Recipients of the Science and Technology Policy Council's Motivation Award are scientists seen as having excelled early in their careers, and created expectations of contributions to science having the potential to strengthen the foundations of Icelandic society. The award was first presented in 1987—on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the University of Iceland's Research Institute. The purpose of the Motivation Award is to provide encouragement for young scientists and promote the added value of science and the work carried out by scientists to the general public. The award amount is ISK two million. Following an annual call for nominations, the award is presented at the Rannís spring Research Convention. Nominations for the Science and Technology Policy Council's Motivation Award
Scientists from all fields of science, technology and the humanities can be nominated. To be eligible, nominees should be active in Iceland, whether working at a higher education or research institution or in a private enterprise, or doing independent scientific work. Nominations may be submitted by anyone who is in a position to assess the work of an individual scientist or scholar. Each nomination shall be accompanied by the nominee's curriculum vitae.
The evaluation of nominations takes into account the educational background of the nominees; their independence, originality and scientific or scholarly achievements after graduation; their published works and patents and their participation in international cooperation, as well as other indicators of the potential impact of their work. A particularly important criterion is the nominees' participation in pioneering scientific or scholarly work. Other criteria include professional contributions in the workplace and the communication of knowledge to Icelandic society. The jury is composed of five previous award winners.
As a general rule, nominees over 40 years of age will not be considered for the award; however, due consideration will be given to situations where a scientist's career has been delayed because of child-rearing.