2009 Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) awards announced

The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) has announced the names of the recipients of HFSP international postdoctoral fellowships, career development awards and research grants. HFSP awards are made in each category only after rigorous selection in a global competition.

HFSP postdoctoral fellowships are given to young scientists within 3 years of the PhD degree who wish to broaden their training in a laboratory in another country. A repatriation scheme is built into these three year fellowships giving awardees considerable flexibility in planning their future careers: Fellows who wish to return to their home countries can use the third year of the fellowship in a laboratory at home and can defer their return by up to two years if their host supervisor can provide interim funds. This year, 120 Fellowships have been awarded. Of these, 109 are Long-Term Fellowships for life scientists planning to extend their expertise into another field of biology and 11 are Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships for young scientists with PhDs in physics, chemistry, computer science or engineering. The Cross-Disciplinary Fellowship program is intended to promote interdisciplinary research training at the postdoctoral level in life sciences and the quality of applicants in this category has been very high. The Long-Term and Cross-Disciplinary Fellows are from 34 different countries and will be receiving training in 14 different countries. 

A special feature of the HFSP programs for young scientists electing to return to their home countries after postdoctoral training abroad is the competitive Career Development Award to support setting up their independent laboratories. This year awards have been made to 25 young scientists returning to 11 different countries. Each awardee will receive a total of $300,000 spread over three years.

HFSP research grants support innovative, international and interdisciplinary collaborations. 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. The grants are awarded to international teams and strong preference is given to intercontinental collaborations. Grants are given for a broad range of projects under the umbrella theme of “Complex mechanisms of living organisms”, with particular emphasis on cutting-edge projects involving biologists together with researchers from non-biological disciplines such as physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics or engineering. 

This year, 9 Young Investigator teams (involving 27 scientists) and 26 Program Grant teams (involving 84 scientists) have received awards. Each team member receives $110,000 - $125,000 per year for 3 years. Awardees are from 22 different countries including 9 from Japan, 35 from North America, 55 from Europe and 4 from Australia and New Zealand. For the first time, an award has been made to an international team coordinated by a scientist in India. 

Full lists of the new awards are available on the HFSP web site.

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