Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize 2021

See the winners of this year's prizes.

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

This year, essays were submitted for either of two prize categories – one for those currently in full-time education, and the other open to all. The winner in each category will receive an award of £1,000.

The competition was open to entrants of any nationality, with entries welcomed from members of the armed forces, both in the UK and abroad, although not exclusively so.

Essays could cover any topic related to national or international defence and security and we were keen welcome submissions on as diverse a range of themes as possible, including but not limited to:

  • The re-emergence of economic warfare
  • Deglobalisation and food security
  • Migration in a global pandemic


Full-time education category

The winner in the full-time education category, receiving £1,000, is William Parker for his essay: ‘Winning Without Fighting in the Indo-Pacific: A Naval Diplomacy Matter’. William Parker is an MA student in Conflict, Security and Development at the University of Exeter.

Open to all category

The winner in the open to all category, also receiving £1,000, is Brigadier Mark Totten OBE for his essay: ‘Reframing Russia: A Case for Warming in the Arctic’. Brigadier Mark Totten is the Senior Responsible Owner for Commando Force Development, Navy Command, UK.

The prizes were presented by Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC, Chief of the Defence Staff, following his Annual Lecture on Tuesday 7 December 2021.


The judges this year were:

  • Lieutenant General Sir David Capewell KCB OBE, Distinguished Fellow, RUSI, and former Chief of Joint Operations, Ministry of Defence
  • Professor Beatrice Heuser, Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI, and Professor of International Relations (Politics), University of Glasgow
  • Air Vice Marshal Peter Dye OBE, former Director General, Royal Air Force Museum

Competition sponsor

  • Military Sciences‘ Martial Power Programme

    Military Sciences‘ Martial Power Programme

    This year the prizes were funded from the RUSI Military Sciences Martial Power Programme.

    Find out more


Simon Rankmore

Assistant Editor, Digital Publications


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