BBVA Foundation’s 16th Frontiers of Knowledge Awards Celebrate the Power of Knowledge

BBVA Foundation’s 16th Frontiers of Knowledge Awards Celebrate the Power of Knowledge

(IN BRIEF) The 16th BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards ceremony, held in Bilbao, celebrated the importance of knowledge in addressing societal challenges, including climate change. BBVA Foundation President Carlos Torres Vila emphasized the need for attracting talent and capital to develop technologies for decarbonization. He called for coordinated efforts between governments and the private sector to support researchers. The event recognized 17 global leaders in scientific research and artistic creation, drawing over 1,000 attendees. Notably, 26 past awardees have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, highlighting the prestige of the awards.

(PRESS RELEASE) BILBAO, 22-Jun-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — At the 16th BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards ceremony, President Carlos Torres Vila emphasized the critical role of knowledge in addressing contemporary societal challenges, including climate change. Held at the Euskalduna Bilbao convention center, the event recognized 17 global leaders in scientific research and artistic creation.

In his address, Torres Vila highlighted the importance of attracting top talent and significant capital to develop new technologies essential for decarbonizing the planet. He stressed that both governments and the private sector have a crucial responsibility to create stability and incentives, facilitating the necessary investment for a sustainable future. Additionally, he called for coordinated support for researchers who push the boundaries of knowledge.

This year’s awards ceremony, co-chaired by Torres Vila and Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) President Eloísa del Pino, also featured speeches from Bilbao’s Mayor, Juan Mari Aburto, and Bizkaia’s General Deputy, Elizabete Etxanobe. Del Pino remarked on the complexity of the world as a subject of research and praised the diverse scientific disciplines represented in the awards for their contributions to a more empathetic and engaged science.

The event drew over 1,000 attendees, including esteemed researchers, artists, academics, and business and media executives. Among the awardees were pioneers in fields such as protein function, robotic surgery, autonomous vehicles, and facial recognition, as well as those making significant strides in understanding climate change and biodiversity.

The Frontiers of Knowledge Awards have a notable track record, with 26 laureates later receiving Nobel Prizes, underscoring the prestige and impact of these recognitions.

This year marked the fifth time the awards ceremony was held in Bilbao, reaffirming BBVA’s deep-rooted commitment to the region and its innovative spirit. BBVA Foundation continues to honor and support the extraordinary achievements of individuals who drive progress and innovation across various disciplines.

All the winners of the 16th Frontiers of Knowledge Awards

Among the awardees are the researchers who opened up new avenues for the treatment of multiple diseases through their discoveries on protein function, and the computer vision pioneer who brought us robotic surgery, autonomous cars and facial recognition. Recognition was also extended to key contributions in tackling the environmental crisis, like the discovery of the linkage between CO2 and global warming enclosed in the polar ice; the quantification of the scale of the sixth mass extinction of species; the grounding of the fields of environmental economics and the economics of biodiversity; and the definition of the motivating levers for action against climate change.

  • Basic Sciences: Claire Voisin and Yakov Eliashberg.
  • Biology and Biomedicine: F. Ulrich Hartl, Arthur Horwich, Kazutoshi Mori and Peter Walter.
  • Information and Communication Technologies: Takeo Kanade.
  • Ecology and Conservation Biology: Rodolfo Dirzo and Gerardo Ceballos
  • Climate Change: Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Jean Jouzel, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Jakob Schwander and Thomas Stocker.
  • Economics, Finance and Business Management: Partha Dasgupta.
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: Elke Weber.
  • Music and Opera: George Benjamin.

26 Frontiers laureates have gone on to win the Nobel Prize

An external indicator of the excellence of the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards is that 26 of the researchers recognised by the BBVA Foundation’s accolades went on to become Nobel laureates.

  • Eleven Frontiers winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics: Lars Peter Hansen (2013), Jean Tirole (2014), Angus Deaton (2015),  William Nordhaus (2018), Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (2019), Paul Milgrom y Robert Wilson (2020),  David Card (2021), Ben Bernanke (2022) and Claudia Goldin (2023).
  • Six Frontiers laureates subsequently received the Nobel Prize in Medicine from the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet:  Shinya Yamanaka (2011), James P. Allison (2018), David Julius y Ardem Patapoutian (2021) and Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman (2023).
  • Six Frontiers laureates subsequently received the Nobel Prize in Physics from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences: Didier Queloz and Michel G. E. Mayor (2019), Klaus Hasselman and Syukuru Manabe (2021), and Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier (2023).
  • Finally, in the case of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, three Frontiers laureates went on to receive the award from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences: Robert J. Lefkowitz in 2012, and  Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna in 2020.

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SOURCE: BBVA

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