News Release 

Frontier research boosted by international commitment to top science

Human Frontier Science Program

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) of Japan hosted the 2019 Triennial Conference of HFSPO Members (TCHM) to renew the three-year budgetary framework for the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO), the only truly global program funding frontier research in the life sciences.

The conference announced a financial framework for the 2020-2022 period that consolidates the organization's annual budget at about 54 million USD for the next triennium.

"We are pleased with the outcome of the conference because HFSPO will continue its unique mandate to foster international collaboration across scientific disciplines emphasizing support for scientists who are early in their careers", said Toichi Sakata, the chair of the conference.

"During its 30 years of existence, HFSPO has supported more than 1100 Research Grants and more than 3200 postdoctoral researchers from about 70 different countries. We consider this a remarkable achievement. The renewal of the members' support for HFSP is a strong signal for international voluntary collaboration and will maintain HFSPO's leadership role supporting frontier basic research."

The conference encouraged HFSPO to actively pursue the broadening of its membership to new countries in reflection of the increasingly globalized nature of frontier research and the reputation enjoyed by the program. This was welcomed by the Organization's Secretary-General, Prof. Warwick Anderson who commented that "The Human Frontier Science Program pushes the boundaries of current scientific knowledge for the benefit of all humankind. Our program supports cross-disciplinary approaches to frontier research in the life science that holds promise to deliver solutions and that tackles societal challenges."

HFSPO was launched by Japan in 1989 as a Group of Seven (G7) initiative. Its membership has since expanded and now includes: Australia, Canada, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

A Joint Communique; setting out the financial contributions will be published on the HFSP website.

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Background

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) is an international program of research support implemented by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) based in Strasbourg, France. According to its Statutes, "HFSP aims to promote, through international cooperation, basic research focused on the elucidation of the sophisticated and complex mechanisms of living organisms and to make the fullest possible utilization of the research results for the benefit of all humankind".

HFSP provides awards solely on the basis of excellence determined by international peer review. These are: Long-Term and Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships to help PhD graduates join prestigious laboratories and Research Grants for projects by international research teams from at least two countries. Competition is tough with only about 1 in 20 applicants being successful. Previous grant holders have gone on to win 28 Nobel Prizes.

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