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 CLOSED! 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.

 

 

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

Minerva-funded Researchers Release Report on Escalation Management in Gray Zone Conflict and Crisis
By Jonathan Wilkenfeld | Jan. 19, 2022
A team of Minerva-funded researchers, led by Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Egle Murauskaite and Devin Ellis from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism released a report on a three-year Minerva Research Initiative study of escalation management in gray zone conflict and crisis.
Parents at Risk: Minerva-funded researchers reveal hidden social media machinery that has allowed misinformation to thrive among mainstream users such as parents
By Neil Johnson | Jan. 11, 2022
In the recent study, “How Social Media Machinery Pulled Mainstream Parenting Communities Closer to Extremes and their Misinformation during COVID-19”, Minerva-funded researchers show how mainstream parenting communities on Facebook have been subject to a powerful, two-pronged misinformation machinery during the pandemic, that has pulled them closer to extreme communities and their misinformation.

Minerva Social Media