Mr Salmond said the annual prize in honour of Professor Peter Higgs, who has since retired, is open to Scottish school students who excel in physics.
Mr Higgs came across the defining concept while walking in the Cairngorms in 1964 when he began to consider a particle that gave rise to life.
Later this week, Mr Salmond is expected to announce the appointment of 33 new health research fellows.
Their work, he says, will also involve ground-breaking medical research that has the potential to translate into market-ready innovations.
Picture: David Cheskin/PA