Her research deals with soil organic matter, which has a prominent role in ecosystem services provided by soils. She addresses both the roles of soil organic matter in soil physical properties and C sequestration and the temporal dynamics of soil organic matter, both as affected by cropping systems.
Claire Chenu is involved in the science-policy-practice interface and in awareness raising activities on soils. She chairs the scientific committee of the GESSOL program, a multidisciplinary research program of the French ministry of Ecology devoted to soils. This program aims at providing scientific basis and appropriate tools to decision makers and environmental managers, in order to improve the consideration of multi-functionality of soils and reduce risks of degradation. She is vice-chair of the CSPNB (Conseil Scientifique du Patrimoine Naturel et de la Biodiversité), an advisory committee on biodiversity and natural heritage to the Minister of Ecology. She has been nominated Special Ambassador for 2015 the international year of soils by the FAO.