Human Frontier Science Program
The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) (Frontière humaine, in French) is a program, based in Strasbourg, France, that funds basic research in life sciences. HFSP is supported by 13 countries and the European Union. Nobutaka Hirokawa has been its President and Chair of the Board of Trustees since 2012.
In 1986 a feasibility study was carried out by leading Japanese scientists under the auspices of the Japanese Prime Minister's Council for Science of Technology, to explore possible means to encourage international collaboration in basic research. Discussion was expanded to include scientists from the G7 summit nations and the European Union, resulting in the "London Wise Men's Conference" in April 1987, which endorsed the suggestion. Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan proposed the Human Frontier Science Program at the Venice Economic Summit in June 1987. The Economic Summit partners and the Chairman of the European Community welcomed the initiative and activities aimed at implementing it were started. The implementing body, the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) was established in 1989 and the secretariat was founded in Strasbourg, France. Since 1990, more than 5000 awards have been made to researchers from 69 countries. Of these, 16 HFSP awardees have received the Nobel Prize for work carried out during early phases of their research.
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 (contributes on behalf of the non-G7 EU members). The funds are combined into a single budget and are allocated to awards on the basis of HFSPO's own peer review system on the sole basis of scientific excellence.
Research Grants are awarded for novel collaborations involving extensive collaboration among teams of scientists working in different countries and in different disciplines. Two types of grants are available: Young Investigator Grants and Program Grants.
Postdoctoral Fellowships are available for scientists who wish to work in foreign laboratories, with emphasis on individuals early in their careers who wish to obtain training in a different field of research. Fellows who return to their home countries are eligible to apply for a Career Development Award.
Cross-disciplinary fellowships are intended for postdoctoral fellows with a Ph.D. degree in the physical sciences, chemistry, mathematics, engineering and computer sciences who wish to receive training in biology.
HFSP peer review
International peer review is a cornerstone of the procedures used in making awards. There is one review committee for Fellowships and one for Research Grants each consisting of 24 to 26 scientists. They have a broad international representation of scientific experts and each reviews applications in all scientific fields supported by the HFSP. This ensures that awards are made according to international scientific standards and the presence of reviewers from many countries minimizes geo-political bias. Extensive research is carried out into the expertise and reputation of potential members before appointment to ensure maintenance of the highest standards. The evaluation procedures are under constant review and the HFSP secretariat works closely with the members of the review committees and the Council of Scientists to ensure that all applications are assessed fairly and thoroughly.
HFSP Nakasone Award
In 2010, HFSP established the HFSP Nakasone Award to honour former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan for his vision in launching HFSP as a program of support for international collaboration and to foster early career scientists in a global context. The HFSP Nakasone Award is designed to recognise scientists who have undertaken frontier-moving research, including technological breakthroughs, which has advanced biological research. Both senior and junior scientists are eligible and peer-recognised excellence is the major criterion. The award can be made to an individual or a team of scientists. Award winners receive an unrestricted research grant of USD 10,000, a medal and personalised certificate. The award ceremony is held at the annual HFSP Awardees Meeting where the award winners are expected to deliver the HFSP Nakasone Lecture.
Launched in October 2006, the HFSP Journal aims to foster communication between scientists publishing high quality, innovative research at the frontiers of the life sciences. Peer review is designed to allow for the unique requirements of such papers and is overseen by an Editorial Board with members from different disciplines. The HFSP Journal offers its authors the option to pay a fee to make their research articles Open Access immediately upon publication. For other articles, access is limited to subscribers for the first 6 months after publication, but access is free thereafter.
The HFSP Journal ceased publication in July 2010 and was bought by the scientific publisher Taylor & Frances, to be re-launched in 2011 as “Frontiers in Life Science.
- Professor Nobutaka Hirokawa elected as President of HFSPO
- Human Frontier Science Program Historical Highlights
- Annual report 2005
- The members of the HFSPO, the so-called Management Supporting Parties (MSPs) are the contributing countries and the European Union, which contributes on behalf of the non-G7 EU members.
- Research Grants
- Grant Review Procedures
- Fellowship Review Procedures
- Nakasone Award
- HSFP Journal
- Cookson, Rod; Ferrier, Valerie; Falaschi, Arturo (2010). "Frontiers in Life Science". HFSP Journal 4 (3-4): 93. doi:10.2976/1.3431352. PMC 2929625. PMID 20811566.
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