In manifold ways science and practice are working together to find solutions for sustainable land management. New research programmes on this topic generate a large variety of single project results. Accompanying research projects will realize additional value by merging and synthesising the results from these projects and by supporting the generation of new knowledge for science and society. For many actors in science and policy, the additional value of research accompanying research projects remains open. Referring to a recent publication in GAIA that introduces a typology for accompanying research (AR), this article discusses the central issues, content, processes and ongoing challenges in an AR project accompanying the German research programme Sustainable Land Management. The important value of AR can be seen in communication, networking, the reflexive generation of new knowledge and knowledge management based on trust building and competence. AR also exhibits great potential for research on cross-cutting issues in research programmes and has special significance for meta-studies on different research projects taking place under similar funding conditions. However, additional analyses are necessary for a better understanding of the outcomes and impacts of AR and to create wider appreciation and acceptance.