Porous nitrogen-doped and nitrogen-free carbon materials possessing high specific surface areas (400-1000 m2 g-1) were used for deposition of Ni by impregnation with nickel acetate followed by reduction. The nitrogen-doped materials synthesized by decomposition of acetonitrile at 973, 1073, and 1173 K did not differ much in the total content of incorporated nitrogen (4-5 at%), but differed in the ratio of the chemical forms of nitrogen. An X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy study showed that the rise in the synthesis temperature led to a strong growth of the content of graphitic nitrogen on the support accompanied by a reduction of the content of pyrrolic nitrogen. The content of pyridinic nitrogen did not change significantly. The prepared nickel catalysts supported on nitrogen-doped carbons showed by a factor of up to two higher conversion of formic acid as compared to that of the nickel catalyst supported on the nitrogen-free carbon. This was related to stabilization of Ni in the state of single Ni2+ cations or a few atoms clusters by the pyridinic nitrogen sites. The nitrogen-doped nickel catalysts possessed a high stability in the reaction at least within 5 h and a high selectivity to hydrogen (97%). 2019 by the authors.