Understanding the origin of life (OoL) is among the greatest unsolved mysteries and represents an exciting frontier for science in the 21st century. The research on OoL is based on a variety of different, often dividing hypotheses and is only slowly transforming into a united field. The Origin of Life Early career Network (OoLEN) supports and accelerates this process by bringing together early-career scientists from very different disciplines and backgrounds. OoLEN started in 2018 in the form of IOoL 2018, the first interdisciplinary meeting of early career researchers for the origin of life, in Düsseldorf (Germany). From this meeting resulted the publication of a perspective on the future of origin of life research that reflects our collective experience and expectations. In the second edition, during the IOoL 2020 virtual meeting it became clear how crucial it is for early career scientists to connect and exchange ideas, thoughts and experiences. OoLEN opens up the opportunity for support and exchange at any time, anywhere through its members-only forum, and organizes virtual and in-person meetings. We also promote job opportunities and provide our contacts for the general public, the media and journal editors.
Currently, OoLEN is organized by its initial executive board consisting of Silke Asche, Cole Mathis (University of Glasgow, UK), Andrey do Nascimento Vieira, Martina Preiner (Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany) and Joana C. Xavier. In the future, this board will be elected annually.