Student Research Paper Contest

PINNS’ Student Research Paper Contest

The Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship Studies (IPPCS) is pleased to announce its Program in National Security Studies (PINNS) Student Research Paper Contest. The contest is open to any FIU student who has an interest in national security studies, which is defined as enabling the survival and safety of the nation-state through the use of diplomacy and political, economic and military power.


Competition is open to any full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at Florida International University with an interest in furthering national security studies.


Winners will be invited to present their paper on a student panel at the Gordon Institute’s annual Colloquium on non-traditional security threats, which will be held March 1, 2013. Papers submitted by graduate and undergraduate students will be reviewed separately. Winning entries (graduate and undergraduate) also will be published through the Digital Commons website (http:/ Submission to contest constitutes permission to publish.

Research Topics

The competition is open to issues of national security broadly defined, especially papers on non-traditional security threats. The following questions are some topics of interests; submissions are not limited to these specific questions, however.

  • Which emerging technologies should the U.S. adopt to better protect its national security?
  • What will be the major national security challenges facing the U.S. in the next decade?
  • What strategies and/or tactics should the United States implement to improve protection of its borders?
  • How can surveillance technologies be deployed while still protecting individual privacy?
  • How can the United States better assess the contemporary threats that it faces to its national security?
  • Which state or non-state actors pose the greatest potential threats to U.S. national security?
  • What advantages does strategic analysis provide for military and law enforcement operations in protecting U.S. national security?
  • Which non-traditional threats pose the greatest challenge to the United States and how should the U.S. prepare for them? (Non-traditional threats include, but are not limited to, climate change, natural disasters, transnational crime, infectious disease pandemics, ethnic violence and refugee crises)

Submission Guidelines

Submissions must include a cover sheet with the author’s name, contact information, classification, essay title and major department. Do not include your name on the paper; they will be reviewed anonymously. Papers must be no longer than 20 pages, excluding endnotes and bibliography. All papers must be typed and double-spaced. Acceptable fonts are Times New Roman, Courier or Arial. Font size should be 12 points. Essays must be submitted in English using Word or PDF format. Essays must be original and not previously published.

Submission process and deadline

Papers should be emailed to no later than Jan. 15, 2013. Award notifications Winners will be notified no later than Feb. 15, 2013

Evaluation and judging papers

A panel of faculty and/or staff associated with the Gordon Institute will judge all entries and select winners. Papers will be evaluated on their relevance to national security, creativity, strength of argument, and writing quality. There will be separate winners for graduate and undergraduate papers.