Frontiers Research Foundation – Frontiers Planet Prize

Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO). Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity.

Program Summary

The Earth’s system is rapidly approaching, and in some cases, exceeding its planetary boundaries. There is a broad consensus amongst scientists that human activities are the main cause and that the time needed to protect and restore planetary health is slipping away.

The Frontiers Planet Prize will recognize, encourage, and reward exceptional scientists whose contributes to help navigate and secure humanity's future in the Anthropocene. It has the simple but significant ambition to directly address the planetary crisis, by mobilizing a maximum of scientists engaged in breakthrough research with the greatest potential to stabilize the planet’s ecosystem.

The prize aims to emulate the passion and pride of the Olympic Games by unleashing the competitive spirit of researchers – who are supported by their universities and nations – to get the world to sit up, listen, and act on the profound planetary environmental threats we face.

Sustainability experts have identified nine planetary boundaries from which runaway changes to the planet become irreversible. The Frontiers Planet Prize is built around those planetary boundaries.

With this prize the foundation hopes to:

  • Spark an international competition that accelerates scientific breakthroughs in planetary boundary science worldwide.
  • Catalyse funders, foundations and philanthropists to join forces with each other in and step up efforts in supporting planetary boundary science.
  • Amplify collaboration among scientists and institutions in planetary boundary science.
  • Accelerate the adoption of scientific breakthroughs in planetary boundary science by public and private stakeholders.

Research that explores interactions/relations between multiple planetary boundaries will be prioritized.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MT October 2, 2023

Sponsor Nomination Deadline: November 1, 2023

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Frontiers Planet Prize Application Form: Please access here and upload to the internal portal via link below.
  • Research Article: The lead scientist of the most promising research articles fulfilling the criteria of the prize should be the lead PI and upload the article. Only articles with acceptance date for publication falling between 1st November 2021 and 31st October 2023 are eligible.

To access the online application, visit:


The lead scientists of the most promising research articles fulfilling the criteria of the prize should be the lead PI.

All domains of science will be considered, as long as they contribute to a better understanding of the planetary boundaries and present scalable breakthroughs leading to solutions to safeguard the planet.

The prize will honor research – published in peer-reviewed journals over the past two calendar years prior to the launch of each competition – that has the greatest potential to help keep the earth system within these boundaries, while contributing to our understanding of each boundary. 

The focus of Frontiers Planet Prize is on scientific discovery – leading to technological innovations – that will accelerate the process of creating a sustainable future. If part of that acceleration requires novel insights from the social sciences, this can be part of the nomination.

Limited Submission Guidelines

CU Boulder may nominate three candidates.

Award Information

CHF (Swiss franc) 1 million prize

Review Criteria

The following criteria must be met for contributions to be considered for the Frontiers Planet Prize:

  • The research advances insights, approaches, and scalable solutions for humanity’s ability to navigate a world that develops within the safe operating space of the planetary boundaries.
  • The research has the potential for breakthrough applications that can reduce or reverse the planetary imbalances.
  • The research must explicitly (analytically) connect (explore implications) of several planetary boundaries at the Earth system scale.
  • Research that explores interactions/relations between multiple planetary boundaries will be prioritized.

Each submission will be assessed based on the:

  • Applicability of the research results
  • Scalability of the application
  • Number of planetary boundaries involved
  • Contribution to general understanding of Planetary boundaries
  • Scientific novelty
  • Research quality