The Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences was founded in February 23, 1934, as a result of the merging of the laboratories, which represented leading Russian scientific schools. These laboratories were headed by Prof. A.E. Favorsky, Prof. N.D. Zelinsky, Prof. V.N. Ipatyev, and Prof. A.E. Chichibabin. Apart from these research teams, laboratories of Prof. N.Ya. Demyanov, Prof. M.A. Ilyinsky, and Prof. N.M. Kizhner, and a number of scientists working under the supervision of Prof. Pavel P. Shorygin joined the Institute at the earlier stage of its existence.
In 1953, the Institute was named after Prof. N.D. Zelinsky who was the head of one of the Institute departments in 1936-1953. The world fame of the Institute is associated with the names of prominent scientists who had worked in the Institute. Among them were full members of the Academy Professors A.E. Favorsky, N.D. Zelinsky, A.A. Balandin, B.A. Kazansky, A.N. Nesmeyanov, I.N. Nazarov, I.L. Knunyants, A.E. Porai-Koshits, V.V. Korshak, L.F. Vereshchagin, M.M. Shemyakin, M.I. Kabachnik, Kh.M. Minachev, and many others. The outstanding contributions to the world chemical science made by N.D. Zelinsky, A.N. Nesmeyanov, A.A. Balandin, V.N. Ipatyev and M.M. Shemyakin were marked by the institution of the corresponding name awards under the aegis of the USSR Academy of Sciences (nowadays - Russian Academy of Sciences).
Throughout its 70-year history, the Institute was headed by full members of the Academy A.E. Favorsky (1934-1939), A. N. Nesmeyanov (1939-1954), B.A. Kazansky (1954-1966), N.K. Kochetkov (1966-1988), and V.A. Tartakovsky (1988-2002). Prof. M.P. Egorov, corresponding member of RAS, has been the director of the Institute since 2003.
N.D. Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry (ZIOC) ranks among the leaders of Russian science in the field of organic and bioorganic chemistry and organic catalysis. The following key areas of basic research are being successfully developed at the Institute:
- in-depth study of the chemical bond nature, reactivity of organic and organoelement compounds, mechanisms and intermediates of chemical reactions;
- development of new methods and routes of organic and organoelement synthesis;
- research in chemistry of biologically active and natural compounds;
- elucidation of general regularities of organic catalysis and mechanisms of catalytic reactions;
- development of new methods of catalytic synthesis.
Since the late 80's, the Institute has initiated researches in the area of mathematical chemistry and computer synthesis based on advanced information technologies.itiated researches in the area of mathematical chemistry and computer synthesis based on advanced information technologies.
At every stage of its history, ZIOC has been focusing on the combination of the basic research activities with the search of practical solutions of top priority for Russia. During the World War II, its scientists greatly contributed to improving the quality of aviation gasolines and preparing drugs urgently needed in military hospitals. Of other activities worth mentioning, there was the preparation of the carbinol adhesive (Nazarov adhesive) and its use for the maintenance of armored vehicles. After the war, the main research was aimed at the build-up of USSR defense capacity.
ZIOC was involved in the implementation of the Food and Energy programs, as well as a number of Federal Target Programs aiming at important problems of science and technology: chemicalization of agriculture, environmental protection and design of new high-performance catalysts, pharmaceuticals, scientific research devices etc. (more than 100 various projects).
Since the 90's, ZIOC RAS has been performing research in high-priority areas, including those initiated by and funded through governmental S&T programs, such as the Federal Target Program "Research and Development within the Priority Science and Technology Areas", Federal Target Program "Integration of Science and Higher Education in Russia", and other R&D programs. The basic research in ZIOC was supported by the programs of the Russian Academy of Sciences, RAS Division of Chemistry and Material Sciences, Moscow Program of Science and Technology Development etc.
The Institute participates in joint projects with scientists from Western Europe and the USA in the framework of the EU scientific programs (INTAS, Copernicus), American Civil Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), Conversion Program of the International Science and Engineering Centre, and other initiatives of different foundations.
A number of the ZIOC teams and individual scientists have won the competition-based selection of research programs and individual projects for funding in the framework of the Program for Governmental Support to Russian Federation Leading Scientific Schools (8 research teams in 2004), competitions of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (42 projects in 2004), and competitions for grants held by international scientific foundations, programs and organizations (about 20 grants annually).