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Since the 1950s, IGSNRR – and its predecessors, IOG and CISNAR – has pioneered research on China's geographic sciences and natural resources. IGSNRR's significant research achievements are mainly in the utilization of natural resources, eco-environmental protection, integrated land management, sustainable development, and resource and environment information systems. The contributions of IGSNRR to major scientific issues and to China's economic and social development are widely recognized. These research accomplishments represent the country's research orientation towards the development of geographic sciences and resources research.

The knowledge innovation program initiated by CAS in 2000 has greatly enhanced the IGSNRR's research capacity. Scientific research is going to be flourishing day by day, multi-source operation funds in scientific research are coming in, annual budget is increasing by more than 20% in average, and in 2008 the budget reaches ¥230 million (RMB). Since 2000, scientists in IGSNRR have won 49 national, provincial or ministerial awards as principal investigators, of which 14 are national awards. During 2000-2008, IGSNRR published 5708 research articles, including 1131 papers in SCI and SSCI journals and 236 monographs, completed 88 patent applications and 115 software registrations, and produced 116 key national reports. These are the direct result of the knowledge innovation program initiated in 2000.

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