The Institute was founded in 1918/19,
shortly after the reestablishment of Poland as an independent
country. It was based on three pre-existing laboratories affiliated
with the Scientific Society of Warsaw (Towarzystwo Naukowe
Warszawskie): Laboratory of Neurobiology (in existence since
1911), Laboratory of Physiology (in existence since 1913)
and Laboratory of General Biology (established in 1918). Formation
and development of the Institute was supported in part by
a donation of Nadine Sieber-Shumova, a close co-worker of
Marceli Nencki from Berne and St. Petersburg.
Over the next two decades the Institute
grew to become the leading biological research centre in Poland.
The outbreak of World War II interrupted a period of its intensive
expansion and achievement of scientific excellence in the
field of experimental biology. After the turmoil of World
War II, during which over a dozen of the Institute's staff
lost their lives, and its premises (including most of its
30,000-volume library) were destroyed, the surviving staff
members (professors Jan Dembowski, Jerzy Konorski, and Włodzimierz
Niemierko) re-established the Nencki Institute. In 1952 the
Institute was incorporated into the newly founded Polish Academy
of Sciences, and the Institute's director, Prof. Dembowski,
became the first President of the Academy. During the period
of 1953-55, a newlly erected building at 3 Pasteur Street
in Warsaw became the new, and up-to-date, the final home of
the Nencki Institute.
In 1990 the Institute was invited to
become a member institution of the Global Network for Molecular
and Cell Biology (MCBN) within UNESCO. Continuously hiring
new talented researchers and awarding approximately 15 doctoral
degrees annually, the Nencki Institute is known for its competitiveness
in securing external funding for research projects, as well
as for the number and quality of its scientific publications.
Recent success of its researchers in competitive European
Community proposals is demonstrated by the formation of two
European Centres of Excellence within the Institute.