BBVA Foundation Awards, Spain

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards are intended to recognize basic research and creative work of excellence, as embedded in theoretical advances, models and fundamental perspectives for an improved understanding of the natural, social and artificial or technological worlds, technological innovations and developments, and the creation of outstanding works or new artistic or interpretative styles in contemporary classical music. Awards also go to significant achievements that advance our understanding or deliver material progress with regard to two key challenges of the global society of the 21st century: climate change and development cooperation.

Deadline – June 30


Awards will be granted in eight prize categories, spanning three domains. First, scientific and technological research in the areas of Basic Sciences, Biomedicine, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Information and Communication Technologies, and Economics, Finance and Management. Second, the creation, direction or performance of works of contemporary classical music. Third, scientific research and/or projects that represent significant advances in two core concerns of the 21st century: climate change and development cooperation.

  1. Basic Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics)
  2. Biomedicine
  3. Ecology and Conservation Biology
  4. Information and Communication Technologies
  5. Economics, Finance and Management
  6. Contemporary Music
  7. Climate Change
  8. Development Cooperation

Award content

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards will consist of €400,000, a diploma and a commemorative artwork in each prize category.

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 the applicable legislation, which will be deducted from the total.

Entry conditions

Candidates shall be one or more natural persons of any nationality, without limitation of number in the case of convergent contributions to a given advance, whether due to a formal collaboration (with the candidate(s) belonging to one or more groups) or parallel working.

In categories 7 and 8, entries are also open to agencies and organizations in the public or private sector (not-for-profit in the latter case) under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph, providing their institutional or organizational purpose is to undertake activities relating to climate change or development cooperation.

Awards may not be granted posthumously.


Nominations shall in all cases be indirect.

Nominations will be accepted from the following organizations and institutions working in the knowledge areas covered in each category, in the person of their office holders or governing bodies and according to their own internal procedures:

  • Scientific or artistic societies or organizations
  • National or regional academies of the sciences or the arts
  • Public or private R&D centers
  • University departments and schools and university or research institutes
  • Hospital departments and biomedical research centers
  • Science museums
  • Conservatories and schools of music
  • Scholarly music and musicology journals
  • Orchestras and orchestra associations
  • Radio and television broadcasters running symphony or chamber orchestras
  • Public agencies and international, national or regional organizations substantially engaged in analysis and/or activities relating to climate change and development cooperation

Winners of the Nobel Prize in any of its categories and past winners of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards shall likewise be entitled to nominate. The BBVA Foundation may also invite nominations from researchers and creative practitioners who have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields.

The same institution may nominate more than one candidate without limitation of number, but no candidate may be nominated for more than one award category.

Entry submission and documentation

The nominations process will open on January 1, 2015 and conclude at 23.00 hours GMT on June 30 of the same year.

All nominations should be submitted through the website of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards:

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

The nominating institution or person must provide the following information and documents, which are detailed more fully in the dedicated website mentioned above:

  • Award category for which the candidate is being nominated.
  • Name of the institution and nominating officer/body, with the corresponding contact data.
  • Letter of nomination signed by the nominating officer/body.
  • Candidate particulars including his/her institutional affiliation.
  • A description of the salient contributions of the candidate and reasoned arguments for his/her nomination (maximum four pages, single spaced).
  • Candidate’s CV.

If an entry refers to one or several research teams or various persons deemed to 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 for all members of the candidature. With regard to point 5, the nominator should provide a single descriptive text including a brief account of the role performed by each member.

In the event that various organizations (departments, institutes, etc.) or persons wish to put forward a nomination, they should appoint a nomination coordinator who will merge all the supporting documents and testimonials from diverse organizations or researchers into a single nomination.

The BBVA Foundation will send an e-mail to the nominating body or person confirming the acceptance of the entry, and facilitating a reference 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 not provide itemized information on the entrants in each award edition or on the deliberations of the award juries. The BBVA Foundation will publish only the names of those persons or institutions that have nominated a winning candidate.

Candidate evaluation and selection process

The BBVA Foundation together with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) will appoint a technical evaluation committee for each category of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards. This technical committee will be formed by experts of proven distinction in the area concerned, and will evaluate candidates against the best available standards in each field, drawing up a reasoned short list of finalists for submission to the prize jury, accompanied by a full list of entries in the corresponding category and the score assigned to each. The jury may decide by simple majority to include as finalists one or more entries that were not among those shortlisted by the technical evaluation committee.

The jury may merge two or more entries when it considers that they have made a convergent contribution to the achievement of a given advance. In the case of an entry made up of several persons or organizations, they may opt to confine the award to one or some of its members.

The prize jury will be formed by eminent international experts in each area and will be appointed by the BBVA Foundation after conferring with the CSIC. The Council will also propose the chair of the jury in the form that it sees fit. The jury shall reach its decision by a simply majority. The jury shall have the right to declare the award void and its decision shall in no event be open to appeal.

The composition of the evaluation committee and prize jury in each category and the contents of the award certificate with the jury’s reasoned decision shall be information in the public domain.

Award decision and presentation ceremony

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards will be decided before February 28, 2016.

The awards will be presented at a formal ceremony, to be held in Madrid during the month of June, 2016.

All award winners must agree to attend this presentation ceremony. In the case of awards going to large teams, these will be represented at the ceremony by no more than three of their members.

If an award goes to a legal person other than a public agency or organization, it must furnish the following documents on being notified of the award decision:

  • A certificate from the tax authorities accrediting its charitable or non-profit status.
  • A copy of the organization’s entry in the corresponding registry or, where appropriate, a copy of its founding documents.
  • A copy of its bylaws.
  • A copy of its tax identification number or code.
  • A note from its governing bodies confirming their acceptance of the award.


The submission of entries under this call 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.