The following Minerva topics indicate domains of inquiry relevant to the Department of Defense. Interest areas are not mutually exclusive and proposers are not limited to the questions, scope, or regions listed. Researchers should aim to balance the specificity of their proposed research with the generalizability of the expected results. The Minerva Research Initiative is particularly interested in proposals that align with and support the National Defense strategy, which is available at:
Proposals that reflect basic research that engages the strategic priorities in this document may be reviewed more favorably. (See Section V of the FY 2018 Minerva Funding Opportunity Announcement for proposal evaluation criteria).
Proposals may leverage existing data or, with justification, collect new data. Preference may be given to studies by experts capable of analyzing source material in the original languages and to studies that exploit materials that have not been previously translated. The DOD also values geospatially-referenced data across multiple geographic scales gathered in the course of research. It is expected that collecting viable empirical data relevant to context and situation may require field research, which is looked upon favorably.
Researchers are encouraged to incorporate novel research methods. Well-theorized models linking micro and macro analyses and cross-method approaches, such as simultaneously using both inductive and deductive analytic strategies, and qualitative and quantitative methods are also of interest. Proposals should be fundamentally rooted in the existing social science research literature and have a clear basic science component that describes the future utility of the insights the research will generate for social science.
Disciplinary approaches of interest include, but are not limited to: anthropology, area studies, cognitive science, demography, economics, history, human geography, political science, psychology, sociology, and computational sciences. Interdisciplinary approaches are strongly encouraged, especially when mutually informing and/or cross-validating (methodological integration). Researchers need not focus exclusively on the contemporary period, but they must be able to explain the relevance of findings to contemporary DOD strategic priorities.
The 2018 Topics are situated within DOD strategic priorities that reflect the general, department-wide interests and those more specific to each Service. There is, of course, overlap and collaboration between the respective interest areas, but in framing their proposals researchers are encouraged to consider both the area of interest and the general context of needs it represents.
Topic 1: Sociopolitical (In)Stability, Resilience, and Recovery
Topic 2: Economic Interdependence and Security
Topic 3: Alliances and Burden Sharing
Topic 4: Fundamental Dynamics of Scientific Discovery
Topic 5: Adversarial Information Campaigns
Topic 6: Automated Cyber Vulnerability Analysis
Topic 7: Power, Deterrence, Influence, and Escalation Management for Shaping Operations
Topic 8: Security Risks in Ungoverned & Semi-Governed Spaces