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Accelerator Grant

The HFSP Accelerator Grant

A new scheme adding value to HFSP Research Grants and scientists in
India, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa


The International Human Frontier Science Program strives to strengthen open scientific inquiry by initiating international collaborative, interdisciplinary and cutting-edge basic research in the life sciences. The program funds projects in basic research studying fundamental problems on all levels of life sciences. The HFSP supports novel collaborations that may lead to a breakthrough by bringing together scientists with distinct expertise from the life sciences and other disciplines such as mathematics, physics, engineering or psychology to focus on problems at the frontiers of the life sciences. 

The new HFSP Accelerator Grant, based on the HFSP Shared Values,  will contribute to strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion. It supports the partnering of awarded HFSP Research Grant teams with excellent researchers in selected member countries. All teams who have been awarded a Research Grant – Program or a Research Grant – Early Career 2024 are invited to apply for HFSP Accelerator Grants to support the integration of one additional scientist – the accelerator team member – in the awarded HFSP grant project and team.

The HFSP Accelerator Grant offers mutual benefit for both the awarded research team and the accelerator member. The new team member integrates into a high-quality research team that was successful in one of the most competitive peer review selections in the life sciences. The grant team has the chance to complement their research plan by integrating an additional member with corresponding expertise, skills, and knowledge.

Applications for HFSP Accelerator Grants are submitted by the PI of an HFSP grant team (on behalf of the awarded team), together with the accelerator team member.

Applications are reviewed by the Research Grant Review Committee and discussed at their annual meeting in January. The review will be based on the research plan as well as CV and selected publications by the accelerator team member. Reviewers will consider whether and how the new member’s expertise and skills complement the research team, how the proposed research line and activities will support them in reaching the set research goals, thus, on the added value for the HFSP project. 

If awarded, the new team member (accelerator team member) will join the project from the second year of the grant onwards, and the enlarged team will receive an additional award sum of 100 kUSD annually.

Team size of original Research Grant team

Award sum for RG teams (kUSD)

Team size with accelerator team member

Award sum with accelerator team member years 2 and 3 (kUSD)













In this first call, all teams who have been awarded a Research Grant – Program or a Research Grant – Early Career 2024 will receive an invitation to apply for an HFSP Accelerator Grant before the end of June 2024. The application site opens in early July 2024, with a deadline for submitting the application on 24 September 2024.

Guidelines for applicants for the HFSP Accelerator Grants 2025

You can download a Pdf version here.


Opening of application site: early July 2024

Deadline: 24 September 2024

Announcement of awards: March 2025


1. Objectives of the HFSP Accelerator Grants

The aim of the Human Frontier Science Program is to promote, through international cooperation, basic research focused on the elucidation of the sophisticated and complex mechanisms of living systems, for the benefit of all humankind. It aims to complement, not duplicate, the frontier life science programs of the countries that financially support HFSPO.

HFSPO attaches highest importance to novelty, scientific merit, internationality, and interdisciplinarity. The aim of this new instrument is, to make HFSP supported research more inclusive by integrating scientists working in countries that have been less well represented in HFSP grants, into a working team, and through the team into the larger HFSP community. The new accelerator team members support both the growth of the HFSP research community, becoming more inclusive, equitable and diverse, and the integration of researchers from underrepresented countries while still upholding the rigor of the HFSP review process. Complementarity of the research team, synergy of expertise and activities and added value for the HFSP project will be important aspects in the selection of awardees.

The call for Accelerator Grants 2025 is restricted to HFSP Research Grant teams – Program or Early Career awarded in March 2024. They are invited to apply for an HFSP Accelerator Grant allowing the integration of one additional member into the project. The new member must be working in a research institution in one of the following countries: (India, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa). Only scientists working in one of these eligible countries can be invited to join an existing HFSP grant team.

If awarded, the accelerated teams will receive 100 000 USD per year in addition to the awarded Research Grant sum, for the years 2 and 3 of the grant. The team will be asked to decide about the exact distribution of the enlarged award sum keeping in mind that the accelerator team member should have the means to also develop their laboratory and purchase the instrumentation required to do the proposed work.


2. Summary of the application and review process

HFSP developed a new application and review process for this new grant; applications are to be submitted through the HFSP application site ProposalCentral (see here for more detail) by the PI of a newly awarded grant team, on behalf of the entire team. If other members of the team have established or hold the contact to the new member, they can be given access to edit the application. 

The proposal has to contain an abstract and a research plan describing the new sub-project, outlining how this research and the new member will add value to the project. In addition to contributing to the research plan, the accelerator team member needs to provide information (CV and publications, in the same format as regular team members did in the Research Grant proposal) and sign the application together with the PI of the team. A signature from an institutional official of the new member’s institution is also required.

The application deadline is 24 September 2024. Applications will be evaluated by the Research Grant Review Committee, which will discuss and rank them at their regular meeting in January 2025. The HFSPO Board of Trustees will take a funding decision before the end of March 2025, and when awarded, the accelerator team member joins the team starting with year 2 of the original Research Grant period. The team is awarded an additional 100 000 USD per year. 


3. Eligibility and evaluation criteria

The aim of the HFSP Accelerator Grants is a more equitable spread of the benefits of HFSP grants. Therefore, only scientists working in one of the eligible countries (India, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa) can be recruited to a team, in the framework of the HFSP Accelerator Grant. For detailed eligibility criteria for accelerator team members see here.

In short:

  • The accelerator team members have to pursue the work on the grant project in an eligible country during the entire period of the award. By contrast to the regular HFSP Research Grants, in the case of a move to a non-eligible country, funds related to the Accelerator Grant should be spent at the original institution. 
  • Teams which already have one member from one of the eligible countries can apply to add a second member from that country or from another eligible country. 
  • Teams that have two members from one of the countries cannot apply to add a third member from the same country. 
  • A team cannot have two members working at the same institution (university/research institution). Applications for adding a second member from the same institution will be considered ineligible.

For accelerator team members, the same general criteria apply as for the regular team members of Research Grants – Program. They must have an independent group leader position and be able to decide about their own research direction and budget. Post-docs are not eligible. The main criteria of HFSP peer review, including that of HFSP Accelerator Grants, is the scientific quality of the proposed research and its potential to extend scientific frontiers. 

Reviewers are instructed to evaluate whether the new project component is “frontier”, adding significant expertise and complementary approaches to the originally awarded project; whether the new member is adding to the interdisciplinarity and capable to do that project component; whether the new member will be integrated well into the team and thus, benefit from the participation. Based on these criteria, the reviewers will decide whether to recommend the proposal for funding.


4. Distribution of funds among team members

The HFSP Accelerator Grant is awarded to the team and thus, the award sum is added to their annual budget from the second year onwards. While the team will be asked to decide about the distribution of the funds, as in the first year, it is expected that the accelerator team member will be treated equally to the other team members. Somewhat uneven distribution of funds may be acceptable, for instance if one member needs to purchase equipment in one year, if a jointly supervised student is paid by one institution or in similar cases but will have to be approved by the Director of Research Grants.


5. Award conditions, agreement and use of funds

The same award conditions as for the regular Research Grant apply. An agreement will have to be signed by the accelerator team member and their institution. The same general rules as for the Research Grants apply, including for overhead (max 10% of the direct costs). Scientists in for-profit organizations may not receive any funds. Scientists working in institutions with mixed status can receive funds. If the institution has a mixed status and receives both public and private funds, it is necessary that the HFSP project does not overlap with a project sponsored by a private company and that there is a project-by-project accounting.

A budget is not required. The following information is provided to allow new team members to understand which expenditures are permitted in case an award is made. 

Purchase of larger equipment is possible but must be essential for the proposed project. 

Materials and supplies
Costs of reagents, animals, disposables, computer software necessary for the scientific collaboration.  

Consulting services and computer services specific to the project, including rental fees (fees for computer or telephone networks may be included in the indirect costs). 

No salary support (including summer salaries) for the Principal Applicant, Co-Applicant or other faculty, institutional staff such as secretaries or laboratory managers, and no student tuition fees may be paid. Salaries may be provided for research assistants (post-doctoral scientists, graduate students, technicians) essential for the new collaborative project. 

Communication expenses  
Publication costs (including open access fees), article translations, mail, express courier services.

Travel and per diem  
   - Travel costs and per diem allowances (up to three months each year), for team members and their personnel visiting other team members. 
   - Travel costs and per diem allowances for fieldwork or visits to research facilities.
   - Scientific meetings or training courses related to the HFSP project. 
   - Costs for attending the annual awardee meeting organized by the HFSP. 

Indirect costs (overheads)
No more than 10% of the direct costs of the award, at each research institution, may be used for indirect costs. 


6. Ethical considerations

Awardees must observe the highest ethical standards in conducting all research supported by the Program. If awarded, all team members have to agree to conform strictly to the national and institutional codes of practice, regulations and laws, which govern the ethical conduct of scientific research in their own institution. Institutions must inform HFSPO if national or institutional codes of practice, regulations, or laws have been infringed in the performance of the award. All awardees must also agree not to undertake any research jointly with scientists in another country where experimental procedures, which are forbidden in their own laboratories/institutions are permissible. Examples of national guidelines can be found via links on Good Scientific Practice or HFSPO’s policy on scientific misconduct available on the HFSP website.


 7. Intellectual property rights and publications

HFSPO will not claim any intellectual or commercial property rights that may be generated through the research it sponsors. HFSPO will not become involved in any dispute which may arise about the ownership of such rights. The assignment of any such rights (and any income arising from them) is to be determined by the procedures and regulations which apply in the laboratory/institution in which the research is conducted.

In considering the possible commercial importance of discoveries which arise from research sponsored by the Program, all awardees must agree that submission of manuscripts for publication of these discoveries in scientific journals will not be delayed for more than 45 working days after the manuscript is completed. An acknowledgement of support by the Human Frontier Science Program must be included in all publications resulting from work carried out under the grant.


8. Reports

The accelerator team member, as all Grant team members, has to submit a final financial report at the end of the grant period. Awarded teams will include the project component added through the HFSP Accelerator Grant and the new team member in the annual scientific reports and in the final scientific report, and accelerator team member will be requested to fill specific sections in these reports.

How to write an Accelerator Grant application


The main steps in applying for an Accelerator Grant are as follows:

  1. All PIs of newly awarded teams receive an invitation to activate an application for the Accelerator Grant. 

  2. The PI contacts a scientist eligible to become an accelerator team member for their awarded team project. Alternatively, another team member suggests a scientist, or an eligible scientist contacts the PI of an awarded team, with a suggestion, how they could contribute to the project with new approaches and new aspects or questions. 

  3. The awarded team agrees to add the member.

  4. To activate the application, the PI opens it in the application system ProposalCentral, on behalf of the awarded team, saves the title, connects the proposal to the awarded grant and invites the new member as accelerator team member to the application. An institutional official of the accelerator team member’s institution needs to also be added and given access to the proposal. 
    It is possible to give access to the other members of the original team to allow them to participate in the grant writing.
    A guide providing technical help for ProposalCentral can be found here.

  5. Most information regarding the PI is already pre-filled in the application. The abstract of the awarded project needs to be added to the application (for reviewers to get a first overview).

  6. The accelerator team member enters all required information on their affiliation and CV and adds up to 10 publications (from the last 5 years). Please see the PC guide for technical details. 

  7. The PI (and awarded team) and the accelerator team member collaborate on writing
    a. A public abstract of the new sub-project (2400 characters including blanks)
    b. An overview (project plan) of the accelerator sub-project (8000 characters)
    c. A description of how the new sub-project will contribute to meeting the aims of the HFSP even better than with the original proposal (1600 characters)
    d. A description of which new disciplines/skill sets/concepts the new team member will bring to the team and how this will make the team more interdisciplinary (1600 characters)
    e. How did the integration of the new member originate, how will the collaboration be organized and in which way will the accelerator team member benefit from the inclusion in the team (1600 characters)

  8. The PI and the accelerator team member answer the research ethics questions. If the original project had answered “yes” to any of the Research Ethics questions, the answer in the proposal has to be the same even if this does not apply to the new sub-project.

  9. The application needs to be signed by the PI, the accelerator team member and the institutional official of the accelerator team member’s institution.

  10. If all mandatory information is entered, the application can be submitted. 

Eligibility criteria for Accelerator team members


The HFSPO has launched a new program, allowing awarded research grant teams to include an additional member, the accelerator team member, into the grant team, for the second and third year of the grant period. 

Please note that applications can only be submitted by Principal Investigators (PIs) of newly awarded HFSP Research Grant teams, upon invitation. HFSP encourages inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (shared values), and welcomes applicants independent of gender, origin, cultural background, and age. This page summarizes the eligibility criteria that accelerator team members have to fulfill:

  • Accelerator team members have to be working at a research institution in one of the eligible countries (India, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa) during the entire period of the award (if they move to a non-eligible country, the grant cannot be moved, the work has to be performed in the eligible country). 

  • A scientist working in an eligible country may join a team which already includes one team member in the same country. However, they cannot join a team that already has two members in that same country (thus, no team can have three members working in the same country). 

  • A scientist is not eligible to join a team that already has a team member working in the same institution (university/research institution) as themselves.

  • A scientist who has two affiliations, one in an eligible country and one in another country, is eligible only if the proposed work is planned to be performed in the eligible country.

  • The same general criteria apply for accelerator team members as for regular Research Grant – Program team members: 

    • Accelerator team members may be at any stage in their independent career.

    • They must have obtained a research doctoral degree (PhD, MD or equivalent) before the submission deadline and lead a research group (however small). 

    • They must be able to independently determine the course of the HFSP-funded project and have freedom to administer the awarded grant. 

    • “Post-docs” are not eligible.

  • Every awarded team can only add one accelerator team member, and accordingly, each team can only submit one application for the Accelerator Grant. On the other side, a scientist can only be part of one Accelerator Grant application, as accelerator team member.

  • A scientist who currently holds an HFSP grant or is currently applying for an HFSP Research Grant is not eligible to apply as accelerator team member. However, a scientist whose Letter of Intent for a 2025 Research Grant has been rejected can apply (rejection letters will be sent in July).

  • A scientist in for-profit organizations may not receive any funds. Scientists working in institutions with mixed status (receiving both public and private funds) can receive funds In such cases, it is necessary that the HFSP project does not overlap with a project sponsored by a private company and that there is a project-by-project accounting. 

Important note

Please also read the Guidelines for applicants. They also inform you which costs can be covered by an HFSP grant, if awarded. Please note specifically that the salary of the applicant cannot be covered by the HFSP grant, and that the indirect costs (overhead costs) are limited to 10% of the direct costs.

For questions, please mail to Click here to show mail address

For Newly Awarded teams' booklet, please click here . This booklet lists team members, laboratories, institutions, and planned research work.