NHMRC Human Frontier Science Program

NHMRC Human Frontier Science Program

Status Closed

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) supports international and interdisciplinary collaborations in basic research, focusing on complex mechanisms of living organisms. Australia is a member of the HFSP through the NHMRC, which allows Australian researchers to lead applications for HFSP grants.

Funding schemes include:

Research Grants, which are for teams of researchers. Emphasis is placed on novel collaborations that bring together scientists from different countries and preferably from different disciplines (eg from chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering) to focus on problems in the life sciences. The research team is expected to develop new lines of research through the collaboration. Young Investigators' Grants are for teams of researchers within the first five years after obtaining an independent laboratory. Program Grants are for teams of independent researchers at any stage of their careers.

HFSP Postdoctoral Fellowships, which encourage early-career scientists to broaden their research skills by moving into new areas of study while working in a new country. HFSP fellowships are for three years. Fellows may choose to stay for up to three years in the host country or use the last year of their fellowship to return to their home country or to move to another HFSP member country. Long-Term Fellowships are reserved for applicants with a PhD in a biological discipline to embark on a new project in a different field of the life sciences, within an outstanding laboratory in a different country. Preference is given to applicants who propose an original study in biology that marks a departure from their previous research. Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships are open to applicants with a PhD from outside the life sciences eg in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences who have had limited exposure to biology during their previous training. Applicants for the CDF should propose a significant departure from their past research by changing eg from material science or physics to cell biology, from chemistry to molecular biology, or from computer science to neuroscience.

Career Development Awards, which fund HFSP fellows who return to their home country or move to an HFSP member country to establish an original research program and their independent laboratory. It is the primary funding mechanism offered by HFSP that aims at encouraging repatriation of postdoctoral researchers after the fellowship tenure abroad. The three-year award provides initial support during a critical period of career development. Host institutions are expected to contribute additional resources in support of the awardees and their independent research program. The CDA is open only for former HFSP Fellows. Candidates are encouraged to select research institutions that are different from their PhD institutes to facilitate their scientific independence.


See information provided in the HFSP guidelines (see Resources below).

Faculty Processes

The Faculties have their own approval and review processes for grants under this scheme. They may also have deadlines for submission of draft applications that are earlier than the Research Office deadlines. Please ensure that you contact your Faculty, as early as possible, for information on process and deadlines. Faculty contacts:

Faculty of Arts

Faculty of Business and Economics
Ph 9850 8485 (x8485), Faculty Research Manager, Ms Kerry Todd-Smith

Faculty of Human Sciences
Ph 9850 8073 (x8073), Faculty Research Manager, Mr Colm Halbert

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Ph 9850 2788 (x2788), Faculty Research Manager, Dr Kyle Ratinac

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Ph 9850 8912 (x8912), Faculty Research Manager, Ms Irina Zakoshanski

Macquarie Graduate School of Management
Ph 9850 7732 (x7732), Research Office Executive, Mrs Kerry Daniel

Key Dates

Research Grants: Applicants must submit a letter of intent to apply for a research grant via the HFSP web site with a deadline at the end of March. After review, selected teams will be invited to submit a full application.  

HFSP Postdoctoral Fellowships: Applications for both types of Fellowships normally open in June and close in August or September each year.

Career Development Awards: Applications normally open in June and close in November each year. Eligible HFSP Fellows receive information from the HFSP early August about the coming application cycle.


Research Grants:
Information and Guidelines
Review Procedures
Other Resources

HFSP Postdoctoral Fellowships:
Information and Guidelines
Review Procedures
Other Resources

Career Development Awards:
Information and Guidelines
Review Procedures

Application & Project Lifecycle Information (APLI) Form (formerly MQ Coversheet)
MQ Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 
Application Checklist 


Information and Compliance
Ms Lyn Schedlich / Ms Sarah Horn
Research Proposals Officer
Research Office
Ph: +61 2 9850 4193

Strategic Advice
Ms Courtney Bendall
Research Development Consultant
Research Office
Ph: +61 2 9850 4745

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