1. Japan AstroBiology Consortium (JABC)

    Dr. Kei Hirose kei@elsi.jp
    Director of the Earth-Life Science Institute

    Dr. Katsuhiko Sato k.sato@nins.jp
    President of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences

    JABC Activities

    The 4th ELSI International Symposium 2016
    The symposium will be in Tokyo, Japan, January 12 – 15, 2016, titled “Three Experiments in Biological Origins: Early Earth, Venus, and Mars”

    ELSI Origins Network (EON)
    EON was created to form a world-wide and interdisciplinary network, centered at ELSI, for research into the Origin of Life. The EON website launched in July 2015.

    The 3rd ELSI International Symposium 2015
    The symposium took place in Tokyo, Japan, January 13 – 15, 2015, titled “Life in the Universe” http://www.elsi.jp/en/research/activities/symposium/2015/01/sympo-03.html

    8th Meeting of the NASA Astrobiology Program Thermodynamics, Disequilibrium and Evolution (TDE) Focus Group
    ELSI hosted the meeting in Tokyo, Japan, November 10 – 14, 2014 http://www.elsi.jp/en/research/activities/workshops/2014/09/workshop2014_1110.html

    NAI-funded researchers blog about their experiences working at ELSI

    About the Japan AstroBiology Consortium

    The Earth-Life Science Institute and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences have partnered to establish the Japan AstroBiology Consortium (JABC), which became an Affiliate International Partner of the NAI in August of 2015. The mission of the JABC is to develop the field of astrobiology, establish a community of researchers in astrobiology, to support especially young researchers, and to be the hub for international relationships. Other organizations in Japan conducting research related to astrobiology are expected to join the JABC in the future.

    ELSI, based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, is one of nine World Premier International (WPI) Research Centers created by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. WPI centers have the goal of creating world‐class research institutions aimed at solving problems deemed important for mankind. ELSI was established in December 2012. Although most of the research efforts are based at the Tokyo Tech campus in Meguro, Tokyo, ELSI has satellite centers at Ehime University, the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, and at Harvard University. In addition, ELSI has three partner institutions including the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Japan Agency for Marine‐Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), and in the U.S. at the University of Minnesota. ELSI has financial support available for a standing population of ~40 Postdoctoral Scholars for the next decade, as well as support for many faculty from participating organizations and their collaborators. They have excellent facilities for hosting visiting scientists in the Tokyo Tech International House, and the fact that they conduct their fundamental intellectual activities in English facilitates collaboration with the U.S. science community.

    The research objectives of ELSI are in close accord with those of astrobiology – as they seek to answer the following questions and themes:

    • How was the Earth formed within the solar system?
    • When and how was the primordial Earth‐Life system established?
    • How have the Earth and Life co‐evolved over time?
    • Through the study of early Earth, how can we better understand the universal and unique aspects of the Earth in harboring life? How can we apply that knowledge to provide guidance for the search for life on other planets and moons?

    The National Institutes of Natural Sciences consists of six institutes, each hosting research deeply related to the field of astrobiology: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB), National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS), National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), and Institute for Molecular Science (IMS). NINS has also established a new institute, the Astrobiology Center (ABC), dedicated to the study and development of astrobiology. These six institutes and the ABC cooperate to achieve the following objectives and responsibilities of NINS, as important research centers engaged in academic research at the highest international level:

    • Promotion of unique and cutting‐edge academic research, and contribution to advanced studies in the research community throughout Japan,
    • Establishment and operation of large‐scale facilities that cannot be supported alone by individual universities, the promotion of pioneering research, and the provision of facilities for researchers across Japan,
    • Implementation of organizational survey, study, collection, sorting and management of organized academic materials and information, and the improvement of the intellectual foundation of Japan.

    The partnership between the NAI and the JABC will focus initially on (1) the exchange of early career scientists and astrobiology summer schools; (2) the organization of Workshops Without Walls; and (3) research collaborations involving members of the NAI and the JABC.