Minerva Research Initiative
The Minerva Research Initiative supports social science research aimed at improving our basic understanding of security, broadly defined. All supported projects are university-based and unclassified, with the intention that all work be shared widely to support thriving stable and safe communities. The goal is to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.

Program & History
Launched by the Secretary of Defense in 2008, the Minerva Research Initiative is a DoD-sponsored, university-based social science research initiative that focuses on areas of strategic importance to the U.S. national security policy.

Administration
The Minerva Research Initiative has a unique relationship between Research and Policy within the DoD, being jointly administered by the Office of Basic Research and the Office of Policy at the US Department of Defense. As such, leadership across the department collaborate to identify and support basic social science research issues in need of attention and to integrate those research insights into the policy-making environment. In doing this, the leadership team closely works with the program managers within the Military Service Branches. 

Grants and Fellowships

The Defense Education and Civilian University Research (DECUR) Partnership competition is NOW CLOSED. For more information, click here. 

The Bilateral Academic Research Initiative (BARI) Social Science Program competition is NOW CLOSED. For more information, click here. 

Minerva's FY23 University Research Funding Opportunity is NOW OPEN! Full proposals are due on April 2, 2024 (revised due date anticipated). For more information, click here

2024 Minerva Meeting and Program Review

SAVE THE DATE for the 2024 Minerva Meeting & Program Review. At this annual event, Minerva grant awardees share research findings with defense policy makers, military operations personnel, and other academics interested in national security. 

Pending conference approval, the 2024 Minerva Meeting will be held at the in Arlington, VA from April 16-17. 

More information including registration is forthcoming!
 

 

Learn about our Programs

  • The Minerva Research Initiative primarily funds social science basic research by university-led research teams. Research teams range from single investigators to large multi-university consortia, and all awarded projects are expected to be funded for at least three years (and in some cases--pending availability of funding--eligible for an extension up to five years).

  • The Defense Education Institution and Civilian University Research (DECUR) Partnership mission is to increase DoD social science expertise by investing in the defense experts who teach our future military and national security leaders at professional military education (PME) institutions and military service academies. DECUR awards offer existing PME teaching faculty the resources and time to conduct scholarly research in collaboration with civilian university faculty on Minerva topics of interest

  • Security is an implicit aspect of peace. Recognizing an overlap of topical interests, Minerva has joined the United States Institute of Peace to offer non-residential fellowships to doctoral candidates enrolled in U.S. universities conducting research for or writing up their doctoral dissertations, and an early career scholar award for alumnae/alumni on topics related to peace, conflict, security, and stability. These awards compliment the success of USIP’s Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace to expand support for advanced graduate students and create opportunities for ongoing support and engagement.



The Owl in the Olive Tree is Minerva's blog, aimed at sharing social scientific contributions that advance our understanding of the social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental dynamics of security. Each post highlights a key insight from a Minerva-funded researcher's published work.

Minerva News

Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Drives Local Actors to Engage in Piracy
By | Feb. 6, 2024
Minerva-funded researchers identify that when constraints are placed on illegal fishing at the local level, there is an increase in the likelihood of piracy attacks.
Northern Arizona University Highlights DECUR Project "AI Design Across Cultures"
By Toni DeVille | Feb. 1, 2024
The DECUR partnership between Northern Arizona University and the National Defense University seeks to examine cultural variation in the core components of AI.