Since 2004, the University of Hawaii (UH) has hosted a NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) Lead Team. Its research is an interdisciplinary program focusing on "Water and Habitable Worlds", involving 17 local Co-Investigators, 10-15 postdoctoral fellows, a number of graduate students and a large suite of international collaborators. Within this framework the areas of research include interdisciplinary projects on
The research utilises state of the art lab facilities, telescopes, and oceanic research vessels, many of which are available to the NAI community and its collaborators.
Along with the research efforts, members of the NAI engage in formal and informal education, both locally and internationally. One aspect of this has been the formal collaboration with the Stockholm University Astrobiology Graduate school in co-organising summer (in Nordic countries) and winter (in Hawaii) graduate schools. In addition, the UH NAI hosts teacher training programmes and research experiences, and undergraduate fellowships and research experiences, has a very active public outreach programme, and is active in hosting international scientific conferences. Team members are working towards establishing a formal graduate programme in astrobiology.
Team members are very active in the international astrobiology community (Karen Meech is President of the International Astronomical Union Division III on Planetary Systems Science), and are active participants in NASA space missions.