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 2020 competition (application in March 2019 for awards to be announced in March 2020) is now open.

You must obtain a 2020 reference number via the website by March 18th, 2019. Submission of Letters of Intent deadline: March 28th, 2019.

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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21st December

Former HFSPO President Prof. Masao Ito Passed Away

We are saddened by the news of the untimely passing away of eminent neuroscientist and former HFSPO President, Prof. Masao Ito,...

18th December

Announcing the 2020 HFSP Research Grant competition

Guidelines for 2020 Young Investigator and Program Grant applications are now available. The website for online applications will...

19th October

HFSPO to appoint a new Director of Research Grants

The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH GRANTS The International Human Frontier...

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Awardees' Articles RSS

The cell source of scar tissues that binds organs to one another after abdominal surgery is identified and can be targetable

Adhesions are fibrous bands that glue organ surfaces with one another or with the walls of the cavity they reside in. It is the...

Restoring axonal regeneration in neurodegenerative diseases

Several neurodegenerative conditions including most instances of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia are...

Uncovering mechanisms of centrosome biogenesis and targeting them in cancer cells

In contrast to normal cells, cancer cells harbor extra centrosomes and centrosome amplification is a hallmark of cancer cells. We...

Meerkats take turns while calling in groups

Turn-taking is a basic feature of human communication, but other animals also take turns. During group calling sessions, we find...

Microbial carpets generate vortex flows to attract nutrients

How do bacteria gather nutrients when they cluster in dense colonies? HFSP fellow Arnold Mathijssen discovered that many...

A tunicate immune system reveals how similar we are

Through functional and molecular characterization on the cellular level of a colonial chordate animal we have found the...

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Frontier Science

Frontier Science

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

Engineering formation of complex multicellular structures with synthetic cell-cell signalling circuits

Two California-based HFSP Long-Term Fellows, Leonardo Morsut and Satoshi Toda, describe their highly innovative...

Some reflections on the mirrored eyes of scallops

Benjamin Palmer, an HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow, describes his research in the emerging field of organic...

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...

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