Ledger's ex-fiancee Michelle Williams and friends had established the scholarship, which amounted to 7,000 pounds, after his death in 2008.
It was handed over to Ackland at a party for Australian Oscar nominees at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont Hotel on February 20, after he was hand picked out of 150 applicants by Ledger's pals and colleagues, including actress Rachel Griffiths.
The award was presented by filmmaker Greg Jordan, who directed Ledger in Two Hands.
"Rachel Griffiths said 'How do we judge this? Are we looking for the next Heath Ledger?'" the Daily Star quoted him as saying.
"We all said 'No. There is no next Heath Ledger, but there's plenty of other people'," he added.
For Ackland, 29, the prize held a special meaning, as Ledger has always been one of his role models.
"The fact that it is in his name means the world. I admired Heath and I admired the work that he chose, the path he created for himself. It shows a lot of integrity on his behalf," he said.
Australian stars Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Hugh Jackman contributed to the bursary, which included flights to Los Angeles and introductions to agents and casting directors. (ANI)