Professor Ilkka Hanski is the first European to receive the Spanish BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in ecology and conservation biology. Hanski received the award for his pioneering work in metapopulation biology.
Ilkka Hanski is also thus far the only European ecologist to receive two other esteemed prizes: the Balzan Prize for Ecological Sciences in 2000 and the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences in 2011. Hanski is the first ever ecologist and evolutionary biologist to receive all three awards.
The Frontiers of Knowledge Award was established in 2008 to recognise significant achievements in science and technology. Awards are given for eight categories: basic sciences, biomedicine, information and communication technologies, ecology and conservation biology, climate change, economics, finance and management as well as development cooperation and contemporary music. The award sum is €400,000.
All previous Frontiers of Knowledge laureates in ecology and conservation biology are from the United States: Thomas E. Lovejoy and William F. Laurance from the Smithsonian Institute, Peter B. Reich from the University of Minnesota, Edward O. Wilson from Harvard University, Daniel H. Janzen from the University of Pennsylvania, Jane Lubchenco from Oregon State University, Paul R. Ehrlich from Stanford University and David Tilman from the University of Minnesota.
In addition to the Frontiers of Knowledge Award, granted now for the eighth time, the BBVA Foundation uses other avenues to support individuals and groups working for a better future by promoting the spread of information, innovations and culture in society. For example, the foundation funds a number of different projects, gives grants to young researchers and organises workshops.