Winners of the Composition Contest
ethics, technology + the future of war + security



Discovery Park’s Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) invites essays/compositions on the topic of ethics, technology and the future of war and security for a Graduate Student Composition Contest in celebration of Purdue’s 150th anniversary Ideas Festival (IF). Submissions are due April 5, 2019; honorees to be awarded at a dinner following the Ethics, Technology and the Future of War and Security Symposium on May 14, 2019.

In the spirit of the symposium’s “What IF” question – What IF AI waged war?, PPRI will consider essays/compositions on a broad range of topics related to ethics, technology, and the future of war and security. For example, graduate students might submit work on such topics as the ethical implications of autonomous decision-making versus human decision-making in conflict; how technology can reduce violence and conflict; the societal impact of the militarization of space; the impact of government use of artificial intelligence on privacy and human rights; the impact of new biological technologies on soldiers; international law governing the use of technology in war; public opinion on technology and war; the representations of technology and war in literature and art; gender, technology, and war; culture, technology, and war; communication strategies of weapons manufacturers or anti-war activists; or how the impact of technology on war today compares with other time periods. These examples are meant to stimulate ideas, not to limit possible topics.


Essays may be submitted in one of the following formats:

  • Summary of original research (maximum of 5 pages, excluding references, double spaced, 12pt font, 1in margins)
  • Creative writing (maximum of 5 pages)
  • Artistic endeavor (must be accessible for review, submission accessibility to be considered individually)
  • Policy brief (3-5 pages inclusive of title page and references) or policy brief series (3-5 brief documents, maximum of 4 pages each inclusive of title page and references)
  • Video essay (no more than 7 minutes)
  • Brief documentary (no more than 15 minutes)
  • Other formats may also be eligible. Send alternate format inquiries to for consideration.

Submissions must follow the pertinent criteria for their specific format and will be evaluated based on their contribution to a greater understanding of ethics, technology and the future of war and security. A review committee will be finalized based on the essay forms submitted and their topics.


  • First prize - $1,000
  • Second prize - $500
  • Third prize - $250


January 21, 2019
Competition officially opens.

March 18, 2019
Deadline to contact PPRI to arrange an alternative submission format for works that cannot be uploaded on the submission website.

April 5, 2019
Submissions are due.

April 22, 2019
First, second, and third place submissions will be announced.

May 14, 2019
Recipients will be presented their awards at the dinner following the Ethics, Technology and the Future of War and Security Symposium.

Submission Process

Submissions must be received no later than 11:59 PM EST on April 5, 2019. Works that can be uploaded and submitted online may be submitted here. For other works, please contact PPRI at least one week prior to the submission deadline, no later than March 18, 2019, to coordinate submission.


Must be a graduate student at the time of essay submission. The winning students must be present at the award dinner (or designate a proxy to receive the award if selected). Work that has been previously published is not eligible for submission.