On 7 July 2017 the Executive Board of NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, decided to provide funding for the first phase in the Origins Center’s research programme. In this phase, a number of pathfinder projects will be executed that should lay the groundwork for a long-term, collaborative effort to attain the five game changers. Thanks to the funding decision, a first-phase community building and outreach programme can also be initiated. We will reach out to those who submitted, back in 2015, questions within the National Science Agenda, as we will do to others who similarly wonder at life occurring in the universe. In addition to the Origins Center, NWO funded seven other initiatives responding to the National Science Agenda.

We will soon announce six vacancies for postdoctoral research fellow positions for the pathfinder projects.

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In April, five 1-day workshops will be organised to introduce each of the five gamechangers:

  •   5 April 2017:  Finding extraterrestrial life
  • 11 April 2017: Bridging long temporal and spatial scales
  • 12 April 2017: Predicting evolution
  • 13 April 2017: Origin and co-evolution of earth-like planets and life
  • 21 April 2017: Building and directing life from molecule to biosphere
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