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Call for nominations: BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards recognize fundamental contributions in a broad array of areas of scientific knowledge, technology, humanities and artistic creation.


The disciplines and domains of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards are:

  • Basic Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics)
  • Biology and Biomedicine
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Ecology and Conservation Biology
  • Climate Change
  • Economics, Finance and Management
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Music and Opera

The Climate Change award recognizes both research endeavors in confronting this challenge and impactful actions informed by the best science. In Humanities and Social Sciences, the award will alternate annually between these two disciplinary domains, with this eleventh edition dedicated to the Humanities. Finally, the Music and Opera category encompasses composition, instrumental and vocal performance, musical and stage direction, and video art creation associated with musical or operatic works.

Award Content

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards consist of 400,000 euros, a diploma and a commemorative artwork in each of their eight categories.

In the event that an award is shared by more than one person, its monetary amount will be divided equally among all recipients.

All awards, in whatever category, will be subject to the withholding and other taxes prescribed by current legislation, which will be deducted from their total amount.

Candidate Requirements

Candidates may be one or more natural persons of any nationality, without limitation of number, that have made independent or convergent contributions to a given advance, whether due to a formal collaboration (with the nominees belonging to one or more groups) or parallel working. The awards are also open to scientific or cultural organizations that can be collectively credited with exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge, cultural creation or the fight against climate change.

Awards may not be granted posthumously.


Any scientific or cultural organization or institution can submit nominations, following their own internal procedures. Among them:

  • Scientific or artistic societies and organizations
  • National and regional academies of science or culture
  • Public or private R&D centers
  • University schools, departments or institutes and research or teaching institutes
  • Hospital departments and biomedical research centers
  • Schools of music
  • Orchestras, orchestra associations, opera theaters and opera associations
  • Public agencies and supranational, national or regional organizations substantially engaged in analysis and/or activities relating to climate change
  • Other scientific, cultural and environmental organizations

Winners of the Nobel Prize in any of its categories are likewise eligible to nominate, as are past winners of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards.

The BBVA Foundation may also invite nominations from researchers and cultural creators that have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields, establishing consultative or advisory panels to this end.

The same organization, institution or individual nominator may put forward more than one candidate without limitation of number, but no candidate may be nominated in more than one award category.

Entry Submission and Documentation

The nomination period will open on January 1, 2018 and conclude at 23:00 GMT on June 28 of the same year.

All nominations should be submitted using the dedicated form on the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards website.

Both nominations and the accompanying documentation must be submitted in English only.

The nominating institution or individual must provide the following information and documentation, as specified at the above web address:

  • Award category for which the candidate is nominated
  • Name of the nominating institution and officer/body, with the corresponding contact data (postal and e-mail address, plus landline and cell phone numbers)
  • Letter of nomination signed by the nominating officer/body
  • Candidate particulars including institutional affiliation and contact data
  • Description of the salient contributions of the candidate and reasoned arguments for the nomination (maximum of three pages, single spaced)
  • Candidate’s curriculum vitae

If an entry refers to one or several research teams or several persons that have made convergent contributions to a given advance as a result of parallel working, the nominating officer/body should provide the information referred to in points 4 and 6 above for all members of the candidature. With regard to point 5, the nominator should provide a single descriptive narrative including an account of the role performed by each member.

In the event that various organizations or individuals wish to jointly or coordinately submit a nomination, they should appoint a nomination coordinator who will merge all the materials into a single entry.

The BBVA Foundation will send an e-mail to the nominator confirming the acceptance of the entry, and facilitating a registration number which should be quoted in all subsequent correspondence.

If the documentation furnished is incomplete or contains correctable errors, the BBVA Foundation will notify the nominator to this effect, granting a non-extendible term of thirty calendar days in which to rectify the flaws detected, so the entry may be accepted for consideration.

The BBVA Foundation undertakes to preserve the confidentiality of all documentation received, and will in no event provide itemized or individual information on the nominations received or on the deliberations of the award committees. The BBVA Foundation will publish only the names of those persons or institutions that have nominated a winning candidate.

Selection Process

Step 1: Evaluation support panels

The BBVA Foundation together with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) will appoint a support panel to evaluate the nominations received in each category of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards. These panels will be formed by leading experts in the area concerned, drawn from CSIC, universities, hospitals and other research, cultural or artistic centers. They will provide the BBVA Foundation with a reasoned rank order of finalists, which the Foundation will forward to the corresponding award committee, accompanied by a full list of entries and the scores assigned to each by reference to the best metrics of the subject area.

Step 2: Committees

The eight committees will comprise experts of acknowledged prestige in the corresponding area and will be appointed by the BBVA Foundation. The chair of each committee will be designated by the current CSIC president from a list of between five and ten researchers or cultural practitioners drawn up by the BBVA Foundation.

Since the Frontiers Awards in each category are intended to recognize specific contributions, the committees will take an integral view of the nominations received in favor of one or more persons or organizations, and may choose to merge two or more separate entries when it considers that they have made a convergent contribution to a given advance.

In the case of nominations made up of several persons or organizations, the committee may also elect to confine the award to one or some of its members in recognition of their differential contribution.

If a nomination is considered to be incomplete, in the sense of including only some of the persons or organizations generally acknowledged to be among the principal authors of the stated contribution, the committee will refrain from granting it the award. Nor will the committee be able to add the names of individuals or organizations in order to round off such nominations.

The committee may reach its decision unanimously or by simple majority, with the corresponding modality put on record in the award certificate.

Committees’ decisions will in no event be open to appeal, including the decision to leave the award vacant.

The composition of the support panel and award committee in each category, and the contents of the award certificate with the jury’s citation will be publicly disclosed through the BBVA Foundation website.

Award Decision and Presentation Ceremony

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards will be decided before April 30, 2019.

The awards will be presented at a formal ceremony to be held in Madrid on June 13, 2019, preceded by a gala concert held in Madrid’s Teatro Real on the evening of June 12.

Laureates must agree to attend the presentation ceremony. In the case of awards going to teams, these will be represented by no more than three of their members.

If an award goes to a legal person, it must furnish the following documents after being notified of the award decision:

  • A copy of its bylaws
  • A copy of its tax identification number
  • A statement from the pertinent governing body of the organization or institution confirming its acceptance of the award


The fact of participating in the present edition of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards signifies the acceptance of its conditions and award decisions, and renunciation of any claim in their respect on the part of both nominators and nominees.

Application date
30 Jun 2018
Europe Spain
Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Economics Environmental Sciences Geography International Relations Law Political science Other Agronomy Biology Chemistry Engineering Mathematics Medicine Physics
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Award granted
€ 400.000