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 which you should read before starting an application.

The 2019 competition (application in March 2018 for awards to be announced in March 2019) is now open.

You must obtain a 2019 reference number via the website by March 19th, 2018. Submission of Letters of Intent deadline: March 28th, 2018.

The application site is now open. Information and documents for the call can be found here:

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.

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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19th February

Alert: Fake journal with fraudulent use of the HFSP name

The journal “Frontiers in Life Sciences” has no relation to the Human Frontier Science Program. HFSP was alerted...

19th December

HFSP Publication Digest

We would like to end 2017 with an update of selected publications by HFSP awardees hoping that you enjoy the reading.  ...

24th November

Research award for HFSP fellow

Congratulations to HFSP fellow Gisa Gerold on receiving the 2017 Robert Koch Postdoctoral Award for Virology. Gisa Gerold,...

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Awardees' Articles RSS

A new biosensor for measuring chaperone activity in live cells

A healthy protein quality control system inside cells, which includes molecular chaperones, is of utmost importance to prevent...

Why do motor neurons form faster?

Motor neurons, the nerve cells of the spinal cord that control muscle movement, form much faster than other neurons during...

Bacteria hug each other tightly to avoid viral predation

Bacteria can live as isolated individual cells, but they most commonly grow in communities termed biofilms, which are held...

Assembling thousands of genes at low cost [with video]

DropSynth is a simple, low-cost method to build thousands of genes in a single reaction. These gene libraries can serve as input...

Hybrid methods for native membrane structural biology

Membrane proteins are challenging targets for structural biology as their native environment is heterogeneous and complex, so...

Heart muscle cells fuse when the heart grows and regenerates

The mammalian heart has very limited regenerative ability. Studying organisms capable of repairing their cardiac muscle after...

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Frontier Science

Frontier Science

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

A tryst with the sky for a peek into the sea

Anupam Sengupta, a 2014 HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow, recounts how he was able to test the effects of gravity on phytoplankton...

Greasing up ferroptotic cell death

Ferroptosis is a novel, yet only partly understood, type of regulated necrotic cell death that may underlie some forms of...

An HFSP fellowship that sowed the seeds for PROTAC drug development

In 2009, Alessio Ciulli was awarded an HFSP Short-Term Fellowship* to support his 3-month research visit to Yale University to...

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