Research Priorities

2021 Minerva Topics of Interest

Below represents the Minerva topics of interest for the FY21 funding competition. In framing any Minerva proposal, it is important to articulate the basic science contribution of the research proposed. It is expected that all proposals will have sufficient area and subject-matter experience to appreciate the nuances of diverse local contexts—including the (ethical) challenges posed by different value systems— and proposers are strongly encouraged to review the 2019 Future Directions in Social Science report on the Emergence of Problem-based Interdisciplinarity as a reference for the program’s strong interest in supporting projects that are disciplinarily diverse and committed to addressing problems in innovative ways. It is also expected that proposals utilize both qualitative and quantitative approaches and include validation strategies of the research findings and potential impacts. Further, the program is interested in how the theoretical and methodical approach of the proposed research is generalizable such that it could influence how similar problem sets are approached.


Successful proposals will in some clear way align with the most recent National Defense Strategy. As well, there is strong interest in research proposals partnered with Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Intuitions (HBCU/MI) and other appropriately diverse teams, such as Professional Military Education Institutions, especially as they contribute different perspectives on the social dynamics of the challenges posed below.


Topic descriptions are also available here


Topic 1: Social Implications of Environmental Change

Topic 2: Resource Competition, Social Cohesion, and Strategic Climate Resilience

Topic 3: Security Risks in Ungoverned, Semi-Governed, and Differently-Governed Spaces

Topic 4: Analysis of Foreign Influence Operations in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Topic 5: Community Studies on Online and Offline Influence

Topic 6: Computational Social Science Research on Difficult-to-Access Environments

Topic 7: Social and Cultural Implications of Artificial Intelligence

Topic 8: Humans and Outer Space

Topic 9: Management and Information in the Defense Environment


Minerva Topics of Interest (full description)

2021 Minerva Topics of Interest (PDF)

Future Directions in Social Science

The Future Directions Workshop series, sponsored by the Basic Research Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, seeks to examine emerging research areas that—in the natural and formal sciences—are most likely to transform future technology capabilities and—in the social sciences—innovatively inform about how the social world works.

Click the icon below to read the report

Future Directions in Social Science



Important Dates:


  • Aug. 18, 2022 - Last day for White Paper questions to Topic POCs
  • Sept. 8, 2022- White Papers Due by 3:00 PM ET
  • Oct. 10, 2022 (tentative) - Notification of initial evaluations of White Papers
  • Nov. 8, 2022 - Last day for Full Proposal questions to Topic POCs
  • Nov. 22, 2022 - Full Proposals Due by 3:00 PM ET
  • Jan. 24, 2023 (tentative) - Notification of selection for award

Minerva FOA

  • More information coming soon!