Why Strasbourg?

A Tradition of Excellence in Chemistry


For a city whose notable residents include Johannes Gutenberg, John Calvin, Goethe and Marcel Marceau, its litany of important chemists is no less impressive. Past University of Strasbourg chemistry faculty or alumni include Louis PasteurEmil Fischer (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1902), Adolf von Baeyer (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1905), Hermann Staudinger (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1953), Marguerite Perey (discovered Francium) and John Osborn.

Today, the University of Strasbourg remains one of the top places in the world to do chemistry (19th in the 2015 ARWU worldwide rankings; first in Europe and 16th worldwide for innovation according to Nature’s 2017 Lens score). Our institute, the Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaires (ISIS), built in 2003, includes as senior faculty Jean-Marie Lehn (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1987), Martin Karplus (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013), Jean-Pierre Sauvage (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016), Thomas Ebbesen (Kavli Prize 2014), Luisa De Cola and Paolo Samori.

Strasbourg is truly a chemistry hot spot. Besides ISIS, there are 11 other research institutes in chemistry across the University’s three campuses (Esplanade, Cronenbourg and Illkirch). For more on the history of chemistry in Strasbourg, click here. For a fly-over video of campus, click here.

Living in Strasbourg

Uniquely shaped by both French and German influences, Strasbourg continues to impact history and chemistry in ways befitting a much larger city. Containing the Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg cathedral, Strasbourg’s storybook city centre lies entirely within a UNESCO World Heritage site. Despite hosting the European Parliament and being listed as a top ten essential world tourist destination by Lonely Planet, living in Strasbourg remains relatively inexpensive, with rent for a one bedroom apartment near the university often below 600ε. The city is extremely student friendly, with over 42,000 students (8,000 foreign students), major parks, 500 km of bike paths and Paris only 1h50 away by train.