The National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB) was founded in 1977 to promote and stimulate studies in the field of biology. As a center of excellence (COE), NIBB promotes biological sciences by conducting first-rate research on its own as well as in cooperation with other universities and research organizations. Research at NIBB covers a wide variety of biological fields, such as cell biology, developmental biology, neurobiology, evolutionary biology, environmental biology, and theoretical biology, and is conducted to elucidate general and fundamental mechanisms underlying various biological phenomena.
In 2004, NIBB, in alliance with four other national institutes - the National Astronomical Observatory, the National Institute for Fusion Science, the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, and the Institute for Molecular Science - established the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), one of the four Inter-University Research Institute Corporations. At this time NINS began to promote collaboration among researchers of the five constituting institutes and to sponsor many projects.