Historical highlights from the inception of the HFSP in 1986 to the present day

2018 Shigekazu Nagata took up office as President of HFSPO.

2016 The HFSPO Intergovernmental Conference was hosted by the United Kingdom in London. The representatives of the member countries and the European Union adopted indicative budgetary guidelines for the period 2017-2019.

2015 Prof. Warwick Anderson took up the position of Secretary General of HFSPO.

2014 Membership of Singapore was approved at the March meeting by the Board of Trustees, pending signature of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).  The signing of the MoU took place shortly afterwards in July during the 25th anniversary events in Lugano and at a ceremony in Singapore.

2013 At an Intergovernmental Conference hosted by the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, representatives of the member countries and the European Union adopted indicative budgetary guidelines for the period 2014-2016.

2012 Nobutaka Hirokawa took up office as President of HFSPO.

2011 At its March  meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker as Secretary General for a second term from July 2012.

2010 At an Intergovernmental Conference held in Canberra, Australia, representatives of the member countries and the European Union enthusiastically agreed to a framework for financing the Program, including a 4% annual budget increment for the next 3 years.

2010 External reviews of the HFSP were published encompassing a questionnaire-based evaluation of the scientific programs and a bibliometric analysis of HFSP-funded research.

2009 Akito Arima took office as President and Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker as Secretary General. The Program celebrated its 20th anniversary during the annual awardees meeting held in Tokyo in the presence of former Prime Minister Nakasone. At the meeting of the Board of Trustees in December it was decided to establish the HFSP Nakasone Prize for frontier science. See the commemorative booklet "20 YEARS IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE" with articles by members of the HFSP community.

2009 Masao Ito and Torsten Wiesel stood down as President and Secretary General of HFSPO, respectively.

2008 At the March Board of Trustees meeting, delegates approved Norway as a member of the HFSPO. A memorandum of understanding was signed with the Research Council of Norway.

2007 At an Intergovernmental Conference held in Ottawa Canada, representatives of the member countries and the European Union agreed to a framework for financing the Program, including a 4% annual budget increment for the next 3 years.

2006 New Zealand was approved as a new member at the March meeting of the Board of Trustees. India's membership was approved in December.

2004 Australia and the Republic of Korea were approved as new members of HFSPO at the December meeting of the Board of Trustees.

2004 Delegates from the 8 member countries of the HFSPO and the European Union met at an Intergovernmental Conference in Berne, Switzerland, on June 25th to discuss the future of the HFSP. The delegates agreed upon a general indicative financial framework for the next three years in order to reach a total budget of $60 million and a 50:50 distribution of contributions from Japan and the other countries.

2002 An Intergovernmental Conference was held in Berlin, Germany, in June. It was recognised that the scientific value of the HFSP warranted continuation for a further five years. A working group was set up to consider the future finances, status and scope of the Program in preparation for the following Intergovernmental Conference in Switzerland in 2004.

2001 Second General Review was published.

2000 Prof. Torsten Wiesel, President Emeritus of Rockefeller University, New York, was appointed as Secretary General.

1997 An Intergovernmental Conference was held at the White House in Washington, D.C. in May. It was decided to continue the HFSP for another five years. A further review of the Program was requested. It was completed by 2001.

1996 Based on the positive outcome of the General Review, the achievements of the HFSP were welcomed by the participants of the G7 Summit Meeting in Lyon, France in June.

1993 Prof. Michel Cuénod, Director of the Brain Research Institute at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, was appointed as Secretary General.

1992 An Intergovernmental Conference was held in Tokyo. It recognised the achievements made in the initial phase of the Program and the desirability of continuing the HFSP. It was decided to carry out a general review of the Program from both scientific and organisational standpoints. The review was performed by an international panel of eminent scientists and by external, independent organisations specialising in scientific policy and evaluation. The General Review was completed in 1996.

1990 The peer review process was established and the first awards were made in March. Switzerland joined the Program.

1989 The secretariat of the Program, the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization, was founded in October 1989 in Strasbourg, France. The first President of the Program was Ambassador Miyazaki (Japan), the first Chairman of the Council of Scientists was Dr. Edward Rall (US) and the first Secretary General was Sir James Gowans, former Secretary of the Medical Research Council, UK.

1989 An International Scientists Committee, which had started work in 1987, gave further shape to the Program, defining its organization and the details of its program activities, research areas and selection procedures. Intergovernmental conferences were held in June and July 1989 in Tokyo and Berlin, respectively, which led to endorsement of the plan by the participating governments. It was agreed to implement the HFSP for an initial experimental phase of 3 years.

1988 Further international talks were held from November 1987 to March 1988 in the form of an International HFSP Feasibility Study Committee, which culminated in April 1988 in the "Bonn Wise Men's conference" - this established an outline of the program activities and defined the general scientific areas and types of activity to be supported.

Prime Minister Takeshita of Japan reported the conclusions of the international feasibility study at the Toronto Economic Summit in June. The assembled Heads of State welcomed the proposal for implementation.

1987 Discussion was expanded to include scientists from the G7 summit nations and the European Union, resulting in the "London Wise Men's Conference" in April 1987, which endorsed the suggestion.

Prime Minister Nakasone of Japan proposed the Human Frontier Science Program at the Venice Economic Summit in June. The economic Summit partners and the Chairman of the European Community welcomed the initiative and activities aimed at implementing it as soon as possible were started.

1986 A feasibility study was carried out by leading Japanese scientists under the auspices of the Japanese Prime Minister's Council for Science of Technology, to explore possible means to encourage international collaboration in basic research.