The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards recognize and reward world-class research and artistic creation, prizing contributions of singular impact for their originality and significance.


The BBVA Foundation expresses the social responsibility engagement of the BBVA Group, along with its firm commitment to the advancement of the societies where it does business. The central planks of the Group’s culture and strategy are the promotion of knowledge, digital technology and innovation, and scrupulous respect for the ethical principles characterizing the plural society of the 21st century, which it views as key drivers of ongoing value creation for people and a source of new opportunities and choices for individuals and groups.

The BBVA Foundation promotes scientific research of excellence through grants for team research projects, the dissemination of outcomes to society through channels including workshops, lectures, publications and exhibitions, advanced training initiatives, research awards in partnership with scientific societies, and the annual grant schemes “Leonardo” and “MULTIVERSO,” funding the personal projects of researchers and cultural creators.

The Foundation also lends active support in other cultural areas, with a focus on video art, classical music, opera, the plastic arts and literary creation.

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, whose twelfth edition is now open, recognize and reward world-class research and artistic creation, prizing contributions of singular impact for their originality and significance. The name of the scheme is intended to denote not only research work that substantially enlarges the scope of our current knowledge – pushing forward the frontiers of the known world – but also the meeting and overlap of different disciplinary areas and the emergence of new fields.

The Frontiers of Knowledge Awards honor fundamental disciplinary or interdisciplinary advances across a broad expanse of the knowledge map of the 21st century. The areas addressed by this family of awards are:

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

The Frontiers Awards are informed by the following principles. Firstly, the need to uphold the importance of basic knowledge. However valuable the diverse forms of applied research prized by science policy in these past decades, basic knowledge remains the core mechanism of scientific change and, indirectly, of humanity’s progress and wellbeing, besides being an essential part of culture.

Secondly, an acknowledgement of the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge in the closing decades of the last century and the present day. Hence an organization of award categories that reflects the interaction and overlap of disciplines (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, Biology and Medicine, Economics, Finance and Management), while retaining the option to distinguish advances in one discipline alone.

Thirdly, the awards recognize the fact that many decisive contributions to our current stock of knowledge derive from the collaborative efforts of large groups of researchers. This is why accolades may be shared by any number of any size teams, with the sole condition that the achievement being recognized is the result of collaborative or parallel working.

Fourthly, two categories are given over to the natural environment, the foundation of life in all its expressions, with awards going to outstanding contributions in Ecology and Conservation Biology and Climate Change.

Fifthly, the disciplines underpinning today’s digital society are present in the awards through the category of Information and Communication Technologies.

In sixth place, the list is joined by a category distinguishing contributions of major significance in the realms of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Finally, the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards reserve a dedicated category for Music and Opera.

Nomination for the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards is open and indirect. The right to submit candidates extends to a wide spectrum of organizations and departments, including university schools, institutes and departments, research centers, hospitals and artistic and cultural institutions. Third-party nominations are also accepted from researchers and cultural creators that have made outstanding contributions in their fields.

The evaluation and decision process in respect of award nominations will take place over the two steps specified in point 7 of these call conditions. The BBVA Foundation is assisted at both these stages by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

CSIC is an autonomous Public Research Organization with a multisectoral, multidisciplinary scope. Endowed with its own legal personality and assets, it operates throughout Spain while maintaining a sizable international presence. The partnership between CSIC and the BBVA Foundation endorses the objectivity, independence and standards of excellence informing the selection process from end to end. It also rests no less on a shared conviction of the fundamental role played by advanced scientific research and artistic creation as forces for the ongoing advancement of society.


Artist Blanca Muñoz reflects on the Frontiers of Knowledge artwork

«I chose the spiral for its symbolism in numerous cultures as an image of life, and because it is the optimal solution for growth in a limited space»