The award comes from the Christopher Weston Bursary, which was originally set up to benefit students from the Fine Arts Valuation course at the Southampton Institute.
Mr Weston, founder chairman of SOFAA and former chairman of Phillips, put up £10,000 for bursaries in 2005, with a view to making two £1000 awards a year for five years.
SOFAA took over the bursary when the institute discontinued the course and have decided to run the competition as a one-off this year.
The judges are looking for an essay of no longer than 5000 words which demonstrates both originality and in-depth knowledge, written by someone with less than eight years of industry experience.
Entries are invited on a broad range of subjects and should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 16.
The SOFAA Committee will judge the entries on June 23 and the award will be made at the AGM on October 6.