Earth-Life Science Institute

ELSI is a research institute focused on international and interdisciplinary research on the origins of life. It was established in 2012 in Tokyo (Japan) and is part of Tokyo Institute of Technology. ELSI’s research mission is to elucidate the origins of the Earth and life through an integrated interdisciplinary approach that brings together top-level domestic and international researchers from various disciplines.

What makes ELSI special is that it not only investigates how our planet formed and how its early environment allowed for the rise of initial life and its subsequent evolution to complexity, but also how life might exist in other planetary systems based on the understanding of how Earth and life on Earth originated.

At ELSI we organize a variety of meetings and events, the largest of which is the yearly ELSI symposium, bringing together national and international experts to discuss issues/topics related to the origins of life. Save the date for the next (virtual) symposium, “Science in Society”, which will take place on 26-19 January 2021. In 2018, ELSI hosted the “EON/ELSI winter school” (an origins of life/astrobiology themed winter school), which was attended by graduate students from all over the world. ELSI will also host the astrobiology graduate conference (AbGradCon) on 14-17 September 2021 (save the date!). If you are interested in working at or visiting ELSI, get in touch with a potential host researcher/supervisor. To study/work at ELSI you are required to have a host researcher/supervisor to provide mentoring and financial assistance. See you at ELSI!

Useful links:

Point of contact: Irene Bonati


  1. Did the candidate applying through TITECH IGP C program for PhD can avail MEXT university recommended or embassy recommended scholarship?
    Here is the info related to the MEXT scholarship.
    For more information on scholarships and graduate programs at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), please contact gak.sei (at)
    While filling in the application documents for the IGP(C) graduate program at Tokyo Tech, there is the possibility to apply for the MEXT scholarship through university recommendation. This means that the application for MEXT can be sent together with all the other documents required for the enrolment to the graduate program, which is very convenient. Embassy recommendation is also possible, but the procedure can be a little bit more intricate, as each embassy (or consulate) has a different timeline and different application deadlines. Also, some embassies have eligibility restrictions and perform a pre-screening before application.
  2. Is the embassy for all countries like Greece?
    Yes, for all countries including Greece.
  3. How can I find more info on Master/PhD opportunities at ELSI?
    Get in touch with the ELSI professor/researcher you would like to work with (you need a host/supervisor to work at ELSI), and contact them to discuss potential projects. Make sure the person you contacted is allowed to supervise you according to Tokyo Tech rules.
  4. How to look for scholarship other than MEXT?
    Here are some webpages of Tokyo Tech with info on scholarships: AND
    There are several other opportunities in addition to MEXT, such as
    JASSO, TSUBAME, and the JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists ( AND
  5. What about post-graduate / researcher positions? where could we find opportunities or who should we contact?
    Job openings/opportunities at ELSI are going to be shared on the ELSI website, social media, etc.
  6. Can I apply for an internship at ELSI?
    It is possible, get in touch with the researcher you would like to work with to ask about the possibility of joining ELSI as an intern.