Research for Defense Education Faculty (R-DEF)

The Research for Defense Education Faculty (R-DEF) 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

The R-DEF awards range in size from $10,000 to $60,000 and can be used from May 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. Only teaching faculty at PME institutions and military service academies are eligible for the R-DEF awards.

Deadlines for 2017 R-DEF

R-DEF proposals were due April 12, 2017

Awards announced: May 31, 2017

Application Information

Complete applications include:

  1. a signed application form
  2. up to 4-page white paper proposal
  3. a completed line-item budget form
  4. a biographical sketch (2 page limit per researcher)

All application materials were due April 12, 2017. Late applications will not be accepted. Applications should be sent to with "R-DEF FY-17 [researcher name]" in the subject line.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Scientific merit and sound methodology;
  • Relevance to fundamental (basic research) social science and alignment with topics and goals of Minerva;
  • Itemized budget with reasonable expenses directly relevant to the proposed research.

R-DEF Goals

  • Incentivize new policy-relevant social science research within our PMEs. Reduced personnel and funding means a scarcity of focused time and funds to complete social science research; R-DEF efforts help address these challenges by:
    • Improving knowledge brought into the classroom
    • Promoting a more competitive intellectual spirit among PMEs
    • Increasing PMEs ability to inform and help contribute to civilian social science dialogue.
  • Decouple PME competition with civilian universities for Minerva research funds while maintaining inter-PME competition and the same selection scrutiny.
  • Encourage and facilitate better connections across PMEs for those experts with complementary intellectual and research interests.
  • Connect PMEs with DoD policy makers' questions and concerns, and provide a path for injecting PME research into policy discussions.


  • Military or government employees serving as U.S. PME teaching faculty can apply.
  • Research support awards ($10K - $60K) provides funds to complete extended research (e.g., summer or semester-long course buyout).
  • R-DEF funds may be used for research activities including: research travel, faculty-student research, conference presentations, etc.
  • R-DEF funds cannot be used for non-presenting conference or meeting participation or for speaker fees.
  • Research proposals must have a clear basic scientific contribution and white papers should follow the format as detailed in the application form.