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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 2019 Minerva Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for University Research Grants is open, The deadline for receiving White Papers has passed with invitations to submit full proposals having been sent. Full Proposals were due on September 26, 2019. Application and schedule guidance can be found within the Research Priorities page. We hope to announce awards by mid-March.

The Defense Education and Civilian University Research (DECUR) Partnership 2019 FOA is open. The deadline for receiving White Papers has passed; Full Proposals were due November 19, 2019. We hope to announce awards by January 31.

The DECUR FOA follows different guidelines and deadlines than the Minerva University Grants FOA, though the Research Priorities are the same.

 

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

Robert Jervis's new article, "On the Current Confrontation with Iran"
By Robert Jervis | Jan. 13, 2020
Most obviously, humility is in order. Those of us of a certain age can remember when many thought that the 1972 mining of Hanoi and Haiphong would lead to something worse than the Cuban missile crisis. In the mid-1980s, few analysts thought the Cold War would soon end. Many journalists and not a few scholars claim deep knowledge of the Middle East and the ability to predict how everyone will react, but we should recognize that the layer of regional expertise in the United States is...
Minerva researchers' new article on "Exploring the Social-Ecological Factors that Mobilize Children into Violence"
By Emma Cardeli, Mia Bloom, Sarah Gillespie, Tanya Zayed, and B. Heidi Ellis | Dec. 20, 2019
This article applies the social-ecological model to children’s mobilization into two violent groups—Central American gangs and terrorist organizations. While these two groups clearly differ in important ways, there are contextual similarities that frame a child’s involvement in each. For example, both flourish in low-resource settings where governmental structures may have been weakened or disrupted. Does it follow, therefore, that similar processes are at play in relation to children engaging in violent groups?

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