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Is there a good word for giving motivation to a topic and that can be used in the following manner:

Our research on the cultural history of industrial adhesives is [blank] by the entire lack of scientific literature on that topic.

or

The study of spontaneous wood combustion is [blank] by the traditional use of wooden furniture.

Note that I am looking for a word that can be used in passive in the above examples.

It seems that some people would use 'motivated' in the above examples, but to my understanding, this can only be used as in 'to motivate people'.

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    No, motivated isn't restricted to humans (hint: motivate, motor, and move share an etymology). A dictionary would have cleared up any fears you had, before asking, and a thesaurus will provide you alternatives words to motivate if you have any remaining. – Dan Bron Jan 27 '17 at 18:22
  • In fact, I did consult a dictionary. The examples were inconclusive. – shuhalo Jan 27 '17 at 18:40
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    Include that information in your question (use the edit) link. Tell us what dictionary you used, what you found in it, and why those findings were unsatisfactory or inconclusive. – Dan Bron Jan 27 '17 at 19:01
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    People are the ones being motivated! Research and Study are being motivated, both human activities. – Tom22 Jan 27 '17 at 19:12
  • You can't "Motivate technology to advance", but you can "Motivate researchers to advance technology". "The research on the technology is motivated by the engineers' love for knowledge' – Tom22 Jan 27 '17 at 19:17
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Try this:

Our research on the cultural history of industrial adhesives is driven by the entire lack of scientific literature on that topic.

From Merriam-Webster, this usage most fits the second definition of driven:

1 : having a compulsive or urgent quality

2 : propelled or motivated by something —used in combination <results-driven>

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You could use occasion here, though there is perhaps too much depersonalisation with this one: too much cause and too little prompt.

occasion verb [ T ] formal ​

to cause something:

Her refusal occasioned a lot of trouble.

[ + two objects ] The case occasioned the authorities a lot of worry / The authorities were occasioned a lot of worry by the case.

[CDO]

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prompted would fit your usage

Dictionary.com:

  1. to move or induce to action:
    What prompted you to say that?
  2. to occasion or incite; inspire:
    What prompted his resignation?

OxfordDictionaries.com:

1.1 (prompt someone to/to do something) Cause someone to take a course of action:
curiosity prompted him to look inside

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Consider stirred up.

Stir up definition: provide the needed stimulus for; instigate.

Example: Hopefully the creativity stirred up by the speakers will provide the impetus for the students to be innovative and productive.

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A common word for this is inspire.

Our research on the cultural history of industrial adhesives is inspired by the entire lack of scientific literature on that topic.

The study of spontaneous wood combustion is inspired by the traditional use of wooden furniture.

ODO:

inspire VERB

[WITH OBJECT]

1.3 Give rise to

‘For instance, seeing O'Toole and Burton spar in the pro-cleric film Beckett helped inspire my studies of medieval history.’

Synonyms: give rise to, lead to, result in, bring about, cause, be the cause of, prompt, produce, spawn, engender

M-W:

inspire
[inspired; inspiring]
transitive verb

5 a : bring about, occasion : the book was inspired by his travels in the Far East

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