Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft
Frist: 01.12.2020

CfG – John McCain Dissertation Award

Munich Security Conference 2021

John McCain Dissertation Award

Call for Nominations


The Award

The John McCain Dissertation Award is awarded annually to up to two outstanding doctoral dissertations for exceptional academic contributions in the field of political science, history or policy analysis with an emphasis on transatlantic relations — including its security, technological, political, trade and financial, social and cultural dimensions. The award has several components, including participation in Munich Security Conference (MSC) events and a first prize grant of 10,000 Euros.



Over the course of the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference has developed into the world’s leading forum for the debate of international security policy in the broadest sense. Each February, it brings together more than 600 senior decision-makers and thought-leaders from around the world to engage in an intensive debate on current and future challenges.

Senator John McCain was part of the MSC family for more than four decades. After first attending the conference as a young Navy officer he eventually came to lead the United States Congressional Delegation in his role as senator. As such he played a key role in establishing the conference as an important forum for the transatlantic community. In times when the transatlantic bond can no longer be taken for granted, we are keen to honour the lifetime achievements of Senator John McCain by establishing the annual McCain Lecture and by awarding an annual John McCain Dissertation Award for academic excellence. Together with our partners, the Hochschule für Politik München/TUM School of Governance, the Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science at LMU Munich, the University of the Federal Armed Forces, and the McCain Institute, we strive to establish the McCain Award as the most respected prize of its kind.



Excellent doctoral dissertations written in English or German on any aspect of transatlantic relations are eligible for consideration for the McCain Award. Dissertations must have been successfully defended between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020 in order to be eligible for the 2021 award.

In keeping with Senator McCain’s legacy, preference will be given to dissertations with a primary focus on an essential and important element of transatlantic relations, clear policy implications, and an innovative, rich and rigorous research design. Previous winners were:

  • 2020: Balazs Martonffy, Assistant Professor, National University of Public Service, Budapest (first prize); Oscar Jonsson, Director, Stockholm Free World Forum, Stockholm (second prize)
  • 2019: Abigail Post, Assistant Professor of International Relations and National Security at Anderson University in Indiana (first prize); Ulrike Franke, Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (second prize).


Nominations & Selection Process

Nominations need to include a support letter by a supervisor or member of the thesis committee, a pdf copy of the full dissertation, an executive summary of no more than two pages and a brief academic CV. Self-nominations are not possible. Entries are to be mailed to mccainawardsecurityconferencede no later than December 1,2020.

The selection process will be led by an expert jury which includes Eugénia da Conceicão-Heldt (Hochschule für Politik München/TUM School of Governance), Carlo Masala (University of the Federal Armed Forces), Berthold Rittberger (Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, LMU Munich), Trine Flockhart (University of Southern Denmark), Stephanie Hofmann (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies), Andrew Moravcsik (Princeton University) and Mark Green (McCain Institute).

The winner(s) will be notified by the end of January 2021. The prize giving ceremony will take place in Munich on February 19, 2021 in the presence of Cindy McCain, the US Congressional Delegation, members of the jury, and selected high-ranking MSC participants.

For additional information on the John McCain Dissertation Award please visit: