National research awards for excellent research results are awarded annually to Estonian researchers and research teams in three categories.
The National Research Awards Selection Board issues a call for nominations by the 21 November of the year preceding the award year. Candidates can be nominated by research councils of R&D institutions of universities and those registered by the Ministry of Education and Research as R&D institutions as well as by academicians of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.
The winners are announced by the Government of the Republic on a proposal from the Minister of Education and Research on a proposal from the Selection Board. The awards are presented and the laureates are acknowledged on the Independence Day of the Republic of Estonia, February 24th
- Two awards for outstanding lifetime achievements in research and development;
- Eight awards to highlight the best research work completed and published during the previous four years in specific fields of research:
- exact sciences
- chemistry and molecular biology
- technical sciences
- medical science
- geology and biology
- agricultural science
- social science
- the humanities;
- award for an outstanding scientific discovery – a scientific discovery that changed the paradigm of or world view in the relevant area of research or created a new field of research or led to the creation of an innovative product which has a significant socio-economic impact.