The Origins Center is a platform for scientists from seven main disciplines involved in the Dutch National Science Agenda’s key questions on the origin, evolution and future of life on earth and in the universe. The Origins Center is currently represented by Ben Feringa, Louise Vet and Rens Waters, and directed by the steering committee, a group of seven representatives of the main disciplines Astronomy, Biophysics, Chemistry, Ecology and Evolution, Mathematics and Computational Science, Molecular Biosciences, and Planetary and Geosciences. The larger council constitutes a forum on which major decisions are discussed, and provides connections to the scientific communities, networks and institutes involved in the research. Always feel free to contact any of the members.


  • Louise Vet



  • Rens Waters



  • Ben Feringa


    Chemistry, Nobel Laureate 2016

Steering committee

  • Inge Loes ten Kate

    UU, chair

    Planetary and Geosciences

  • Sijbren Otto


    Systems Chemistry

  • Jan-Willem Mantel


    Origins Center

  • Liedewij Laan


    Evolutionary cell biophysics and synthetic biology

  • Floris van der Tak

    SRON, UG

    Submillimeter Astronomy

  • Rob Planqué


    Mathematical Biology

  • Bregje Wertheim


    Evolutionary genomics of ecological interactions

Council members



Marileen Dogterom (TUD)
Sander Tans (AMOLF/TUD)
Claire Wyman (Erasmus MC)
Kees Storm (TUE)
Wouter Roos (UG)
Gijs Wuite (VU)

Ecology and Evolution

Marcel Visser (NIOO/WUR/UG)
Han Olff (UG)
Franjo Weissing (UG)
Jef Huisman (UvA)
Louise Vet (NIOO/WUR)
Erik Smets (Naturalis)
Jacintha Ellers (VU)

Mathematics and Computational Science

Molecular Biosciences

Planetary and Geosciences

Research fellows

  • Research fellow

    An origin of life simulator in order to mimic the emergence of proto-metabolism in the far-from-equilibrium conditions of Hadean Earth

  • Research fellow

    Making evolutionary biology more predictive

  • Research fellow

    Studying the origins of life by extending principles from evolutionary biology to chemical replicators

  • Research fellow

    Making evolutionary biology more predictive

  • Research fellow

    Mechanisms underlying the stability of chromosomal coexistence

  • Research fellow

    Modeling planet Earth as an exoplanet

  • Research fellow

    Understanding downward causation

  • Research fellow

    Understanding downward causation

Universities and research institutes