Life Sciences Post Doctoral Fellowships: The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)


Eligibility Criteria

Anyone from any country and any nationality can apply for a fellowship.

A candidate who is not a national of one of the HFSPO members (see list below) may apply to work only in a research institution in one of the member countries.

A candidate who is a national of one of the member countries can apply to work in a research institution in any country.

HFSPO member countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus (EU part only), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Applicants must propose to work in a country different to the one where they did their previous PhD work or first post-doctoral studies. For those institutions that are not classified as national, i.e. international or extraterritorial institutions such as EMBL, ICPT or ICGEB, the country in which the laboratory is located will be considered the host country.

A research doctorate (PhD) or a doctoral-level degree comparable to a PhD with equivalent experience in basic research (e.g. a research based MD or medical PhD) must be conferred by the start of the fellowship, but is not required at the time ofsubmission.

If PhD awarded:

  • The degree must have been conferred in the 3 years prior to the submission deadline, i.e. between September 1, 2017 and August 27, 2020.
  • The date on which the doctoral degree was officially conferred will determine the cut off for the eligibility of a fellowship application.

Exceptions are possible only for post-PhD career interruptions such as illness, parental leave, providing full time care for an immediate family member, military or civil service. Unemployment and work outside science are not considered eligible interruption periods. Eligible interruption periods will not be counted, however the remaining duration must be less than 3 years.

If PhD not yet awarded:

  • The PhD must be conferred by 31 December 2021 at the latest.
  • The fellowship cannot start before the PhD is officially conferred.

By “conferred degree” we mean you have been awarded your diploma for the degree. The “conferral date” is the date on the official PhD document.

Applicants must have at least one lead author, full-length research paper – either accepted for publication, in press or published – in an international peer-reviewed journal or published on a preprint server such as bioRxiv by August 27, 2020 in order to be eligible to apply. The applicant must either be the single author, first author or joint first author. In a joint first author paper the applicant does not have to be listed in the first place, but the equal contribution of the authors must be clearly stated in all cases. In some cases the standard publication practice makes first authorship impossible (e.g. alphabetical listing of authors); these circumstances must be explained in the “Additional Comments” section of the application. HFSPO also recognizes that publications practices differ in different fields (e.g. in physical sciences) and those cases should also be explained in the “Additional Comments” section.

Only papers written in English are taken into account. Review articles and patents are not taken into account.

Electronic copies of lead author publications must be uploaded while preparing the application. They cannot be uploaded after the applicant has submitted.

Please be aware of the following grounds for ineligibility:

  • Applicants who on April 1, 2021 (which is the earliest possible fellowship start date) have spent more than 12 months
  • (consecutive or not) in the proposed host country are not eligible to apply. The combined duration of all research-related stays in the host country (e.g. research positions, collaborations, internships, Master/PhD work, time spent either as a visiting scientist or as a technician, etc…) is taken into account.
  • in the proposed host institution (i.e. who arrived in the proposed host institution before 1 April 2020) are not eligible to apply.
  • (consecutive or not) with their proposed host supervisor are not eligible to apply, even in case the host supervisor relocated to another country.
  • Applicants cannot propose to return to an institution where they have worked in the past (even if for less than 12 months) unless they plan to pursue a completely different project.
  • Applicants cannot propose to work with:
  • former scientific collaborators
  • former research supervisors
  • any other scientist with whom they have worked or published
  • Applicants cannot propose to take up the HFSP fellowship in the country where they obtained their PhD, even if the applicant is not a national of that country.
  • Applications to move from one laboratory to another in the same country are not eligible.
  • A candidate cannot apply to go to the country of which he/she is a national, even if pre- or post-doctoral studies were completed abroad or the PhD was obtained in another country. Candidates with dual nationalities are allowed to apply to work in a research institution in one of the countries for which they have a dual nationality provided they have never lived or studied in this country or they have left this country during their early childhood. In such cases applicants need to contact the Fellowship Office and claim an exemption.
  • Applications to work in a for-profit research environment are not eligible.
  • An applicant cannot submit more than one HFSP fellowship application in a competition year.
  • Former Long-Term or Cross-Disciplinary Fellowship awardees cannot apply for a second HFSP fellowship.
  • Host supervisors can endorse only one application (LTF or CDF) per competition. The proposed host supervisor may, however, concurrently mentor HFSP fellows from previous award years, and/or be part of an HFSP Research Grant team (Program Grant or Young Investigator Grant).

If you have queries about any of these ineligibility criteria, please contact the Fellowship Office at

Closing date: 30 September 2020

Contact email:


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