Motivation Award

The Motivation Award for Young Researchers

  • Hvatningarverdlaun-mynd-a-sidu

The Icelandic Research Fund's Motivation Award
(former The Icelandic Science and Technology Policy Council's Motivation Award)  is awarded to a young scientist, who in early career is believed to have excelled, and creates expectations about scientific contribution, which has the potential to strengthen the foundations of Icelandic society. 

The award has been granted from 1987 - the first one being awarded on the occasion of the University of Iceland's Employment Department's 50 th anniversary. The objective of the Motivation Awards is to encourage young scientists in their careers and promote the added value of science and the work of scientists to the general public.

The Icelandic Research Fund annually calls for nominations for the award and the awarding ceremony held during Rannis Research Convention.

Nominations for the award

Nominations can come from all fields of science, technology and education. Scientists who work in Iceland at universities, research institutes, companies or who are self-employed can be nominated. Anyone who can evaluate the work of individual scientists may submit nominations. The CV of the scientists should be attached with the nomination.

In assessing nominations, the following is taken into consideration, the academic career of the scientist in question, independence, originality and achievements in scientific work after graduation are, writing, patents and international cooperation, as well as other indicators of the likely results of the person's work. Pioneering work in science is also considered as well as professional contributions in the workplace and the dissemination of knowledge to Icelandic society.

In general, the nominees should not over the age of 40, although delays that may occur in the scientist's career due to childcare are accounted for.

Selection Committee

Members of the Motivation award selection committee are five former recipients of the awards.


Recipients of the Motivation Award for Researchers:

2024: TBA (Spring 2024)

2023: TBA (Spring 2024)

2021: Erna Sif Arnardóttir, Lector at the Department of Engineering at Reykjavik University,

2020: Martin Ingi Sigurðsson, Professor in Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at the University of Iceland and chief physician in the same field at Landspitali - The National University Hospital in Iceland.

2019: Finnur Dellsén, Associate professor of philosophy, University of Iceland.

2018: Páll Melsted, Professor at Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Iceland.

2017: Dr. Anton Karl Ingason, Lecturer at Faculty of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Iceland.

2016: Dr. Margrét Helga Ögmundsdóttir, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland.

2015: Sesselja Ómarsdóttir, Professor at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Iceland.

2014: Ingibjörg Gunnarsdóttir, professor of nutrition, University of Iceland.

2013: Jón Gunnar Bernburg, professor of sociology, University of Iceland.

2012: Páll Jakobsson, professor of astrophysics, University of Iceland.

2011: Hördur G. Kristinsson, Director of Research, Biotechnology & Biomolecules at Matís.

2010: Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir, manager of the Centre of Public Health Sciences and a senior lecturer at the University of Iceland's Faculty of Medicine.

2009 Ármann Jakobsson, literary scholar, Faculty of Humanities, University of Iceland.

2008 Ari Kristinn Jónsson, computer scientist and dean of the University of Iceland's Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

2007:  Kristján Leósson, scientist at the Physics Division of the University of Iceland's Science Institution.

2006:  Agnar Helgason anthropologist at deCODE Genetics.

2005:  Freysteinn Sigmundsson, geophysicist at the Nordic Volcanological Centre at the University of Iceland's Institute of Earth Sciences.

2004:  Anna Birna Almarsdóttir, senior lecturer at the University of Iceland's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

2003:  Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir, scholar at the Árni Magnússon Institute.

2002:  Steinunn Thorlacius, project manager at Urður, Verðandi, Skuld.

2001:  Magnús Már Halldórsson professor at the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Iceland and Orri Vésteinsson, lecturer at the University of Iceland's Faculty of Archaeology.

2000:  Eiríkur Steingrímsson, research professor at the University of Iceland's Faculty of Medicine and Anna K. Daníelsdóttir, stem cell genetic scientist at the Marine Research Institute    

1999:  Valur Ingimundarson, senior lecturer of history at the University of Iceland and 
Hilmar B. Janusson, development manager at Össur hf.

1998:  Ingibjörg Harðardóttir, senior lecturer of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Iceland.

1997:  Kristján Kristjánsson, professor of philosophy at the University of Akureyri and Jón Atli Benediktsson, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Iceland.

1996:  Sveinbjörn Gizurarson, professor of pharmacology at the University of Iceland and CEO of Lyfjaþróun hf. and Ástráður Eysteinsson, professor of literature at the University of Iceland.

1994:  Reynir Arngrímsson, Medical Doctor.

1992:  Hörður Arnarson, CEO of Marel hf.

1990:  Áslaug Helgadóttir, Assistance Rector of Research at the Agricultural University of Iceland.

1988:  Gunnar Stefánsson, statistician at the Maritime Research Institute and senior lecturer of math at the University of Iceland.

1987:  Jakob K. Kristjánsson, CEO of Prokaria.








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