Strasbourg, 15.10.2013. Last week's announcement of the Nobel Committee in Stockholm has proven again the importance of basic research. It may be risky and take time for tangible results, but the Laureates all acknowledged the importance of supporting basic frontier research.
Five of this years' Nobel Prize winners were previously HFSP grant recipients bringing the programs' record to 23 Nobel Prizes in the 24 years of its existence. For the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) this distinction is much appreciated but not really surprising. For more than two decades HFSP research grants require a unique combination of innovative approaches to high risk research projects.
HFSP congratulates James Rothman (Grantee '90, '94, and '05), Randy Schekman (Grantee '91, '95, and member of the HFSP Council of Scientists 1994-1998), and Thomas Südhof (Grantee '95) on receiving the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. We also congratulate Michael Levitt (Grantee '08) and Martin Karplus (Grantee ,05) on receiving the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
In commenting on their work the Laureates themselves emphasized the need for sustained efforts to maintain fundamental research in the life sciences. At the same time they encouraged young scientists to take the risk of moving into frontier areas. They know what they are talking about because they did this themselves and still contribute to the training of the next generation of researchers - between 1992 and 2013 a total of 22 HFSP funded postdoctoral fellows carried out their research work in their laboratories.
We are glad that we were there to support them. It takes courage to select truly innovative projects and it takes even more courage to fund high risk frontier research. To that end HFSP's strongest asset is its review process and the scientists behind it. Without their voluntary work this would not be possible.
The Human Frontier Science Program is an international program of research support implemented by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) based in Strasbourg, France. Its aims are to promote intercontinental collaboration and training in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research focused on the life sciences. HFSPO receives financial support from the governments or research councils of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, UK, USA, as well as from the European Union.