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Centre for Army Leadership

Leadership Essay Prize Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The deadline has now passed. Results will be announced in due course.

1.      Who can enter? We welcome submissions from anybody with an interest in leadership. Military or civilian, based in the UK or abroad.   

2.      Are there any exceptions?

The following people cannot apply:

  • Current and past members of the CAL core team
  • CAL Fellows
  • Permanent members of staff of the Faculty for the Study of Leadership, Security and Warfare (LSW RMAS)
  • Permanent staff of the National Army Museum
  • Winners and runners-up of the 2023 edition of the CAL-NAM Essay Prize

Please note that personnel and MoD civil servants working at RMAS but not directly employed by the CAL or LSW can apply.

3.      What are the age requirements? 

  • For the Senior Category, we welcome submissions from anybody above the age of 22. Authors should be 22 or older on the day of the deadline (22 March 2024). 
  • For the Junior Category, authors should be between the age of 16 and 21 on the day of the deadline (22 March 2024).  

4.      Can I write an essay based on a piece that I have already published elsewhere? No, the essay must be an original piece of work and must therefore be unpublished and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

5.      Is there an entry fee? No, there are no costs involved in participating in CAL-NAM Essay Prize competition. 

6.      Who are the judges? The judges are looking for innovative perspectives and fresh ideas. They look for authors who demonstrate that they think creatively by choosing interesting examples and by articulating clearly why it is worth knowing more about their chosen Unsung Leader.  

7.      What is an Unsung Army Leader?  

  • For the purpose of this competition, an Unsung Leader is anybody who is either part of the Army or operates in support of the Army and who has made an important contribution to Army leadership either by their own action and example or by their own writing and thinking. We would like authors to think creatively about what it means to be a leader and to consider all ranks and roles, including reservists, cadets, nurses, coaches, padres, and anybody who contributes to life in the Army. We welcome essays that explore the history of Unsung Leaders in connection to Britain’s armies, including the Indian Army and other land forces serving under the Crown. Authors are encouraged to look back through history and to consider any Unsung Leader since the British Civil Wars.

8.      How do I submit my essay? 

  • Please fill in the submission form here. At the bottom, you will be invited to send your essay to a dedicated email address.
  • The form will ask you to enter your personal details, your essay title, your abstract and then it will direct you to submit your essay via email to a dedicated email address.
  • It is essential that the essay contains only the title of your essay, not your name and no other identifying features.
  • Please submit one file only in Word format only. PDF files or essays in any other format will be rejected.

9.      Referencing:

a.            Do I need to use notes and add a final bibliography?  Not necessarily, it is entirely up to you but referring to sources and academic literature may strengthen your argument and your chances to win. However, if you write about somebody you know or about your own experience, a bibliography may not be necessary.  

b.            Footnotes or endnotes? If you decide to have notes, please use footnotes. 

c.            Do footnotes and bibliography count towards the word limit? No, they do not. 

d.            Does the title count towards the word limit? No, it does not. 

e.            Are in-text citations counted towards the word limit?​ Yes, they do. 

f.              What referencing style should I use in my footnotes and bibliography? You are free to use any style you like as long as it is consistent throughout your essay. However, you must include enough information to allow the judges to be able to find and to retrieve the material you use. 

​10.   How strict is the word limit? Essays submitted to the Senior Category must not exceed 3,000 words.  The word limit excludes, the title, the notes and the bibliography.  Essays that exceed the word limit will not be accepted. In the Junior Category, essays must be no longer than 2,000 words.  The word limit excludes, the title, the notes and the bibliography.  Essays that exceed the word limit will not be accepted. 

11.   Where do I put my abstract and biographical note? The submission form will ask you to enter your abstract and bio note. The abstract should not be longer that 150 words. Your bio note should include your full name, title/rank/grade (if applicable), and basic information about the author/s.  

12.    I have missed my deadline of a few days. Can I still enter the competition? Unfortunately, no, we are unable to accept any late entry.

13.   Who sits on the Board? The Board consists of five members. They are members of staff of the Centre for Army Leadership and the National Army Museum. A university student is also a full member of the Board. They are all civilians.  

14.   How does the Board decide who will win? It is a fair and transparent process. The Secretary of the Board will remove all identifying information from the essay before circulating them among the Board members. Each Board member will score each essay against established criteria that cover content, style, structure, accuracy, and relevance. The Board will then meet and discuss their views and come to an agreement. The Board will make the final decision by consensus.

15.   May I appeal if I am not happy about the competition results? We do not have an appeal process and the Board’s decision is final.  

16.   How do you prevent plagiarism and the use of AI tool? The Secretary of the Board will run the essays through TurnItIn to prevent blatant plagiarism. If there is any suspicion that the whole or part of the essay is plagiarised or that AI tools have been used, the essay will be disqualified. No appeal procedure will apply.

17.   May I submit more than one essay? No, authors can submit only one essay. 

18.   Do you accept essays written by more than one author? Yes, we welcome contributions by co-authors. There is no upper limit to the number of authors provided that the Board receives confirmation that all authors contributed to the final version of the essay in equal measure. If authors submit an essay as part of a team, they are not allowed to submit a second essay as a single author. 

19.   When and where will the Award Ceremony take place? The Award Ceremony will take place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on Thursday, 13 June 2024. Timings will be confirmed closer to the date. 

20.   Will you pay for the winner’s travel expenses to the ceremony venue? Unfortunately, we are unable to cover travel expenses and the winners and their guests will have to make their own arrangements

21.   Do I have to attend the award ceremony to win the Prize?​ No. The Board will contact the winners in advance and discuss whether they can take part in the ceremony in person. If the authors are not able to attend in person, a video link can be arranged, or the Prize can be awarded in absentia.  We will post the certificate to the winner’s preferred address.

22.   If my essays wins, will it be published?  Authors of the winning essays may be offered the possibility of publishing their piece in the NAM Muster magazine, a CAL Research Paper or a CAL Leadership Insight. The Board reserves the right to decide what publication options to offer to the authors of the winning essays. 

23.   If my essays wins and I am offered the chance of publishing it, will I be allowed to amend it? While the text must remain as close as possible to the original version, there will be a chance for further editing and minor amendments.  

24.   Will you offer feedback to all authors? Unfortunately, given the high volume of submissions, we are unable to offer feedback of any sort.

25.   Do you have any advice? The Board will reward authors that can demonstrate a creative approach to the theme and bring to the reader’s attention genuinely interesting examples of lesser known or unknown leaders from history or the present who are examples of outstanding leadership either through their actions or writings.  As mentioned above, for the purpose of this competition, an Unsung Leader is anybody who is either part of the Army or operates in support of the Army and how has made an important contribution to Army leadership either by their own action and example or by their own writing and thinking.

Authors should consider all ranks and roles, including reservists, cadets, nurses, coaches, padres, and anybody who contributes to life in the Army. We welcome essays that explore the history of Unsung Army Leaders in connection to Britain’s armies, including the Indian Army and other land forces serving under the Crown. Authors are encouraged to look back through history and to consider any Unsung Leader since the British Civil Wars.