Kurchatov Institute was founded in Moscow in 1943 in order to solve a defence issue of the development of nuclear weapon. It was known under a name of "Laboratory № 2 of the USSR Academy of Sciences". Since 1960 it was named Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. The Institute got the status of the Russian Research Centre in 1991 and in 2010 it became the National Research Centre (NRC "Kurchatov Institute").

Kurchatov Institute has played a key role in the maintenance of the country's security and the development of the most important strategic directions. The Institute was a creator of the first atomic reactor in Eurasia (1946), the first domestic atomic bomb (1949), the first thermonuclear bomb in the world (1953). The first nuclear power plant in the world (1954), the first tokamak installation (1955), atomic reactors for ice-breakers (1957), submarines (1958) and space engineering were developed under the scientific leadership of Kurchatov Institute. The first Russian dedicated synchrotron radiation source (1999), the first in the world сentre of converging, nano-, bio-, information and cognitive (NBIC) sciences and technologies (2009) were launched in the Kurchatov Institute.

Nowadays the Kurchatov Institute is a multi-disciplinary research centre with an advanced experimental base:

  • 5 nuclear research reactors;
  • 14 critical reactor assemblies;
  • Dedicated synchrotron radiation source;
  • Thermonuclear tokamak facilities;
  • Material science laboratory with "hot cells" to study irradiated materials;
  • Cluster process line for manufacturing of integrated circuits;
  • Isotope separation facilities;
  • Complex of physical, chemical and radiochemical laboratories;
  • Data processing centre based on the supercomputer (with a peak performance of 120 teraflops);
  • Genetic engineering and synthetic cell Labs;
  • Protein factory and NanoFab (nano-bio fabrication).

The main areas of fundamental and applied researches of the Centre are implemented in accordance with the priority areas of science and technology development in the Russian Federation:

1. Industry of nanosystems and materials:

  • Nanobiotechnology, nanomaterials and nanosystems.

2. Energy and energy conservation:

  • Nuclear power engineering and prospective energy technologies;
  • Thermonuclear fusion and ion-plasma technologies;
  • Non-proliferation, rehabilitation and physical protection;
  • Nuclear medicine, isotope separation technology.

And also:

  • Convergence of nano-, bio-, info and cognitive sciences and technologies;
  • Interdisciplinary fundamental research;
  • Information technologies and systems;
  • Participation in global international projects.

Today Kurchatov Institute is: 100 hectares of territory: about 5000 of employees, including 2000 researchers, 900 PhDs, 21 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

One of the most relevant scientific tasks for development of NRC "Kurchatov Institute" is the convergence of nano-, bio-, information and cognitive sciences and technologies. It means creation of an essentially new research, technologies and human resources infrastructure aimed at developing of interdisciplinary researches.

The system for training of a new type of interdisciplinary scientists has been created on the basis of Kurchatov Institute and leading Russian universities, such as Lomonosov State University, Moscow Engineering and Physical Institute, Bauman Moscow State Technical University. The first in Russia Department of Nano-, Bio-, Information and Cognitive Technologies has been established via joint cooperation of Kurchatov Institute and Moscow Physical and Technological Institute.

Kurchatov Institute's educational infrastructure consists of: Kurchatov High School № 1189, 23 basic chairs and branches, postgraduate course on 16 specialties, 6 dissertation councils.

Kurchatov Institute is the scientific coordinator of activities in the area of anobiotechnology, nanosystems and nanomaterials in the Russian Federation.

Kurchatov Institute hosts the National agency for the international project on development of the ITER thermonuclear reactor. Kurchatov Institute is an active participant of global international research projects (CERN, XFEL, FAIR, Russian-German laboratory on the use of synchrotron radiation, etc.).

The pilot project for the establishment of the National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute" has been implemented since 2008. October 1, 2009 President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev signed the Executive Order on Additional Measures for Implementing the Pilot Project on Creating the National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute". The executive order also specifies three other research institutes which are to participate in the pilot project: Konstantinov Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (Gatchina, Leningrad region), Institute of High Energy Physics (Protvino, Moscow region), and Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (Moscow).

Starting from December 2009 Kurchatov Institute referees under the maintenance of the Government of Russia. In 2010 President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev signed Federal Law On the ational Research Centre"Kurchatov Institute".

At present Kurchatov Institute is one of the leading research institutes in the world. It is a model of a future research centre as an interdisciplinary national laboratory, a prototype of a new approach to realize scientific and technological global challenges of the 21st century.