William P. Clark Ph.D. Scholarship in Space Security

In 9 June 2019, the Prague Security Studies Institute unveiled a new four-year Ph.D. scholarship in the field of Space Security that is awarded by PSSI. The Ph.D. scholarship is named after the Honorable William P. Clark, National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, who instituted the Strategic Defense Initiative on the President’s behalf.

You can watch the unveiling ceremonial below

Space infrastructure is essential for the proper functioning of European and U.S. societies, economies, and security architectures. Should access to, and use of, space be compromised, particularly by delibarate actions of other actors, the damage could be detrimental to our day-to-day lives. Accordingly, it is the objective of PSSI to assist Charles University in building a cadre of professional space security analysts and policy-makers equipped to understand and counter this often subtle and sophisticated form of soft power projection by actual and prospective adversaries.


PSSI will provide 576,000 CZK to cover the living expenses stipend over the period of four years (monthly installments of 12,000 CZK) for a full-time student of a doctoral programme. The Institute would work with the Ph.D. candidate on an ongoing basis to offer guidance and react to research questions and findings. The candidate will also have the opportunity to work within the Institute's cutting-edge Space Security Program. He or she would be expected to assist the Institute in the preparation of space security-related funding proposals, the research and writing of reports on breaking developments in the field and event planning and execution. 

Dissertation Topics

Examples of potential topics which could be incorporated into a dissertation research project include the following:

— Analyzing the projects and transactions of state-controlled enterprises (including those claiming to be private entities) in the legitimate international trading and financial systems to identify: 1) patterns of strategic behavior that are inconsistent with normal market practices; and 2) the underlying Western “targets” of such activity (i.e., non-transparent and security-related motivations).

— Demonstrating, via research and analysis, specific Chinese and Russian enterprises that conduct – often through their network of subsidiaries – strategic missions, unfair trade practices, security-related wrongdoing, and human rights abuses under the direction of their respective governments, while still enjoying unfettered access to the international trading and financial systems, including allied capital markets.

— Assessing those military-related SOEs of actual or prospective adversaries that are listed, or traded, on global securities exchanges (i.e., stocks and bonds) to help attract private funding for advanced weapons systems, surveillance technology, IP and technology theft and other malign activities to be later employed against allied interests and fundamental values.

— Analyzing how hostile governments and their enterprises go about fostering dependencies in targeted countries that can later be leveraged to bend the decision-making of host governments in a direction favorable to their strategic interests.

— Examining the current security-oriented screening mechanisms, foreign investment controls of various allied countries and investment bans in their capital markets related to legal transactions of questionable state-controlled enterprises and the present shortcomings of such mechanisms and policy measures.

— Assessing the recent history of Chinese and Russian foreign investment activities, particularly via the acquisition of sophisticated Western technology firms and strategic infrastructure assets, and those transactions that have been blocked by the host governments for national security reasons.

— Analyzing the extent to which Western private sector firms engage (if at all) in security-related due diligence prior to decisions to partner with, or invest in, controversial state-controlled entities in an effort to protect their corporate reputations/brands and share value.

— Evaluating the predatory trade and tender bidding practices of certain strategically-motivated SOEs, offering terms with which Western private sector firms cannot hope to compete (e.g., heavily subsidized financing, bribery, cyber hacking of competitors, threatening broader trade and investment relations, the provision of non-market “sweeteners,” silencing critics of specific SOEs through threats of costly legal action, etc.).

— Examining the alignment, or lack of alignment, of Western policy regimes aimed at mitigating hostile foreign state actor-based economic and financial threats, such as export controls, foreign investment screening, and foreign investment bans, and outlining appropriate reforms in these policy areas

— Evaluating the threat of emerging technology acquisition by hostile foreign state actors through industrial espionage and other means, and analyzing Western governmental efforts to mitigate or prevent such acquisitions