About Minerva


The Minerva Research Initiative aims 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. The research program 

  • Leverage and focus the resources of the Nation's top universities
  • Seek to define and develop foundational knowledge about sources of present and future conflict with an eye toward better understanding of the political trajectories of key regions of the world
  • Improve the ability of DoD to develop cutting-edge social science research, foreign area and interdisciplinary studies, that is developed and vetted by the best scholars in these fields.


The Minerva Initiative brings together universities, research institutions, and individual scholars and supports interdisciplinary and cross-institutional projects addressing specific topic areas determined by the Secretary of Defense.

Leadership & Oversight

The Minerva Initiative has a unique relationship between Research and Policy within DOD. As such, leadership across the department collaborate to identify and support basic social science research issues in need of attention and then integrate those research insights into the policy making context. In doing this, the leadership team closely works with the program managers within the military Service branches.

Program Management

Minerva University Research Grants are executed by and receive technical oversight from program managers based at the three Military Service basic research organizations: the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the Army Research Office (ARO), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Program managers also lead evaluation panels for new Minerva Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA). In FY2019, Minerva moved from a tri-service program to a partnership between AFOSR and ONR. ARO will continue managing its existing Minerva awards, but is no longer supporting new awards.

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