Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize 2023

The Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize, the Royal United Services Institute’s annual competition for original writing on contemporary issues of national and international defence and security, is now open to entries for 2023.

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 may be submitted by candidates in either of two categories:

  • Students currently in full-time education
  • Individuals in the first 15 years of their military career

The winner in each category will receive an award of £1,000. Please note that candidates must qualify for one of the above categories in order to enter the competition.

The competition is open to entrants of any nationality. Essays may cover any topic related to national or international defence and security; entries addressing military problems and challenges are particularly welcomed.

View winners of the prize from previous years

Entries should be sent by email marked ‘Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize’ to, including in the message: full rank (where applicable); name; address; and which prize category the essay is being entered for.

The deadline for entries for the 2023 Essay Prize is Tuesday, 31 October 2023, at 23:59 GMT.

Rules of submission

  • Entrants must qualify for one of the two categories listed above.
  • Entrants 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 they have adjudicated.)

For further information, please email


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