The third edition of the BBVA Foundation Grants for Researchers and Cultural Creators has ended with grants awarded to 60 individuals for a total of 2,200,000 euros. The funds are destined to supporting projects in a variety of fields of knowledge; from cancer research to protecting the environment.
This event was attended by approximately 1,800 applicants, the winners of which were selected by 11 committees that evaluated each area included in the program. The 60 winning projects will each receive 40,000 euros, an amount similar to that awarded in last year’s edition to the 63 projects that received financing.
These grants, launched for the first time in 2014, help highly productive Spanish professionals who are at the midpoint of their careers (the average age is 40), where they have proven their innovative character. Although most of the selected professionals have ample international experience and are highly qualified, their employment situation is not stable. Thus, in the final selection the applicant’s curriculum is weighted at 70%, more than the project itself. “These individuals are at a fragile time in their careers; despite having demonstrated their capacity, they have not been able to consolidate their position because their options for employment and financing in the public sector have begun to run out. Thus, if they are not able to set down firm roots, they may be faced with the only realistic option of leaving the country. This can even apply to professionals with a stable position; this financial assistance may be the cornerstone on which to build a team or consolidate past achievements”, explains Carlos Duarte, Research Professor at the CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Research), who has chaired the evaluation committee for Biology and Environmental Sciences.
The winners will have between 6 and 18 months to develop their proposal. By distribution among Autonomous Regions, most of the selected individuals come from Madrid (16 projects) and Catalonia (12), with smaller representation from other regions, such as the Basque Country (3), Valencia (4) and Andalusia (5), as well as Galicia (2), Asturias (2) and Castilla Leon (3). As regards distribution by gender, most of the projects in Biomedicine were presented by women, while those dealing with Music and Opera were mostly presented by men.
The eleven areas covered by these BBVA Foundation grants are given the same importance and cover fields of study such as humanities, nature and life sciences, human health, social sciences and artistic and cultural creation. Given the wide range of possibilities, the projects that are finally selected vary greatly. Within their particular sectors, the researchers focus on essential subjects, such as high-incidence diseases, climate change, loss of biodiversity, energy sustainability, the world of the Internet, Big Data or classical music. All these projects are daring and of high social interest; along with the 119 winning projects in previous editions, they make up a network of excellence that will provide very significant contributions in their areas of knowledge and creation.