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 2016 competition (application in March 2015) is now open.

Compulsory registration is now closed.

Submission of Letters of Intent: March 31st, 2015, 6:00 PM your local time but there will be no support after 4:30 PM our local time (CET).

The application site is restricted to those who registered. Follow the link below for information and guidelines.

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 call for fellowship applications is now closed.

The next submission deadline will be 27 August 2015.

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

Announcements RSS

All announcements

News RSS

26th March

The 2015 HFSP awards

HFSP is pleased to announce the 2015 Research Grants, Fellowships and Career Development Awards. The awards were approved by the...

24th November

HFSP 25th anniversary celebrations

In 2014, HFSP marked a quarter century of funding frontier research with two commemorative anniversary events in Lugano,...

18th November

HFSP awardee leads breakthrough in Ferroptosis cell death research

Congratulations to HFSP awardee Marcus Conrad and his team of international collaborators for their recent discovery that...

More news items

Awardees' Articles RSS

High-resolution structure of the Escherichia coli ribosome

Protein synthesis by the ribosome is highly dependent on ions. Moreover, the ribosome harbors posttranscriptional and...

Switchgrass proteomics for improved next generation biofuel crops

If advanced biofuels are to replace standard fuels on a gallon-for-gallon basis at competitive pricing, there is a requirement...

Skin cell mechanical ability for sealing epithelial gaps

Epithelial cells have a natural tendency to close gaps and this feature plays a crucial role in many biological processes such as...

Disordered proteins: an interaction "filmed"

How intrinsically disordered proteins can perform a multitude of biological functions without a fixed three-dimensional structure...

Auditory motion processing after early blindness

Studies showing that occipital cortex responds to auditory and tactile stimuli after early blindness are often interpreted as...

Interference between DNA breaks during gamete formation

Meiotic recombination is a critical step in gametogenesis for many organisms, enabling the creation of genetically diverse...

More articles

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