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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 2018 awards have been selected and those who submitted full proposals were notified. 

The research priority topics for the University Research Grants and the DECUR Partnership are currently being finalized and we are working to get the 2019 Funding Opportunity Announcement posted onto Grants.gov in the coming months. 

Events

Minerva Meeting and Program Review

The next Minerva Meeting and Program Review is being planned for Fall 2019. Details will be announced once the dates are finalized.

 

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 & 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. R-DEF awards offer existing PME teaching faculty the resources and time to conduct scholarly research 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

Owl in the Olive Tree post on "Language Patterns in International Relations"
By Leah Windsor | Feb. 25, 2019
Minerva-funded researcher Leah Windsor's Owl in the Olive Tree blog post on "Language Patterns in
Owl in the Olive Tree post on "Engaging Overseas: Lessons from Afghanistan and Beyond"
By Eli Berman and Jacob N. Shapiro | Jan. 17, 2019
Minerva-funded researchers Eli Berman and Jacob N. Shapiro Owl in the Olive Tree blog post on

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