Public Release: 

Jump start for frontier projects: The 2014 HFSP Research Grants

Human Frontier Science Program

The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) is awarding about $35 million to the 34 winning teams of the 2014 competition for the HFSP Research Grants. Applicants went through a rigorous year-long selection procedure in a global competition that started with 844 submitted letters of intent, representing an increase of 18% compared to the previous year. In 2014, 10 Young Investigator teams were approved (involving 28 scientists) together with 24 Program Grants (involving 78 scientists). Each team member receives on average $110,000 - $125,000 per year for 3 years.

HFSP collaborative research grants are given for a broad range of projects under the umbrella theme of "Complex mechanisms of living organisms." Particular emphasis is placed on cutting-edge, risky projects. Two types of research grants are awarded: Young Investigator Grants for teams of scientists who are all within 5 years of obtaining their first independent position and Program Grants, which are open to teams of scientists at any stage of their careers. While there are bilateral or regional agreements for international collaboration, the HFSP grant program is unique because it is the only one that encourages bottom-up applications from teams involving scientists worldwide.

Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, HFSPO Secretary General, comments that "the increased number of applications sends a strong message. The level of interest in international collaboration within the scientific community remains very high and our grant program is the only existing mechanism that supports scientists from more than two countries in a joint research effort. HFSP grants are unique because they offer a broad and unrestricted collaborative approach to teams of outstanding scientists from all over the world."

A strong preference is given to intercontinental collaborations. The awardees' laboratories are located in 17 different countries, including 51 laboratories in Europe, 34 in North America, 8 in Japan and 7 in Canada as well as laboratories in the non-member countries: Argentina, China, and Mexico. In this round, the selected scientists are of 26 different nationalities with American and German scientists being the most numerous.

HFSP aims to involve younger scientists in international collaborations. Therefore principal applicants for Program Grants are encouraged to include younger scientists as co-investigators in their teams. The mean age for Program Grant awardees is 49 years, whereas Young Investigator Grant awardees average at 37 years.


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.

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