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 2018 competition (application in March 2017 for awards to be announced in March 2018) is now open.

You must obtain a 2018 reference number via the website by March 20th, 2017. Submission of Letters of Intent deadline: March 30th, 2017.

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.

The registration site for the 2017 fellowships is closed.
The next competition will be in August 2017.

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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Automated rhodopsin modeling

The reconstruction of the evolutionary history of light energy absorption and utilization in light-responsive proteins requires...

Artificial neural network learns to “unmix” a mixture of odors

Nobody knows how the brain manages to identify individual scents within a mixture of odors. However, a new mathematical model may...

Why are birds' eggs colorful?

How do brood parasites, such as cuckoos, mimic the egg colors of their hosts. And when can host birds tell their own eggs apart...

Revealing how mechanical forces drive contractile ring assembly

During cytokinesis a ring of aligned filaments is formed at the cell equator that, by constriction, mechanically separates the...

In late stage infection TB becomes a cell ‘serial killer’ [with video]

Using time-lapse microscopy, researchers from the laboratory of Alex Sigal at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) and Max...

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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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