The Council on Geostrategy was delighted to announce the launch of the First Sea Lord’s Essay Contest 2024. The winners will receive a cash prize and an in-person invitations to the First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference 2024 – hosted at Lancaster House on 14th to 15th May – and will have a prize presented by Adm. Sir Ben Key, the First Sea Lord, at the conference.

To be considered for the prizes, entrants must write a 1,250 word essay (+/- 10%) answering one of the following questions:

  1. How should the UK apportion its naval resources across the globe?
  2. What lessons are there from naval operations in the Black Sea and/or Red Sea since February 2022 for the Royal Navy?
  3. How will the proliferation of autonomous, uncrewed and minimally crewed systems change naval warfare by 2040?

Three winners will be selected and receive an award. The prizes include: Gold (£1,000), Silver (£750), and Bronze (£500). The winners will be presented their prizes at the First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference at Lancaster House in May 2024. Please note, we can not cover travel and accommodation costs for successful applicants.

Judging of entries

An independent judging panel of scholars and professionals will consider the submissions. Essays will be judged anonymously.

We are delighted to reveal the members of the independent judging panel:

  • Capt. Sarah Oakley, Former Commanding Officer of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth;
  • James Rogers, Co-Founder and Director of Research at the Council on Geostrategy;
  • Capt. Dr Kevin Rowlands, Head of the Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre.
  • Dr Emma Salisbury, Associate Fellow at the Council on Geostrategy;

General information

Eligibility: The competition was open to all – there were no entrance requirements.

Guidelines and rules:

  • Language: Please follow our Style Guide which can be found here;
  • Format: Each essay is to be submitted on A4 sized paper with single line spacing using Microsoft Word
  • Font: The following fonts are accepted: Merriweather, Arial, Georgia and Garamond;
  • Length: A strict word count of 1,250 words (+/- 10%) applies to all submissions (excluding footnotes);
  • Acknowledgements: Entrants must ensure that full acknowledgement to source material is provided;
  • References: Entrants must reference in accordance with our Style Guide which can be found here;
  • Plagiarism: Detection of any level of plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification from the competition. We do not accept work that has been published or submitted for publication elsewhere.
  • Style: Submissions which fail to meet style requirements risk disqualification. You can find the style guide here.

Deadline: The deadline for entries was 23:59 BST on Monday 15th April 2024.

Essay submission

The First Sea Lord’s Essay Competition 2024 has now closed for entries. We would like to thank all those who entered. The submissions will now be considered by the independent judging panel and all entrants will be notified of the outcome.

For any questions, please contact Patrick Triglavcanin, Research Officer

First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference 2024

The Council on Geostrategy is delighted to be organising and hosting the First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference 2024, together with a consortium of British universities, on Tuesday 14th May and Wednesday 15th May 2024 at Lancaster House.