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The Ascension Project is a renewed human biotics training program. It focuses on the children of the victims of three element zero 'accidents' across the Systems Alliance in 2170, on four separate colonies (including Yandoa). Although these industrial accidents were in suspicious circumstances, no link between them was ever found. On Yandoa alone, thirty-seven children were born with biotic abilities, all of whom were sent to the Ascension Project. The Project, set up around 2176, is based at the Jon Grissom Academy, a medium-sized space station in orbit around the human colony of Elysium in the Skyllian Verge.
Unlike BAaT, its predecessor, the Project is not a military exclusive venture and invites civilian support; the Project also welcomes visits and input from the attendees' families, which BAaT discouraged. The Ascension Project has three main aims: one, to develop and monitor new L4 implants (biotic amplifiers with inbuilt VI interfaces to allow for the monitoring of implanted subjects); two, to work with biotics to maximise their potential in the field; and three, to help biotics integrate themselves into human society.
This last aim has an important place on the curriculum, with students given philosophical and moral guidance on the responsibilities that come with using biotics. However, it was deemed necessary to equip the staff with Aldrin Labs-manufactured stun guns, to subdue any student who misused their abilities or endangered others. Fortunately these stunners have only ever been used on a student once.
At some point in its history, the project was infiltrated by Cerberus operatives, intending to gain information and research into human biotics in order to 'save' humanity. Cerberus left Dr. Jiro Toshiwa to monitor events there, with the particular aim of studying Gillian Grayson's progress.
Known students of the Ascension Project are Gillian Grayson herself, Nick and Seshaun. Known members of staff are Dr. Kahlee Sanders, Security Chief Hendel Mitra, Dr. Jiro Toshiwa, Dr. Sanchez, and Jacob Berg, the Academy's maths professor.
When Samantha Traynor talks about the evacuation of Grissom Academy, she tells Shepard about this program differently according to Shepard's current class. If Shepard is a Vanguard, Sentinel, or Adept, she says Shepard would have joined it if it had existed when the Commander was young. Otherwise, she gives only brief information about it.