ELSI Research Scientist Position

The Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) of Tokyo Institute of Technology was launched in December 2012 as part of the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The WPI grant is awarded to institutes with a research and administrative vision to become globally competitive centers that can attract the best scientists from around the world to come to work in Japan.

ELSI aims to answer the fundamental questions of how the Earth was formed, how life originated in the environment of early Earth, and how this life evolved into complexity.

ELSI pursues these questions by studying the "origin and evolution of life" and the "origin and evolution of the Earth" through an interdisciplinary collaboration between the fields of Earth, Life, and Planetary Sciences. By understanding the early Earth context that allowed for the rise of initial life, we also work to establish a greater understanding of the likelihood of extraterrestrial life elsewhere in the universe.

In order to succeed in this mission, ELSI seeks highly motivated individuals who wish to pursue original research and also actively engage in cross-disciplinary discussions and synergistic research projects. We are a truly integrative institute, with a genuine commitment to bridging diverse disciplines. This is not an empty promise written to satisfy our benefactors...we actually do it!

ELSI also provides a unique opportunity for those who wish to play a contributing role in the direction and development of an exciting and radical young research institute. ELSI has an open and flat research structure, in which each researcher is expected to collaborate with others, in particular in different fields. The ELSI Research Scientist position provides highly flexible connections to ELSI Principal Investigators or research groups. JPY 0.5 million/year will be available to each scientist as seed funding, in addition to support for seeking external funding and involvement in large collaborative proposals. Additional support for collaborative visitors and workshops is provided by ELSI.

Tokyo is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world. ELSI is situated in the Meguro Ward of Tokyo, with convenient and quick train access to all major city centers and attractions. ELSI has experienced staff who are dedicated to providing full relocation assistance to ease the transition to Japan, including help with immigration procedures, housing, health care, and all other basic needs.

We welcome all qualified candidates, regardless of nationality or gender. We encourage and support our candidates' close collaborations with overseas research institutes. Our institutional language is English; Japanese language skills are not required. An unprecedented level of support for researchers to live and thrive in Japan is provided by our talented staff.



ELSI Research Scientist
Department Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), Tokyo Institute of Technology
Field of Research

Scientific fields related to research themes pursued at ELSI:

• Formation of the Earth
• Earth interior properties and dynamics
• Early Earth environment and evolution
• Solar system exploration
• Formation and characterization of exoplanets
• Abiotic chemical evolution
• Origin of life
• Early biological evolution
• Bacterial ecology
• Metagenomics
• High performance computing
• Bioinformatics
• Biogeochemical cycling
• Complex systems science
• Messy chemistry


ELSI Research Scientists must hold a Ph.D. degree from an accredited institution in a relevant field at the time of appointment.

Number of Openings

Up to four position are offered in the present recruitment.

Starting Date

December 1, 2017 or earliest possible date thereafter, preferably no later than April 1, 2018. Please discuss with us if this schedule poses potential problems, and we will try to meet your needs where possible.

Period of Employment

Three years, with a possible extension until March 31, 2022 based on the successful applicant's performance and the direction and situation of ELSI.

Place of Work

Earth-Life Science Institute
Tokyo Institute of Technology
2-12-1-IE-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku
Tokyo 152-8550, Japan

Salary and Benefits

Salary: JPY 4,800,000 to JPY 7,000,000 per year depending on experience, including social insurance, taxes, and all allowances (commuting, housing, etc.). Bonus and retirement allowances are not provided.
The following social insurance is covered:

• Medical and dental insurance called “Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Mutual Society of Health Insurance” (“Monbukagakusho Kyousai Kumiai” in Japanese.)

• Employment Insurance (“Koyou Hoken”)

• Worker’s Accident Compensation Insurance (“Rosai Hoken”)


Application procedure

Step 1: Submit an application through ELSI's public position offering page:

All documents must be arranged in English.
The application should include the following:

• Resume/Curriculum Vitae

• Publication list with your three most important papers marked clearly. The list may include conference talks and other relevant information.

• A statement of research interests and plans that specifically addresses intended contributions to the origin and early evolution of Life and/or Earth studies. (Please limit the length to 3 pages.)

• Contact information for three people who will provide letters of recommendation (name, email address, affiliation and position.)

Step 2: Applicant should ask three individuals to submit a letter of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be provided in English from external non-ELSI person. Referee should submit a letter of recommendation via e-mail (elsi-res-letters-2017_[at]_ml.elsi.jp; please replace " _[at]_ "with "@")
by August 31, 2017.

Step 3: Applicant screening begins only after Steps 1 and 2 above are completed. Based on the submitted materials, ELSI's recruitment committee will determine whether to proceed to the next step, which will be oral presentation and interview. We will notify our decision to each applicant.

Step 4: Oral presentation and interview. We will contact you to arrange the dates and travel details. If you cannot travel to ELSI for an interview, we can arrange to conduct one over Skype or other means. The interview is currently planned to be arranged in November 2017.

Step 5: Announcement of decision. If ELSI offers you a position, we will begin discussions with you regarding starting details.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact us by e-mail and we will get back to you.

Contact e-mail address:
elsi-res-letters-2017_[at]_ml.elsi.jp (please replace " _[at]_ " with "@" )

Deadline for Application

August 31, 2017