The International Context of Astrobiology
Astrobiology is an internationally established field with research taking place on all continents, including Antarctica, by research teams from all over the world. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) established a commission for what was then called ‘Bioastronomy’ in 1982. Its successor, the Astrobiology Commission of the IAU was established in 2015. The USA is currently the main leading nation within astrobiology with the largest number of researchers as well as the highest level of research output. This is at least partly an effect of the establishment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) in 1998 to promote cooperation and provide meeting grounds and funding for the research community. European research teams are, however, already playing an important role and have provided several major breakthroughs in the field. In order for the European research community to become an even more highly regarded actor and valued cooperation partner in the field, we believe that it is important to draw lessons from other countries and adapt them to a European setting.