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Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program (HSFP) is an international programme of funding for frontier research in the life sciences.

The programme supports novel, innovative and interdisciplinary basic research focused on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. Research is funded at all levels of biological complexity from biomolecules to the interactions between organisms.

The HFSP places emphasis on novel collaborations that bring biologists together with scientists from fields such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer science and engineering.

The UK contribution to HFSP's budget is paid through the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The MRC and BBSRC also play a role in HFSP management through representation on the HFSP Board of Trustees.

Human Frontier Science Program Organization

The objective of the Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HSFPO) is “to promote, through international cooperation basic research focused on the elucidation of the sophisticated and complex mechanisms of living organisms and to make the fullest possible utilisation of the research results for the benefit of all humankind.”

The member countries are: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America and the European Union, which contributes on behalf of the non-G7 EU members.

The organisation provides research grants to international joint research teams and provides fellowships to researchers.

Funding opportunities

Research grants

Research grants are provided for teams of scientists working in different countries and in different disciplines who wish to combine their expertise in innovative approaches to questions that could not be answered by individual laboratories. There are two types of research grants:

  • Young Investigators' Grants:
    • awarded to teams of researchers, all of whom are within the first five years after obtaining an independent laboratory (for example assistant professors, lecturers or equivalent)
  • Programme grants:
    • for teams of scientists at any stage of their careers. The research team is expected to develop new lines of research through the collaboration. Applicants may apply for up to $450,000 per grant per year. Applications including independent investigators early in their careers are encouraged.

Additional information and guidelines can found on the HFSP website.

Postdoctoral fellowships

HFSP fellowships support top postdoctoral researchers who 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.

HFSP postdoctoral fellowships encourage early career scientists to broaden their research skills by moving into new areas of study while working in a new country.

Long-Term Fellowships are for applicants with a PhD in a biological discipline, who will broaden their expertise by proposing a project in the life sciences which is significantly different from their previous PhD or postdoctoral work.

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships (CDF) are for applicants with a PhD from outside the life sciences (such as in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences), who have had limited exposure to biology during their previous training.

Additional information and guidelines can found on the HFSP website.

Career Development Awards

The goal of Career Development Awards (CDA) is to support former HFSP fellows (both Long-Term and Cross-Disciplinary) to return to their home country or move to an HFSP member country to initiate an original research programme in their own laboratories as independent researchers.

Additional information and guidelines can found on the HFSP website.