Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program
Key people
Shikekazug Nagata, HFSPO President, Warwick Anderson, HFSPO Secretary General

The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) is a non-profit organization, based in Strasbourg, France, that funds basic research in life sciences. The organization implements the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) and is supported by 14 countries and the European Commission. Shigekazu Nagata is the HFSPO President and Chair of the Board of Trustees since 2018.


In 1986, Japanese scientists, supported by the Japanese Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology, conducted a feasibility study to explore international collaboration in basic research. Subsequent discussions involving scientists from G7 summit nations and the European Union led to the "London Wise Men's Conference" in April 1987, endorsing the idea. Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone proposed the Human Frontier Science Program at the Venice Economic Summit in June 10th 1987, gaining support from the Economic Summit partners and the Chairman of the European Community. The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) was then established in 1989, with its secretariat in Strasbourg, France. Since 1990, the program has granted over 7000 awards to researchers from 70+ countries with 28 HFSP awardees later receiving the Nobel Prize for their scientific contributions.


 contributing member states
 European Union contribution

HFSPO secures financial backing from a range of governments and research councils, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK, USA, and the European Commission, representing non-G7 EU members. These contributions are consolidated into a unified budget, which is used to fund research fellowships and grants through HFSPO's peer review system, with a primary emphasis on science.

Funding programs

The organization offers Research grants, which encourage collaboration among scientists globally. These grants come in two types: Research Grants - Early Career and Research Grants - Program.

Postdoctoral Fellowships cater to individuals seeking experience in foreign labs, especially those early in their careers exploring different research fields. Fellows can also use these opportunities to establish independent research labs in their home countries.

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships are designed for postdocs with Ph.D. degrees in the physical sciences, chemistry, mathematics, engineering and computer sciences who aim to gain training in biology.

HFSP funding primarily supports postdoctoral initiatives, with no provisions for undergraduate or PhD students.

HFSP peer review

International peer review is a fundamental part of the awarding process, involving two committees—one for Fellowships and one for Research Grants, each composed of 24 to 26 scientists. These committees have a diverse global representation of scientific experts, reviewing applications across all HFSP-supported scientific fields. The evaluation procedures undergo regular review, and the HFSP secretariat collaborates closely with committee members and the Council of Scientists.

HFSP Nakasone Award

In 2010, HFSP established the HFSP Nakasone Award to honour former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan for his vision in launching HFSP as a program of support for international collaboration and to foster early career scientists in a global context. The HFSP Nakasone Award is designed to recognise scientists who have undertaken frontier-moving research, including technological breakthroughs, which has advanced biological research. Both senior and junior scientists are eligible and peer-recognised excellence is the major criterion. The award can be made to an individual or a team of scientists. Award winners receive an unrestricted research grant of USD 10,000, a medal and personalised certificate. The award ceremony is held at the annual HFSP Awardees Meeting where the award winners are expected to deliver the HFSP Nakasone Lecture.

Recipients of the Award:

HFSP Journal

Launched in October 2006, the HFSP Journal aims to foster communication between scientists publishing innovative research at the frontiers of the life sciences. Peer review is designed to allow for the unique requirements of such papers and is overseen by an Editorial Board with members from different disciplines. The HFSP Journal offers its authors the option to pay a fee to make their research articles Open Access immediately upon publication. For other articles, access is limited to subscribers for the first 6 months after publication, but access is free thereafter.

The HFSP Journal ceased publication in July 2010 and was bought by the scientific publisher Taylor & Frances, to be re-launched in 2011.

In 2015 the HFSP reported that the former journal name had been hijacked in an apparent attempt to defraud researchers into publishing an apparent scam journal.

This page was last updated at 2024-04-13 16:26 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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