oLife Fellowship Programme

About the oLife Fellowship Programme

We have recruited 18 post-doctoral fellows for bottom-up, interdisciplinary research concerning the origin and evolution of life, and its distribution in the universe. These are fundamental questions for humanity. Key questions revolve for instance around the formation of biomolecules, the emergence of life on planetary surfaces, the evolution of cellular functions, extra-terrestrial life and how life will cope with human-induced challenges.

The fellows work each in an own interdisciplinary research project. In addition, they follow training in academic & professional skills and promote themselves interdisciplinary research between the fellows, cross-networking with other origins & evolution of life-initiatives, as well as communication about the oLife programme.

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The oLife blog

Read about our activities and what’s going on in origins of life-studies in our blog section! Also, don’t miss our Twitter and LinkedIn channels.

About the research

The origin and nature of life and its distribution in the universe are fundamental questions for humanity. How did biomolecules form? How did life emerge? How did cellular functions evolve? Is there life elsewhere? Will life cope with human-induced challenges? To successfully address these challenging research questions, collaboration is needed between multiple disciplines: (bio)chemistry, (bio)physics, molecular biology, computational science, systems biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, astrophysics and geoscience. Using a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, we aim to break new grounds in four Scientific Research Areas:

Planetary preconditions and boundary conditions of Life, and its origins here on Earth

Defining properties and synthesis of Life, from the molecular to the biosphere level

Modelling, predicting and steering of Life

Distribution of Life across the universe

Participating institutes

The oLife Fellowship Programme is a joint initiative by seven world-leading research institutes of three universities in The Netherlands (University of Groningen, Leiden University, Eindhoven University of Technology):

  • TU/e Institute for Complex Molecular Systems
  • Groningen Biomolecular Sciences & Biotechnology Institute
  • Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences
  • Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
  • Leiden Institute of Chemistry
  • Stratingh Institute for Chemistry
  • Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials
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Within oLife, you may freely choose from a pool of 19 advisors. This gives you the opportunity to work directly with top-level academics who have won prestigious prizes and grants, such as the Nobel Prize, ERC Advanced Grant and NWO TOP grant.

Many advisors have vast experience as institute directors or board members, are members of esteemed platforms such as the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) or the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and/or have much experience with European training or networking programmes.

Apart from their high quality scientific and managerial experience, all oLife advisors have their own research group and are experienced in supervising researchers, both on PhD and post-doc level.

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The COFUND project oLife has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847675.