BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards


The BBVA Foundation expresses the engagement of financial group BBVA with the cause of social responsibility in the societies where it does business, in pursuit of a better quality of life for all citizens. The central planks of BBVA's corporate culture and strategy are the promotion of knowledge and innovation, and respect for the ethical principles that characterize the plural society of the 21st century, which it views as key contributors to ongoing value creation and the opening-up of new opportunities and choices for individuals and groups.

The BBVA Foundation promotes scientific research of excellence by funding research projects, disseminating the results to society through diverse channels including symposia, workshops, lectures, publications and exhibitions, and providing advanced training and research awards. The Foundation also lends active support in other cultural areas, principally literature and contemporary music.

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards seek to recognize and encourage world-class research and artistic creation, prizing contributions of broad impact for their originality and theoretical significance. The name of the scheme is intended to encapsulate both research work that successfully enlarges the scope of our current knowledge – pushing forward the frontiers of the known world – and the meeting and overlap of different disciplinary areas.

The Frontiers Awards honor fundamental disciplinary or supradisciplinary advances in a series of basic, natural, social and technological sciences, as listed in the following paragraph. They also recognize creative activity of excellence in the classical music of our time. Finally, categories are reserved for two core concerns of early 21st century society, climate change and socioeconomic development cooperation, with awards going alternatively to outstanding research work or projects of a diverse nature that mark a significant advance in addressing these global challenges.

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, to be given annually, take in the following prize categories:  

  • Basic Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics)
  • Biomedicine
  • Ecology and Conservation Biology
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Economics, Finance and management
  • Contemporary Music
  • Climate Change
  • Development Cooperation

The goal of the Frontiers Awards can be summed up in the following principles. Firstly, to recognize the importance of basic knowledge. However valuable the other forms of applied scientific research prized by science policy in these past decades, basic knowledge remains the principal driver of scientific change and, indirectly, of our material progress, wellbeing, and cultural development. In the second place, to recognize the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of knowledge in the closing decades of the last century and our present days. Hence the decision to group awards so as to reflect the interaction and overlap of disciplines (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics; Biology and Medicine; Economics, Finance and Management), while retaining the option to distinguish an outstanding advance in one discipline alone. Thirdly, to acknowledge the fact that many seminal contributions to our current stock of knowledge are the result of collaborative working between large research teams. This is why, unlike other prizes reserved for one person alone or perhaps three at most, these awards may be shared by any number of any size teams, provided the achievement being recognized is the result of collaborative or parallel working. Fourthly, honors in basic, natural and social sciences and technology are joined by a category recognizing creative work of excellence in a particularly innovative artistic area that does much to shape the culture and identity of each era; contemporary classical music. Fifthly, recognition is extended to diverse endeavors (from research through to practical actions and initiatives) in the areas of climate change and development cooperation, two central issues of the global society of the 21st century which are vital to the fight against the poverty and exclusion affecting large areas of our planet.

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards will be decided in two stages. The first will involve technical evaluation committees, and the second prize juries made up of internationally reputed experts; both acting independently of the other and relying solely on the standards and metrics of excellence proper to the subject area. Responsibility for determining the composition of the technical evaluation committees will be shared between the BBVA Foundation and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which will propose the chair of each prize jury. The BBVA Foundation will also confer with the CSIC on the appointment of remaining jury members.

The CSIC is an independent public research organization with a multisectoral, multidisciplinary scope. Endowed with its own legal personality and assets, it operates throughout Spain, while maintaining a large international presence and reach. The Council, the main nexus for science implementation in Spain, stands out for its multidisciplinary remit, the breadth of the research work supported, ranging from basic research to technological development, and its tightly coordinated nationwide network, with centers or units in all Spanish regions.

The partnership between the CSIC and the BBVA Foundation endorses the objectivity, independence and standards of excellence that will inform the selection process from start to finish. This collaboration between a public institution and a private organization rests, moreover, on a shared conviction of the fundamental role played by world-class scientific research and artistic creation in these opening years of the 21st century. As a force for the advancement of society through economic growth, improved healthcare, responsible management of the environment and the extension of welfare, and as an aid to informed freedom of choice for citizens in the public and private, personal and community spheres.


Frontiers of Knowledge Calendar

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