The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is dedicated to discovering and disseminating new knowledge in the basic life sciences. HHMI grounds its research programs on the conviction that scientists of exceptional talent and imagination will make fundamental contributions of lasting scientific value and benefit to mankind when given the resources, time, and freedom to pursue challenging questions. The Institute prizes intellectual daring and seeks to preserve the autonomy of its scientists as they pursue their research. By appointing scientists as Hughes investigators — rather than awarding research grants — HHMI is guided by the principle of "people, not projects." Since the early 1990s, investigators have been selected through rigorous national competitions. The Institute solicits applications from researchers at medical schools and other research institutions in the United States, with the aim of identifying researchers who have the potential to make significant contributions to science.