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Awards 01 Mar 2019

Bilbao to host the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards

The BBVA Foundation will present its most prestigious awards in Bilbao on June 18th.  The eight category winners will be honored at the 11th Frontiers of Knowledge Awards ceremony, which will be hosted at the Euskalduna Palace. “Linking the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards to Bilbao, the city and its institutions become the hosts of an event that celebrates knowledge with world leading figures in different fields of science, technology and the arts,” said BBVA Foundation President Carlos Torres Vila.

Taking over Madrid, the city that hosted the ten first editions of the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards ceremony, Bilbao will now welcome the brightest minds in some of the key fields of knowledge of the 21st century. The ceremony honoring the winners of these international awards – which recognize excellence in research and cultural creation - will be held at the Euskalduna Palace. The day before, the awardees will be invited to attend a tribute concert performed by the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra at the same venue.

With its decision to link one of its most relevant programs to the Basque Country, the BBVA Foundation seeks to emphasize the social dimension of its Frontiers of Knowledge Awards. "Bilbao represents BBVA’s living roots, and both the bank and the city share a vocation for openness and global projection that is built on a thriving culture of knowledge, art and innovation.  Linking the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards to Bilbao, the city and its institutions become the hosts of an event that celebrates knowledge with world leading figures in different fields of science, technology and the arts”, said Carlos Torres Vila.

For BBVA Foundation’s chairman, "the ideals that inspire these awards resonate with some of the defining traits of Basque society, the society that spawned the foundations and shaped the identity of the BBVA Group.  We wish to link the Frontiers Awards to Bilbao, symbolizing this city as a space of knowledge".

For decades now, the BBVA Foundation and the BBVA Group as a whole have been an integral part of, and interacted with the knowledge and cultural ecosystem of the Basque Country at large, Bilbao’s in particular.  Indeed, the Foundation collaborates on a recurring basis with several Basque institutions, including the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, the University of the Basque Country, Deusto University, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, the Bilbao Association of Friends of the Opera (ABAO/OLBE) and the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra. Therefore, Bilbao offers a natural ecosystem for both hosting and building the notoriety of the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards.

Ten years expanding the frontiers of knowledge

In their first decade of existence, the BBVA Foundation’s Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, endowed with €400,000 in each one of its eight categories, have earned a reputation as one of the world’s most relevant international awards in their field.  Their main purpose is to recognize pivotal scientific and cultural contributions to the individual and collective well-being across the globe, both through cutting-edge research and through cross-disciplinary and overlapping efforts.

An external indicator of Frontiers of Knowledge nominee’s excellence is that seven awardees have gone on to become Nobel Prize winners:  Shinya Yamanaka (2012) and James P. Allison (2018) in Medicine, Robert J. Lefkowitz (2012) in Chemistry and Lars Peter Hansen (2013), Jean Tirole (2014), Angus Deaton (2015) and William Nordhaus (2018) in economy.

The international juries that choose the winners are made up of renowned experts in their respective fields and deliberate with total independence, applying the excellence specific indicators and metrics in each area.  Also, the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) collaborates with the BBVA Foundation in the preliminary assessment of nominees and in determining jury composition.  As of the next edition, the University of the Basque Country and other Basque artistic and research centers will start contributing to these tasks.

Although several of the categories are still in deliberation stage, the following awardees have already been announced for this year’s edition: Anny Cazenave, John Church and Jonathan Gregory in the category of climate change; Jeffrey Gordon in Biomedicine; Gretchen Daily and Georgina Mace in Ecology and Biology Conservation; and Ivan Sutherland in Information and Communications Technologies. In the coming weeks will be announced the winners in the remaining four categories:  Basic Sciences (March 5), Economy (March 26), Music and Opera (April 9) and Humanities and Social Sciences (April 16).