Human Frontier Science Program

Facts and Figures

HFSP Mission

HFSP provides support for basic research at the frontiers of the life sciences in the form of Research Grants for collaboration between laboratories in different countries and Research Fellowships for postdoctoral scientists wishing to extend their expertise in a laboratory abroad. HFSP Fellows who are making the decisive transition to independence may apply for a Career Development Award in the home country or another HFSP member country. HFSP awards are granted only on the basis of the highest international standards of scientific excellence and creativity.

Sources of HFSP funding

The recent accession of Singapore brings the number of HFSP members (Management Supporting Parties or MSPs) to 15. Singapore joins Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union in providing funding to the Program.


HFSP was first discussed at the 1987 summit in Venice of the G7 nations (proposed initially by former Prime Minister Nakasone of Japan). Following discussions with the international scientific community, the scope of the program was defined and the Organization was founded in 1989 with the Secretariat in Strasbourg. The first awards were made in 1990. The original MSPs were the countries of the G7, together with the EU. Switzerland joined in 1991. Australia, Republic of Korea, India, New Zealand and Norway have joined since 2004.

HFSP Scientific Programs

  • A broad range of biological fields is supported by HFSP, from studies of the molecular basis of biological complexity to research into brain functions and biological systems.
  • Program Grants support collaboration on frontier projects in the life sciences involving laboratories in different countries with expertise in different fields and disciplines. In 2001 the Young Investigator Grant was introduced to support early career scientists within the first 5 years of obtaining their first independent position (contact:
  • Long-Term Fellowships support postdoctoral training abroad to enable young scientists to broaden their expertise. In 2005, the Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships were introduced to encourage scientists with a PhD in the natural sciences or engineering to bring their expertise to bear on biological problems (contact:
  • Career Development Awards enable former HFSP fellows who are returning to their home country or moving to another HFSP member country to transit to scientific independence at a critical period in their career (contact:
  • Awardees Meetings, held each year in a different MSP country, bring together HFSP awardees to report on the results of their research and to promote communication between scientists from different fields.

HFSP Nakasone Award

The HFSP Nakasone Award rewards conceptual breakthroughs at the frontiers of the life sciences. The award recognizes the vision of former Prime Minister Nakasone of Japan in the creation of HFSP. The 2016 winners are Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Prof. Jennifer Doudna for their seminal work on the CRISPR-Cas9 system. This new technology is revolutionizing biology by providing a new application for functional genomics in experimental systems.

HFSP Awardees

Since 1990, HFSP has supported 7008 scientists throughout the world.

  • 1029 collaborative Research Grants, involving 3804 scientists. Of these, since 2001, 156 Young Investigator Grants have been awarded to 437 early career scientists
  • 2994 young postdoctoral scientists of around 70 nationalities have been supported by HFSP Fellowships
  • 210 Career Development Awards have been awarded to HFSP Fellows setting up their first laboratory.

Achievements of HFSP Awardees

The high quality of HFSP awardees is shown by their ongoing success in obtaining national and international honors and awards.

  • 26 former HFSP awardees have gone on to win a Nobel Prize
  • HFSP awardees continue to be very successful in receiving competitive grants and in 2015/2016 they were among the winners of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Gairdner International Award, the Leibniz Award, and the Brain Prize.