The Institute was founded in 1918, when academician V. I. Vernadsky, the first President of the Academy of Sciences, set up a chemical laboratory within its Physical-and-Mathematical Department. It was transformed into the Institute of Chemistry in 1929�30.
At present the Institute is a major center of fundamental and applied research in inorganic chemistry, coordination chemistry, chemistry of solids, nanochemistry, electrochemistry and physical chemistry of melts, aqueous and non-aqueous solutions, processing of initial and recycled metal-containing materials.
The Institute carries out research in priority areas of inorganic and physico-inorganic chemistry, in high-temperature coordination chemistry of melts, gas phases and plasma; synthesis and characterization of novel dielectric, semiconductive, optical, ultrapure oxide materials, superconductors and high-temperature ceramics. The structure and properties of ionic melts, solid electrolytes, inorganic sorbents, coordination compounds of rare, rare-earth and other metals, liquid ionic crystals, membrane materials are also studied here.
World-famous science schools originated at the Institute, namely in the chemistry of non-aqueous solutions (V. O. Plotnikov), colloid chemistry (A. V. Dumansky, F. D. Ovcharenko, O. D. Kurilenko, Yu. I. Tarasevich), analytical chemistry (A. K. Babko, M. S. Poluektov, A. T. Pilipenko, V. A. Nazarenko), physical chemistry and electrochemistry of ionic melts and solutions (V. O. Izbekov, Yu. K. Delimarsky, O. V. Gorodysky, S. V. Volkov, V. I. Shapoval, O. G. Zarubitsky, V. D. Prisyazhny), chemistry of complexes (Ya. A. Fialkov, K. B. Yatsimirsky, I. A. Sheka, S. V. Volkov, V. I. Pekhnyo), water chemistry and technology (L. A. Kulsky).
In basic research, fundamentals of coordination chemistry, primarily of high-temperature and heterophase chemistry, were developed; the effect of metal transfer from cathode to anode was found; fundamentals of bioinorganic chemistry were worked out; theories of electrochemical kinetics in melts and in several areas of bioinorganic chemistry were evolved. 126 novelty monographs covering those subjects were published.
Theoretical and applied research in inorganic and physico-inorganic chemistry concerning high-temperature coordination chemistry in melts and non-aqueous electrolytes made a basis for advanced technologies in pyroelectrometallurgy. Studies of kinetics and mechanisms of electrochemical processes resulted in technologies for producing ultrapure metals, functional platings, in both technologies and facilities for environment protection.
In electrochemistry, studies of the kinetics and mechanisms of electrochemical processes were carried out; fundamentals of technologies and methods for elecrtrodeposition of metals and alloys, including ultrapure metals, were developed, alongside with electrosynthesis of inorganic compounds. Now 12 research departments and Specialized Design Bureau with a pilot plant operate within the Institute. NAS academician S. V. Volkov, NAS corresponding members V. M. Byelyakov, A. G Bilous, V. M. Ogenko, V. I. Pekhnyo, 18 doctors of science and 67 candidates of science work at the Institute.