Minerva Research Initiative for Social Science Research

The Minerva Research Initiative is a program of the Department of Defense (DoD) that supports 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 program focuses on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. It seeks to increase the Department’s intellectual capital in the social sciences and improve its ability to address future challenges and build bridges between DoD and the social science community. Minerva brings together universities, research institutions, and individual scholars and supports multidisciplinary and cross-institutional projects addressing specific topic areas determined by the Department of Defense.

White papers and full proposals are solicited which propose basic research in a wide range of topics. Past topics have included: 

General Interest Area: Sociality, Security, and Interconnectivity - focuses on the myriad of factors contributing to social stability and conflict, such as the influence and impact of environmental change on security and society.

Special Interest Area 1: Understanding the Social Impact of Autonomy - explores the relationship between autonomy and sociality, looking at how one impacts the other

Special Interest Area 2: Societal Resilience and Sociopolitical (In)stability - focuses on the relationship between events and stability, such as factors that affect resilience to "shock events" like environmental change.

Special Interest Area 3: Power and Deterrence for Shaping Operations - focuses on the relationship between power projection and deterrence strategies.

Special Interest Area 4: Military Cyber Defense - explores the increasing role cyber plays in understanding security.

Proposals have ben considered both for single-investigator awards as well as larger, multidisciplinary and multi-institution teams. This competition is open to institutions of higher education (universities), including DoD institutions of higher education and foreign universities. Non-profit institutions and commercial entities are also eligible to compete as collaborators on university-led proposals. 

White Papers (required) are typically due in the first quarter of the calendar year (January - March)

Full Proposals, if invited, are typically due in mid-year (e.g. May or June)

Check the Minerva website for information about upcoming deadlines. 

Learn more about this opportunity > >

The correlation between poverty and obesity can be traced to agricultural policies and subsidies.
— Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma