The National Research Institute for Chemical Technology otherwise known as NARICT for short started as Hides and Skins Demonstration and Training Project established by the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO)/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Federal Government of the Nigeria and the then Northern Nigerian Government in 1964.

The Project was handed over to the Federal Government by the FAO/UNDP in 1972 and was subsequently renamed the Federal Leather Training Institute. By 1976, based on the provision of the Research Institutions Establishment Order of 1975, the institute was upgraded to the status of a research institute and renamed Leather Research Institute of Nigeria(LERIN) under the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria(ARCN), a body that was itself established under the Agricultural Research Institutes Decree, No. 35 of 1973.

As LERIN, the institute was given the mandate to conduct research into all aspects of leather science and technology, and to train middle level manpower in hides and skins improvement, leather and leather products technology. Sequel to that two tanneries in Sokoto and Maiduguri owned by the Federal Government which where hitherto supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, where transferred to LERIN and thus they became the research extension centres of the new research institute.

LERIN along with other agriculture related research institutes were placed under the supervision of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), which reported directly to the Presidency through the then office of the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters.

By April 1988, the mandate of the Leather Research Institute of Nigeria was expanded to include research and development into chemicals and chemical technology, and the name was changed to the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology(NARICT).

However, following Ministerial approval, the Institute transferred its leather programme activities to the Federal College of Leather and Chemical Technology(CHELTECH), Zaria including Sokoto, Maiduguri, Kano and the leather programme in Jos with effect from 26th June, 2009.

Presently the institute conducts R&D in petrochemicals, industrial chemicals, textiles, plastics and allied products as well as developing machinery for chemical industries. Also, it is involved in monitoring and control of effluents from chemical industries in Kano and Kaduna States.