Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize 2020

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. 


First prize

The winner of the 2020 Trench Gascoigne Prize Essay Competition, receiving £800, is Dr William James for his essay: 'Between a pandemic and a hard Brexit: Grand strategic thinking in an age of nationalism, great power competition and human insecurity'. Dr William James is Transatlantic Defence Research Fellow at the Changing Character of War Centre, Pembroke College, University of Oxford.

Second prize

The second prize of £700 is awarded to Jacopo Grande for his essay, 'Sanctuary of meaning: Culture and technology in strategy'. Jacopo Grande is currently interning for companies in the private intelligence industry. He holds a MSc in Global Security from the University of Glasgow.

Third prize

The third prize of £300 is awarded to Dr Christian Braun for his essay, 'Francis and the bomb: On the immorality of nuclear deterrence'. Dr Christian Braun is Senior Lecturer in Defence and International Affairs, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He holds a PhD from the University of Durham.

Under 30s prize

The under 30s prize of £200 is awarded to Samuel Zilincik for his essay, 'Why the "fear, honour and interest" trinity harms our understanding of war '. Samuel Zilincik is studying for a PhD in Security and Strategic Studies at Masaryk University and the University of Leiden. He also lectures at the University of Defence in the Czech Republic.


The prizes were presented by General Sir Nicholas Carter KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen, Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom, following his Annual Lecture at RUSI on Thursday 17 December 2020.


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

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


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