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 2021 Funding Opportunity Announcement for University Research Grants is LIVE! Important dates and topic descriptions can be found under Research Priorities and the complete submission guidelines can be found on grants.gov.

The Defense Education and Civilian University Research (DECUR) Partnership competition will open shortly. The DECUR FOA follows different guidelines and deadlines than the Minerva University Grants FOA, though the Research Priorities are the same.


Minerva Research Initiative Virtual Policy Meetings - Fall 2021 

The Minerva Research Initiative Virtual Policy meetings will include a series of six virtual workshops over three weeks in October 2021. The meetings will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays - October 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, and 28. For an overview of the schedule and topics, click here. To register, please click here.

 

 

 

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

The DoD Announced Awards of $20K each for the 2021-2022 Cohort of the Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Dissertation Fellows
By Toni DeVille | Nov. 12, 2021
The Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 cohort of the Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Dissertation Fellows. In partnership with the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellowship program, over 115 applicants from 88 U.S. universities applied for this prestigious award. Those chosen for the Peace and Security Scholar Fellowship show great potential to advance the peacebuilding and security fields and to positively influence policy and practice.
New publication "Transformation of alliances: Mapping Russia’s close relationships in the era of multivectorism"
By Ecaterina Locoman and Mihaela Papa | Nov. 9, 2021
Russia led a key Cold War alliance and is now at the forefront of debates about major power realignments. Yet Russia’s own conceptualization of alliances in the post-Soviet era has received scant attention. How do Russian policymakers and academics view Russia’s post-Cold War alliances: Are they obsolete, or are they still used for cultivating strategic relationships? We examine the Russian conceptualization of alliances through a systematic study of Russian policy documents and academic debates between 1991 and 2019.

Minerva Social Media