Oldřich Černý Ph.D. Scholarship in Economic and Financial Statecraft

The Prague Security Studies Institute covers the living expenses stipend for a full-time student of a doctoral programme in International Relations at the Charles University Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science Studies. The Scholarship is in the field of the “Economic and Financial (E&F) Statecraft” in the name of Oldřich Černý, the Co-Founder and former Executive Director of PSSI.


E&F Statecraft has become a major new threat domain globally, particularly with respect to China and Russia, and is replete with groundbreaking research topics (e.g., investment bans/capital markets sanctions, export controls etc.) and remains an underdeveloped security policy field. Accordingly, the selected Ph.D. candidate will have a wide spectrum of research and writing opportunities.

It is the objective of PSSI to assist Charles University in building a cadre of professional E&F analysts and policy-makers equipped to understand and counter this often subtle and sophisticated form of soft power projection by actual and prospective adversaries. The Institute also seeks to train Ph.D. students to identify, and, if necessary, leverage the rather glaring E&F vulnerabilities of those questionable state actors operating in this domain that the U.S. and its allies created and dominate.


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 Oldřich Černý scholar would be invited to participate in the present “Economic Warfare” course within the curriculum of Charles University’s Master’s Degree Program in International Security Studies (co-sponsored by PSSI). The candidate will also have the opportunity to work within the Institute's cutting-edge Economic & Financial Statecraft Program. He or she would be expected to assist the Institute in the preparation of E&F-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

Oldřich Černý

This Ph.D. scholarship is in the name of Oldřich Černý to reflect his exemplary and lasting contribution to achieving, and consolidating, the freedom of the Czech Republic from Soviet oppression, serving, at different times, as the National Security Advisor and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service under his close friend, then-President Václav Havel. Mr. Černý (known as Olda) began PSSI in February 2002 with his fellow Co-Founder, Roger W. Robinson Jr., former Senior Director of International Economic Affairs at the White House National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan and former Chairman of the Congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Olda Černý lived to celebrate PSSI’s tenth anniversary before passing away in March 2012. He was a visionary, selfless leader who was fervently committed to human rights and individual liberties. Olda strongly believed in the prosecution of intelligent, well-crafted security policies that could defeat the predations of the foes of freedom with minimum loss of life. We believe that advanced study of the E&F Threat Domain, which he understood well, fits this profile.