Research environment

Chemistry holds a central position at the cross-roads of basic sciences (physics & biology) and their technological applications (e.g. healthcare, materials, etc.). For Strasbourg, chemistry has always been a core strength, upholding its reputation of excellence in fundamental research and teaching. Consequently, in 2015 the Shanghai Academic World Ranking of Universities ranked Strasbourg 19th worldwide in chemistry. Chemistry in Strasbourg is characterized by its large volume of contracts, its technology transfer and its international attractiveness (50% foreign PhDs). In addition, the journal Nature recently ranked the University of Strasbourg the most innovative university in Europe (and 16th world-wide) in a measure of how its research generates R&D applications and commercial impact.

Historically, chemistry was centred on the molecule and its construction from atomic building blocks through covalent bonding. During the second half of the 20th century, chemists began to consider non-covalent interactions as a powerful paradigm to generate molecular architectures which gave rise to supramolecular chemistry and 2 of the 3 most recent Strasbourg chemistry Nobel laureates were rewarded for their pioneering work in this field (More information about our Nobel Prizes in Chemistry).

Over the past two decades, researchers in Strasbourg have been at the cutting-edge in the emerging field known as the Chemistry of Complex Systems (CSC). They are using the framework of supramolecular chemistry to enable far-reaching developments in more complex systems with emerging function. This trend will only build momentum in the 21st century and is leveraged on the integration of molecular units incorporating information, capable of expressing a specific property and performing well-defined tasks. In 2010, Strasbourg was awarded an excellence cluster grant on this topic (LabEx CSC). CSC will induce deep technological advances which will transform traditional chemical and pharmaceutical industries by bringing considerable added value to the products and production methods. It should also help these industries adjust to new environmental standards.

For more information about the CSC associated groups, please visit this page.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 was awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage (University of Strasbourg), Sir J. Fraser Stoddart (Northwestern University) and Bernard L. Feringa ( University of Groningen) for their design and production of molecular machines. They have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added.

Photos from 2016 Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony: