Published: April 27, 2023

Javier Aizpurua Iriazabal (Picture by Paula Arbide)

The Euskadi Research Award 2022 has gone to Professor Javier Aizpurua Iriazabal, Research Professor at the Materials Physics Centre (UPV/EHU-CSIC), associate of the BERC Materials Physics Center and the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), leader of the Theory of Nanophotonics group.


The jury of the twenty-seventh edition of the Award, made up of five members of recognised prestige in the field of Science and Technology, has unanimously agreed to award the Euskadi Research Award 2022 to the physicist Javier Aizpurua Iriazabal, after meeting this morning in Bilbao.

As soon as the jury’s decision was announced, the Basque Minister of Education, Jokin Bildarratz, informed the winner by telephone. Professor Aizpurua said he was extremely happy and grateful and was looking forward to sharing this recognition not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level with his colleagues in the scientific field, family and friends.

The Euskadi Research Prize is awarded annually by the Department of Education. In even years, as is the case (2022), the prize is awarded in the area of Science and Technology, while in odd years it is dedicated to the recognition of the work of professionals in the area of Social Sciences and Humanities. The Euskadi Research Award aims to encourage scientific activity, and to stimulate, promote and value the efforts of qualified researchers and teams from the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country or from outside the Autonomous Community, whose work has had an outstanding positive influence on the Basque Country.

Javier Aizpurua Iriazabal

Javier Aizpurua Iriazabal (Donostia, 1971) is a Research Professor at the Materials Physics Centre (UPV/EHU-CSIC) and the BERC (Basque Excellence Research Centre) Materials Physics Center, where he heads the Nanophotonics Theory Group.
Aizpurua studies the interaction between light and matter at the nanoscale, with special emphasis on the optical response of metallic nanoantennas and quantum effects in plasmonics. Aizpurua has introduced novel theoretical models and calculations that have helped to understand the excitation of surface plasmons in various spectroscopy and microscopy techniques of interest in nanophotonics, such as optical extinction spectroscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), or scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), among others. The study of quantum effects on the optical response in all these situations has guided his scientific career, leading him to a leading role in quantum plasmonics research worldwide, with fundamental contributions to the field.

Professor Aizpurua holds a degree in Physics from the University of Zaragoza (1994) and a PhD in Physics from the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (1998). After research stays at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg (Sweden) and at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg (USA), he joined the DIPC in 2004, obtaining in 2008 a position as Senior Scientist at the Materials Physics Center (UPV/EHU-CSIC), where he is currently a Research Professor. He also maintains international scientific collaborations with research centres in Orsay, Cambridge, Stanford, Toulouse, Munich, Washington D.C., Houston, among others; in addition to being distinguished as Abbe Professor at the University of Jena (Germany) in 2014 and visiting professor at the University of Bordeaux (in 2022).

Javier Aizpurua with his research team at CFM “Theory of nanophotonics”.


Aizpurua’s research group dedicates its scientific activity to theoretical research on the interaction between light and matter at the nanoscale, commonly known as “Nanophotonics”. Aizpurua and his group have made seminal scientific contributions to the description of quantum effects in Nanophotonics over the last 15 years, establishing a School of theoretical Nanophotonics in the Basque Country, which have had a major international impact on research into localised light in dimensions of a few atoms, and have served as a reference for hundreds of research groups around the world. This impact has resulted in Aizpurua being recognised as a highly-cited researcher according to the Clarivate list from 2017 to 2020.
Professor Aizpurua has also been heavily involved in the advancement and management of science in the Basque Country, having been director of the Materials Physics Center (CFM), and of the BERC Materials Physics Center (MPC) in Donostia (2015-2019), participating in 2006 in the design of the scientific strategy and activities of the CIC nanoGUNE, or leading the cross-border cooperation laboratory project (LTC) in Photonics together with the University of Bordeaux, among others, as well as being a member of the board of trustees of Ikerbasque, the Basque Foundation for Science and Euskampus.

In addition to Professor Javier Aizpurua Iriazabal’s excellent scientific work, the jury highlighted his excellent research career and the creation and leadership of a prestigious research group that has become an international benchmark for its exceptional contributions in the field of quantum phenomena in Nanophotonics. The jury also wished to highlight his seminal work in such important fields as optical nanoantennas, quantum plasmonics and molecular optomechanics. His contributions are part of a worldwide trend to move from the classical to the quantum level, as evidenced, for example, by the development of quantum computing.