and future R&D efforts and delivers ‘ready-to-use’ research results that benefit the golf and turfgrass sector. STERF was set up in 2006 by the golf federations in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Nordic Greenkeepers’ Associations. Research funded by STERF is carried out at universities or research institutes (or equivalent) where most relevant research capacity is concentrated. STERF helps to strengthen research capacity by encouraging and supporting networks and collaborating actively with international key organisations in the field of turfgrass management. STERF also arranges innovation workshops to help identify the golf and turfgrass industry´s future research needs, where researchers and industry representatives contribute to the planning process. STERF receives funding from participating golf associations, complemented by funding from other sources.

STERF’s vision is to be the leading international centre of expertise in sustainable golf course management.

To achieve this vision, STERF focuses on:

  •  Making the turfgrass industry in the Nordic countries a role model regarding responsibility for sustainable societal development, i.e. in producing managed turfgrass areas of a high standard while at the same time ensuring sustainable use of natural resources and contributing to functioning ecosystems and providing recreation areas that are open to the public and to outdoor activities.

  • Ensuring that Nordic turfgrass research and development focuses on internationally important areas where concerted research and industrial efforts are required. These include the pressures generated by government demands for greater environmental regulation, the increasing pressure on natural resources (notably water, energy and land), the emerging role of turf management in supporting ecosystem services and enhancing biodiversity, the continued need to promote integrated pest management, and the looming challenges posed by a changing climate and the urgent need to adapt. Activities within the focus areas must contribute to the fulfilment of eight of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in the UN Agenda 2030.
  • Establishing a successful international research and development collaboration, including research facilities and expertise in all five Nordic countries. STERF will continue to initiate inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research and support collaborations in Europe, Canada, and USA involving both researchers and stakeholders interested in land used for managed turfgrass areas.
  • Developing and expanding the STERF industrial scientific partner programme by collaborating with leading international companies within the sector to further strengthen the strategy that research and development should be integrated from producer to end-user.

  • Taking a lead in making research results and new knowledge easily accessible to end-users and providing support to implement changes, a prerequisite for achieving improvements in the sustainable management of golf courses and other turfgrass areas.

STERF´s activities must contribute to fulfilment of eight of the 17 SDGs set out in Agenda 2030. STERF has divided these into six categories:

  1. Sustainable use of natural resources and chemicals (SDGs 6, 11, 12, 14, 15).
  2. Ecosystem services and enhanced biodiversity (SDGs 14,15).
  3. Adapting to a changing climate and minimising factors affecting climate change (SDG 13).
  4. Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11).
  5. Healthy lives and well-being for people of all ages (SDG 3).
  6. Partnership for sustainable development and for new regulations (SDG 17).

These categories and goals are closely related to the golf and turfgrass industry´s everyday challenges and to STERF’s programmes, projects and dissemination efforts.