Dr. Arnardóttir recipient of the annual Research Incentive Award


The Science and Technology Policy Council's Incentive Award 2021 was presented at the Rannís Research Forum today. 

Dr. Erna Sif Arnardóttir, from RU's Departments of Engineering and Computer Science and Dr. Martin Ingi Sigurðsson, professor of anesthesia and intensive care medicine at the University of Iceland, and physician in the same field at Landspítali, received the award this time. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister and Chairman of the Science and Technology Policy Council, presented the award to Erna and Martin. 

The recipients with the minster for education and Iceland's prime minister at the award ceremony. 


Erna Sif Arnardóttir was born in 1981. She graduated with a B.S. degree in molecular biology from the University of Iceland in 2005, a master's degree in biomedical sciences in 2007. She defended her doctoral thesis in biomedical sciences from the University of Iceland in 2013. The thesis was completed in part at the University of Pennsylvania.

Leading a revolution

Erna Sif has been a leading scientist in the field of sleep research in Iceland, e.g. as a Pot-doc and adjunct at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland, as a chief biologist at the Department of Sleep at Landspítali University Hospital, as a clinical consultant at Nox Medical and as a research specialist at the Department of Engineering at Reykjavík University. In 2020, she established an interdisciplinary Sleep Research Center at Reykjavík University.


She leads the research and development project Sleep Revolution which received a €15-million grant from the EU‘s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Health, demographic change and wellbeing. This was  one of the highest grants given to scientific research in Iceland. Erna Sif has previously received numerous awards for her work in the field of sleep research. She was awarded as the young researcher of the year at Landspítali in 2009 and received an incentive grant from the Landspítali Science Fund in 2011, as well as recognition for her contribution internationally, where she has repeatedly spoken about her research at conferences.

Doctor and professor

Martin Ingi Sigurðsson was born in 1982. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in medicine from the University of Iceland in 2009 but in addition to his medical studies he studied for a doctorate in genetics at the University of Iceland which he completed with a doctoral dissertation in 2011. He subsequently completed a subspecialty in intensive care and cardiac and pulmonary anesthesia at Duke University in North Carolina. He took on the position of professor at the University of Iceland in 2019 along with the position of chief physician at Landspítali's anesthesia and intensive care unit. Martin Ingi has been very active in research in Iceland and internationally for the past 15 years. In 2011 he was young researcher of the year at Landspítali, ans has furthermore received a number of awards, e.g. for his contribution to international scientific conferences.

About the Incentive Award

The Science and Technology Policy Council's Incentive Award is given to scientists who, early in their careers, are considered to have excelled and created expectations for a contribution to scientific work that strengthens the foundations of human life in Iceland. The prize has been awarded since 1987, the aim of which is to encourage researchers to do well and to draw the public's attention to the value of research and the work of scientists.