Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)


HFSP is a ‘niche’ program for funding frontier research in the life sciences. It supports novel, innovative and interdisciplinary basic research that focuses on the complex mechanisms of living organisms.

A clear emphasis is placed on novel collaborations that bring biologists together with scientists from fields such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer science and engineering. The HSFP invites innovative collaborative projects, rather than those which are scientifically solid but do not have a “Frontier” character. Preliminary results are not required.



Program Grants are awarded to teams of independent researchers at any stage of their careers. The research team is expected to develop new lines of research through the collaboration. Applications including independent investigators early in their careers are encouraged.


  • Teams of 2-4 scientists (rarely 5)
  • International (preferably intercontinental)
  • interdisciplinary
  • Basic research (no applied research and/or clinical trials)
  • At any stage of careers but in a position to initiate and direct their own independent lines of research and must have full scientific and financial responsibility for their own laboratories 
  • Projects can receive financial support for three years



Young Investigators’ Grants are awarded to teams of researchers, all of whom are within the first five years after obtaining an independent laboratory. Applications for Young Investigators’ Grants will be reviewed in competition with each other independently of applications for Program Grants.

As above, but all team members must be:

  • within 5 years of their first independent position (Assistant Professor, Lecturer or equivalent)
  • Not more than 10 years after Ph.D./Md/or equivalent



  • Long-Term Fellowships for applicants with a biology Ph.D. to embark on a new project in a different field
  • Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships for Ph.D.’s. from outside the life sciences e.g. physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences
  • Must work in a new country
  • Apply within 3 years of Ph.D.
  • Must have one first authorship paper

For what can be applied?

  • Frontier basic research on complex mechanisms of living organisms (fundamental biology)
  • Strictly project related
  • New lines of research through novel collaborations 
  • Collaboration must be absolutely necessary to achieve the aims of the project
  • Key words are:
    • Novel approaches and cutting edge research 
    • High risk research
    • International and intercontinental collaboration
    • Interdisciplinary (biologist together with scientists form fields such as physics, chemistry etc)
    • Science without borders

Who can apply?

  • Research Teams that have not collaborated before
  • Researchers that are not involved in another HFSP proposal
  • Main applicant must be from a member country (*), other team members can be from anywhere
  • Teams consist of 2-4 members


Per team per year with a maximum of 3 years

  • $250,000 for a team of 2
  • $350,000 for a team of 3
  • $450,000 for a team of 4
  • Two or more members from the same country will be considered as a single team member for purposes of calculating the award, unless they constitute an interdisciplinary collaboration in which case they will be awarded an amount equivalent to 1.5 team members
  • Overhead is not separately funded
  • Eligible expenses are equipment, materials, supplies, salaries, travel, communication expenses, services
  • Ineligible expenses are: investigators’ salaries, tuition fees, overhead>10% of the direct costs

Application Procedure

  • Register at the HFSP extranet website and obtain a reference number
  • Submit a letter of intent
  • Invitation to submit a full proposal will follow

*) Member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus (EU part), the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.


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