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Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Research Grant Program - Young Investigators' Grants and Program Grants

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Teams
of Scientists to Conduct Research Projects

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Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO)

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Grants to USA, Canada, and International teams of scientists to conduct research projects. Applicants must register and submit a letter of intent prior to submitting a full application. Projects should be a collaborative effort between scientists in various fields. Grants funds are intended to support projects concerned with basic approaches to understanding the complex mechanisms of living organisms. HFSPO attaches the highest importance to novelty, scientific merit, internationality, and interdisciplinarity.

Emphasis is placed on building new collaborations that bring together life scientists and scientists from other disciplines such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer science and engineering, including the development of early career frontier scientists.

The Program supports potentially transformative proposals that address important problems at the frontiers of the life sciences, or barriers to progress in the life sciences. Projects should challenge existing paradigms by using novel approaches and techniques. Applications for high-risk/high-reward projects are particularly encouraged.

Research projects may range from biological functions at the molecular and cellular level up to the biological systems level, including cognitive functions. All levels of analysis are supported: for example studies on genes and individual molecules, intracellular networks, intercellular associations in tissues and organs, and networks underlying the complex functions of entire organisms, populations, or ecosystems.

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) is a unique program that supports innovative basic research into fundamental biological problems with emphasis placed on novel and interdisciplinary approaches that involve scientific exchanges across national and disciplinary boundaries. Awards are made to international (preferably intercontinental) teams of 2 to 4 members. HFSPO encourages projects that are at the frontiers of knowledge and therefore entail risk.

Types of Grants

Two types of Research Grant are available: Young Investigators' Grants and Program Grants.

  • Young Investigators: Awarded to teams of researchers, all of whom are within the first five years after obtaining an independent laboratory (e.g. Assistant Professor, Lecturer or equivalent). Applications for Young Investigators' Grants will be reviewed in competition with each other independently of applications for Program Grants.
  • Program Grants: Awarded to teams of independent researchers at any stage of their careers. The research team is expected to develop new lines of research through the collaboration. Up to $450,000 per grant per year may be applied for. Applications including independent investigators early in their careers are encouraged.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 187725

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards are dependent upon team size. Awards may be up to a maximum of $450,000 per year (teams of 4 or more).

- HFSP Research Grants are paid to the team and the maximum amount paid is $450,000 for a team of 4 or more.
- A team of 2 investigators will receive $250,000 and a team of 3 will receive $350,000 per year.
- Two members from the same country will be considered as a single team member for purposes of calculating the award, unless they constitute an interdisciplinary collaboration in which case they will be awarded an amount equivalent to 1.5 team members (currently $300,000 for a team of ‘2.5’ and $400,000 for ‘3.5’ team members).
- In the case of a two-member team with one member in a for-profit institution, the total annual award will be reduced to $125,000. In other cases the for-profit member will not be included when calculating the amount of the award.

Term of Contract:

Both Young Investigators Grants and Program Grants provide 3 years support.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

HFSP Research Grants support teams of independent leaders of research groups. Therefore applications from individual scientists or early career researchers carrying out their postdoctoral or PhD level projects are not eligible.

Eligibility requirements for applicants: The Principal Applicant of a Research Grant must have a laboratory in an HFSPO member country (with the exception of HFSP Career Development Awardees – see section 4.2 of the RFP in Supporting Documents below.). All team members are expected to direct a research group (however small) and must have a doctoral degree (PhD, MD or equivalent). The HFSP award is not intended to create scientific independence, this is a decision of the research institute prior to the application. Team members must be able to determine the course of the HFSP-funded project and have freedom to administer the grant award.

Young Investigators:
- All members of a Young Investigators’ grant team must be within 5 years of obtaining an independent position (see below) but must have obtained their first doctoral degree (PhD, MD or equivalent) not longer than 10 years before the deadline for submission of the letter of intent. For exceptional circumstances please refer to Section 3.1 of the Application Guidelines in Supporting Documents below.
- A Young Investigator should be a project leader directing a research group. They must have full responsibility for the day to day running of their laboratories and will have full control of the HFSP funds.
- Written confirmation may be requested from the Head of Department in the case of an applicant who independently oversees a research theme.

Program Grants:
- All members of a Program Grant team must be in a position to initiate and direct their own independent lines of research.
- They must have full scientific and financial responsibility for their own laboratories (however small).
- There are common features for Young Investigators and Program Grants regarding the interdisciplinary team composition. Please refer to Section 3.3 of the Application Guidelines in Supporting Documents below.

Applied applications, including medical research typically funded by national medical research bodies, will be deemed ineligible. For more information about what is ineligible for funding, see:

Pre-Application Information:

i. Compulsory initiation of a letter of Intent by obtaining a LIXXXX/2021 reference number by March 19th 2020 (updated for each cycle)
ii. Submission of Letters of Intent: March 30th 2020 (updated for each cycle)

1. Applicants must first submit a letter of intent via the HFSP web site, with a deadline around the end of March. After review of the letters of intent, invitations are issued in early July to the teams selected to submit full applications.
2. Full applications are then due around the middle of September.

Application Instructions:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.


For questions or assistance, please contact the Research Grant Office at

Grant Coverage Areas:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon

International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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