The foundation supports medical research, especially in the areas of cancer and HIV/AIDS research. Calls for projects and prizes are published on an annually rotating basis. Calls are published in the first half of each year in the „Deutsches Ärzteblatt“ (miscellaneous) and, for HIV/AIDS research, in addition in the journal „Infektionsepidemiologische Forschung“, published by the Robert Koch Institute.
The foundation runs its own projects and funds projects of others, provided that they can be classified as projects concerning “preschool and school”, “academy”, “neuroscience” or “family and profession”.
The Human Frontier Science Programme funds novel, innovative, and interdisciplinary research approaches regarding the complex mechanisms of living organisms, ranging from molecular and cell biology to systemic and cognitive neurosciences and the interactions between different organisms. A special focus is on new collaborations between biologists and researchers from fields such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer sciences, and engineering, focusing on research on the frontiers of the life sciences.
The foundation supports solely scientists who have earned their PhD / doctoral degree and are holding a non-permanent position. They can apply for funding for materials to use in human and adult stem cell research under an open call.