Meeting the food demand of a rapidly growing population in an environmentally sustainable manner is a pressing global challenge. This challenge is especially paramount in countries with high population densities and fast-growing economies, such as China. Available land and water resources are under pressure to meet both the rapidly increasing and changing demand for healthy and safe food from its growing urban population and the fast-growing demand from sectors outside the food economy.

Ensuring sustainable natural resources management in agricultural development requires an integrated ‘water, land and food nexus’ approach, which takes potential synergies and trade-offs into account. State-of-the art knowledge about the institutions, policies and markets governing environmental pollution, natural resource use and food supply chains, as well as the underlying processes contributing to changing land, water and food availability and quality, is crucial for the successful adoption of such a water, land and food nexus approach. However, to achieve sustainable agricultural development, there are still major hurdles in front of both the academic researchers, policymakers and other involved stakeholders.

During the Program Phase of the PSA program (2008-2013), the ‘Sustainable Natural Resource Use in Rural China: Institutions, Policies and Markets (SURE)’ program focused on the governance of natural resources in rural China. In the Alliance Phase (2017-2021), the SURE+ program takes an interdisciplinary approach, by taking the insights gained during the previous phase and integrated with analyses of the governance of thefood chain and factors driving land, water and agrochemicals use efficiency and their environmental impacts, to guarantee that their current research outcomes contribute to improved resource use efficiency as well as greater policy coherence.

To further enhance our collaboration and go beyond, the SuReFood Alliance is proposed. Taking the advantages of our current interdisciplinary collaboration. CiE is motivated to be one of leading international interdisciplinary research center in sustainable natural resources use and the environment in agriculture and food provision.