Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize

The Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize, the Royal United Services Institute’s annual competition awarded for original writing on contemporary issues of national and international defence and security, is now open for 2015.

Dating back to 1874, the Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize reflects and reinforces the Institute’s status as a uniquely placed platform for free thinking debate on defence and security. Previous winners have discussed the challenge of integrating civilian and military efforts in stabilisation operations, an assessment of the methodology of modern insurgents and redefining warfare.

Awards are made on the basis of originality, logical argument, sound analysis, style, clarity and conciseness.

Submission deadline for 2015 Competition

Deadline for the 2015 Essay Prize is 27 November 2015.a. be sent preferably by email marked “Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize” to including in the message: full rank (where applicable); name; age (if wishing to be considered for a special prize for writers under 30); and address.

b. or be posted accompanied by a separate sealed envelope with name, age and address.

The competition is open to authors of any nationality and entries are particularly welcome from – but not exclusive to – members of the Armed Forces. One or more prizes within a total of £1,000 may be awarded.

The winner of the 2014 award was Ben Challis for his essay “Building the Bomb: Nuclear Proliferation in Authoritarian States.” At the time of the award Ben Challis was studying for a Master of Science degree in Defence, Development and Diplomacy at Durham University


The rules and requirements for the 2015 Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize are as follows:

  • Authors may be of any nationality, but must present their work in English. They need not be members of RUSI.
  • Work originating in academic organisations such as universities and military staff colleges is eligible.
  • Prizes will not generally be awarded to the same author in successive years.
  • Essays should not be more than 4,000 words in length excluding footnotes, but will not be penalised if they are briefer.
  • Essays must be type-written and double spaced. The author’s name should not be included on the essay. (The author’s name will not be made available to the judges until after the judging).

For further information please contact the Competition Manager, Michael Codner, Senior Research Fellow, RUSI, at