Axon elongation and centrosomes

Scientific activities

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) is an international program of research support, funding frontier research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. Research is funded at all levels of biological complexity from biomolecules to the interactions between organisms.

Key elements of HFSP’s mission are:

  • Support for innovative, cutting edge research at the frontiers of the life sciences
  • Encouragement of high risk research
  • Promotion of international collaboration in the spirit of science without borders
  • Support for financial and intellectual independence for early career researchers

Selection of awards is made by high level, expert international review committees. Research Grants enable scientists from different countries to collaborate on focused innovative projects that are expected to open new fields of investigation. Interdisciplinary collaborations are especially encouraged. Postdoctoral fellowships enable the most talented early career scientists, trained in the life sciences or in the physical sciences, to extend their scientific repertoire in laboratories abroad. Former HFSP Fellows who return to their home country or move to a third HFSP member country can apply for a Career Development Award to support their transition to independence.

HFSP awardees are brought together in an annual meeting to help build a global network of like-minded scientists working on a broad range of subjects within the life sciences and to stimulate new collaborations.

HFSP funding programs are strictly project-related and begin at the postdoctoral level. We have no support for PhD students nor for travel grants to scientific meetings. Nor do we provide sponsorship or funds to organisers of scientific meetings.

More on HFSP funding programs

HFSP supports international scientific collaborations. Research Grants are awarded for innovative research projects involving extensive collaboration among teams of independent scientists working in different countries and in different disciplines.

Two types of grants are available: Young Investigator Grants for teams where all members are within 5 years of starting their first independent position (and within 10 years of receiving a PhD) and Program Grants for teams of scientists at any stage of their careers.

Applicants must first submit a letter of intent via the HFSP extranet. More details are available in the guidelines.

The 2015 competition (applications in March 2014 for award to announced in March 2015) is now restricted to the teams invited to  submit a full application.

The next call for letters of intent is expected to be announced in December 2014.

Teams invited to submit a full application should log in to the extranet site.

Further information on Grant Programs

HFSP fellowships support top postdoctoral researchers that propose innovative, ground-breaking projects that have the potential to advance the knowledge in their field of study and open a new approach to the research problem.


The next submission deadline is 28 August 2014.
The registration site is open.

Two international programs for basic research training are available:

Long-Term Fellowships (LTF) are reserved for applicants with a Ph.D. in a biological discipline to embark on a new project in a different field of the life sciences. Preference is given to applicants who propose an original study in biology that marks a departure from their previous Ph.D. or postdoctoral work so as to learn new methods or change study system.

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships (CDF) are open to applicants with a Ph.D. from outside the life sciences e.g. in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences who have had limited exposure to biology during their previous training. Applicants for the CDF should propose a significant departure from their past research by changing e.g. from material science or physics to cell biology, from chemistry to molecular biology, or from computer science to neuroscience.

More on HFSP Fellowships

The Career Development Award (CDA) is open only to former HFSP Fellows and offers three years of support for starting their first independent laboratory.

The goal of CDA is to support former HFSP fellows to return to their home country or move to an HFSP member country to initiate an original research program in their own laboratories as independent researchers. Candidates are furthermore encouraged to select research institutions that are different from their PhD institutes to facilitate their scientific independence.

Applicants for the CDA are expected to propose an original and innovative frontier research program that holds promise for the development of new approaches to problems in the life sciences with potential to advance the field of research significantly.

The three-year award aims to provide initial support during a critical period of career development. Host institutions are expected to contribute additional resources in support of the awardees and their independent research program.

Eligible HFSP fellows will receive information in good time to apply for the Award.

More on the HFSP Career Development Award

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15th July

Singapore joins the HFSPO

The HFSP family keeps growing. We would like to warmly welcome Singapore as a new supporting country of the Human Frontier...

28th May

HFSP Matters No. 4

The new HFSP Newsletter has been published. In the fourth issue of HFSP Matters you can read up on what has happened within and...

7th April

HFSP 2014 awards in the news

Once again, we are happy to see institutions publicising their scientists' prestigious HFSP awards! Listed below are those...

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Awardees' Articles RSS

MicroRNAs maintain visual function of photoreceptors

The maintenance of the light sensitive “antennas” of photoreceptors in the retina is important for their function. We identified...

Observing kinase activity in live single cells [with video]

Single cells are intrinsically noisy and need to be analyzed individually. We describe a novel generalizable method to measure...

Ion transporters are essential for photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is the key biochemical reaction in plants but the molecular mechanisms of K+ transport across chloroplast...

A powerful new multi-view deconvolution algorithm [with video]

Modern light-sheet fluorescence microscopy is capable of imaging the development of an entire specimen at cellular level with...

Probing the physical properties of intact bacterial chromosomes

Biophysical tools are increasingly providing key insights into understanding genome organisation in bacterial cells. We...

Late bloomers: subtle diversity in flowering time

How do plants know when to start flowering? What are the mechanisms underlying flowering diversity? We identified a natural...

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Frontier Science

Frontier Science

Articles about HFSP-funded research and matters related to international frontier science

Happenchance and hedgehogs

Earlier this year, the European Medicines Agency approved the use of a new anti-cancer drug, Erivedge, developed by Genentech in...

Crowdsourcing the design of swarming nanoparticles for cancer applications

The treatment of cancer is undergoing what could be called a revolution. The field has attracted the attention of bioengineers...

Insect jumping, an ancient question

The acrobatic leaps of insects have fascinated both storytellers and scientists for the scope of human history. ...

More Frontier Science