Human Frontier Science Program

What is the Human Frontier Science Program?

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) is an international program of research support, funding leading-edge research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. Research is funded at all levels of biological complexity from biomolecules to the interactions between organisms, crossing disciplinary boundaries, and embracing risk.

The HFSP was established 30 years ago through the efforts of the Japanese Government. Today it is an international research program managed by the Human Frontier Science Program Organization, based in Strasbourg, France.

This program was founded on the belief that new ideas, techniques and discoveries often arise through crossing the boundaries of various research disciplines. It facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations between researchers of various scientific disciplines, by funding a suite of annual awards, including research grants and postdoctoral fellowships. 

HFSP provides awards solely on the basis of excellence, which is determined by international peer review.

Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), has committed over $8.7M over four years to support HFSP beginning in 2020-2021. Other supporting countries include Australia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

The Joint Communiqué setting out the financial contributions and the Strategic Plan 2020 – 2022 of the HFSPO has been published on the HFSP website.

About the HFSP Research Grant Program and Postdoctoral Fellowships

The HFSP Research Grants Program supports innovative basic research of fundamental biological problems, with emphasis placed on novel and interdisciplinary approaches that involve scientific exchanges across national and disciplinary boundaries.

Projects are expected to be at the frontiers of knowledge and high-risk. Participation of scientists from disciplines outside the traditional life sciences, such as biophysics, chemistry, computational biology, computer science, engineering, mathematics, nanoscience or physics, is recommended. Contributions from these disciplines have made biological research increasingly quantitative, and have opened up new approaches for understanding the complex structures and regulatory networks that characterize living organisms, their evolution and interactions.

Research grants are provided for multi-national teams of scientists which allows innovative approaches to scientific questions that otherwise could not be answered by individual laboratories.

HFSP also offers Postdoctoral Fellowships that support proposals for potentially transformative research in the life sciences. Applications for high-risk projects are particularly encouraged. The projects should be interdisciplinary in nature and should challenge existing paradigms by using novel approaches and techniques. Scientifically, they should address an important problem or a barrier to progress in the field.

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.

Visit the HFSP website for more information on the Research Grants and the Postdoctoral Fellowships, including eligibility criteria and key dates.

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