Earth-Life Science Institute Integrated Graduate Course

Latest News: September 14 We held Orientation Webinar. The recorded video is available here.

About ELSI

Founded in 2012, ELSI is an independent research institute based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), Japan's leading science and engineering university. ELSI's ambition is to study the origin and evolution of planets and life as intimately connected inter-dependent systems. We bring together hundreds of world-leading scientists in fields ranging from astrophysics to geology to chemistry and biology to fuse our expertise and tackle the most challenging scientific questions. To learn more, please visit the ELSI home page.

New ELSI Graduate Program

Building on a decade of experience recruiting top researchers from around the world to engage in genuinely inter-disciplinary research on origins of planets and life, in 2022 ELSI launched a new integrated 5-year (combined masters and doctorate) graduate program. The program is offered in partnership with the Tokyo Tech Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS), Department of Life Science and Technology (LST), and Department of Chemical Science and Engineering (CSE). ELSI will provide financial support to all ELSI graduate course students*. These students and their research efforts are based at ELSI under the mentorship of ELSI faculty (see below). Special emphasis will be placed on exposure to disciplines that span the institute, and students are encouraged to work on projects involving multiple ELSI faculty.

Options for Study at ELSI

Students will be enrolled in one of the following degree programs, in addition to the ELSI course:

  • Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS)

  • Department of Life Science and Technology (LST)

  • Department of Chemical Science and Engineering (CSE)

ELSI Principal Investigators have additional affiliations with these departments, and will act as the students' formal supervisor.

Application Procedure

  • Students should contact ELSI PIs and A-PIs via e-mail. See links to candidate PIs and A-PIs below for contact and other information. Applicants are free to contact multiple PIs and A-PIs.

  • Confirm interest in applying to the graduate program with their intended supervisor (by 28 September 2022 for enrollment starting in April 2023). Applicants will need to submit a consent letter to the university by the deadline (October 11 for enrollment starting in April 2023)

  • Prepare and submit an application for Tokyo Tech IGP-C to the Admissions Division (by 16 October 2022 for enrollment starting in April 2023). See for details.

  • As a selection process, an interview will be conducted with ELSI PIs online (early November 2022). After the selection process, applicants will be notified of the decision (December 7 for enrollment starting in April 2023).

  • If you have any questions, please contact us via <edu-info [at]> (replace [at] to @).

Application Schedule

Starting Enrollment in April 2023

  • August 9 - October 16, 2022: Tokyo Tech IGP-C Application period opens

  • August - September: Contact ELSI PIs/A-PIs

  • September 28: Confirm interest with ELSI PI

  • October 11 (23:59 JST): Deadline for consent letter submission

  • October 16 (23:59 JST): Deadline for receipt of IGP-C applications

  • Early November: Entrance exam and interview

  • December 7: Notification of selection results

Starting Enrollment in September 2023:

Details will be announced in early 2023.

ELSI Specific Courses

In addition to core courses required by the degree-granting department in which students will enroll, ELSI will have the following additional integrated courses to be taken in the first 2 years:

  • Course on Planet Science: Description to be added

  • Course on Biology: Description to be added

  • Course on Chemistry: Description to be added

  • Course on Collaboration with Industry: Description to be added

  • Course on Global Science Communication: Description to be added

ELSI Faculty

PIs: Principal Investigators (Primary Supervisors)

Assoc. Prof. Kosuke Fujishima

Field: Astrobiology

Teaching Affiliation: LST


Prof. Hidenori Genda

Field: Planetary Science

Teaching Affiliation: EPS


Prof. John Hernlund

Field: Geodynamics, Planet Evolution

Teaching Affiliation: EPS


Prof. Shigeru Ida

Field: Planet Formation

Teaching Affiliation: EPS


Prof. Tomoaki Matsuura

Field: Biotechnology, Synthetic biology, Biophysics

Teaching Affiliation: LST


Assoc. Prof. Shawn McGlynn

Field: Chemical Origin of Life, Enzyme Evolution, Microbial Biogeochemistry, Cell-cell Interactions

Teaching Affiliation: LST


Prof. Ryuhei Nakamura

Field: Origin of life, Protometabolisms, Bioenergetics, Electrochemistry

Teaching Affiliation: CSE


Video: Nakamura Lab

Prof. Yasuhito Sekine

Field: Planetary Science, Astrobiology, Evolution of Earth and planets

Teaching Affiliation: EPS


Video: Sekine Lab

A-PIs: Associate Principal Investigators (Co-Supervisors**)

Dr. Tony Z. Jia

Field: Prebiotic Chemistry and Origin of Life



Dr. Hiroyuki Kurokawa

Field: Planetary Science


Dr. Liam Longo

Field: Prebiotic Chemistry and Origins of Life


Dr. Naohiro Terasaka

Field: Synthetic Biology, Chemical Biology


Dr. Nathaniel Virgo

Field: Artificial Life and Origins of Life


* The financial support is about JPY 170,000 /month for 5 years, as a research assistant’s salary. Please be also noted that students must pay the enrollment fee (JPY 282,000) and the tuition fee (JPY 317,700 per semester). The tuition fees for the second and subsequent semesters can be waived upon application and approval.

**Principal investigators may directly supervise students while associate principal investigators may co-supervise students with the cooperation of a principal investigator.