Australia-China Joint Research Centre of Healthy Soils for Sustainable Food Production and Environmental Quality

Soil is an integral component of the supply chain for food, fibre, and fresh water. Australian farmers must effectively manage their soil to meet growing national and global demand for food and continue as net exporters of food and fibre. A pressing challenge for China is to feed its rapidly growing population clean, safe food.

This Centre will focus on soil resilience to threats such as drought, degradation and climate variability, with the ultimate goal of sustainable food production with minimal detrimental impacts on society and the environment.

Science and Research Priorities

This Centre aligns with the priority Soil and Water and seeks to investigate the practical challenges of:

  • Better understanding of sustainable limits for productive use of soil, freshwater, river flows and water rights, terrestrial and marine systems; and 
  • Minimise the damage to, and developing solutions for restoration and remediation of soil, fresh and potable water, urban catchments and marine systems.

Economic, environmental and social benefits

  • Improved food credentials will be underpinned by soil security and active management of resilient and productive soils. 
  • This Centre will reduce the footprint of agriculture production systems by retaining nutrients in food, reducing wastes, developing climate resilient systems and remediating soils that have existing contaminant burdens. 
  • The work of the Centre will introduce new technologies and management practices that will improve farming productivity and sustainability within both Australia and China with broad social implications for national food security and the sustainability of rural communities.


Lead Australian partner: The University of Melbourne

Lead Chinese partner: Chinese Agricultural University

Other partners

  • Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences 
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences 
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Incitec Pivot Limited 
  • Nanjing Agricultural University 
  • The University of New England 
  • University of Western Australia 
  • Xinyangfeng Fertilizer Co Ltd
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