The recipient should be an active researcher in computer science, excepting Microsoft research employees, who has been resident in Europe for at least 12 months prior to their nomination. The winner of the award receives a medal and a personal prize of £5,000. The winner is invited to deliver a public lecture on their research at the Society. 
The recipient is chosen by the Council of the Royal Society on the recommendation of the Milner Award Committee. The Committee is made up of Fellows of the Royal Society, Members of the Académie des sciences (France) and Members of Leopoldina (Germany). Nominations are valid for five years after which the candidate cannot be re-nominated until a year after the nomination has expired.