Institute for Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity


The Institute of Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity (ISOF) is one of the 90 institutes of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR).

At ISOF we do research using chemistry, materials and light to develop new technologies able to improve our quality of life, making our world more suitable and liveable. In particular, we create new molecules and materials for key applications to treat diseases with high social impact, like cancer and neurological disorders, or to monitor our health status, to reduce or remove CO2 from the atmosphere, or to purify the air and water around us.

ISOF in brief

ISOF was established in 2002 and is currently the largest CNR institute located in Bologna with a staff of 65 units, including 44 full-time researchers, plus more than 60 among non-permanent researchers, postdoc and Ph.D. students. The Institute has > 7000 m2 of laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation; it is currently performing ca. 40 research projects funded by the EU, the Italian government, the Emilia Romagna Region and different non-profit organisations and industrial partners.

Scientific Excellence

More than 1800 scientific articles on peer-reviewed international journals have been published at ISOF in the last 20 years, with an average 90 articles/year and a citation h-index =103 (Source: SCOPUS; June 2021).

International leadership & Tech transfer

ISOF has a key role in promoting and coordinating CNR activities in multidisciplinary projects, like the Graphene Flagship and the RM@Schools , part of KIC EIT KIC RawMaterials, which are strategic for our department  of Chemical Sciences and Materials Technologies (DSCTM) and CNR as a whole.

The activities of fundamental and applied research have also fostered the creation during the last 20 years of spin-off companies dedicated to lipidomic analysis of cell membrane for personalized medicine (Lipinutragen), production of new polymers (APM), synthesis of fluorescent dyes (Mediteknology) and sustainable biomaterials (Kerline).

The value of dissemination

Another excellence of ISOF is its long-lasting engagement in scientific dissemination activities and communication. ISOF researchers have ideated and successful promoted several National and EU projects targeting the establishing scientific cultural values in younger generations, participated in several editions of the European researchers’ night and published several books and articles in public media to increase the general public’s awareness of key problems of our age like energy production and usage or plastic pollution. Such publications have collected several awards

Besides dissemination to the scientific and public communities, ISOF has an excellent track record of technology transfer to industries, with long-lasting research contracts and collaborations with key industries like ENI, FIAT/Stellantis, AIRBUS etc

In the last years, the vocation of ISOF for research on sustainability has been strengthened, while keeping also a strong research activity in the fields of new materials to improve human health, with the final goal of supporting the transition of our country and our society to a healthier and more sustainable way of life.