Minerva Research Initiative

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is interested in receiving proposals for the Minerva Research Initiative (http://minerva.defense.gov), a university-led defense social science program seeking fundamental understanding of the social and cultural forces shaping U.S. strategic interests globally. OSD is particularly interested in projects that align with and support the upcoming 2022 National Defense Strategy.

Minerva 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 seeks to:

  • Leverage and focus the resources of the Nation's top universities;
  • 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; and
  • 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.

Minerva 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.


  • White Papers: Oct. 14, 2022
  • Full Applications: Feb. 9, 2023

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The Minerva Research Initiative (Minerva) emphasizes questions 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 the Department and the social science community. Minerva brings together universities and other research institutions around the world and supports multidisciplinary and cross-institutional projects addressing specific interest areas determined by the Department of Defense. The Minerva program aims to promote research in specific areas of social science and to promote a candid and constructive relationship between DoD and the social science academic community.

The Minerva Research Initiative competition is for research related to six (6) topics listed below. Innovative white papers and proposals related to these research areas are highly encouraged. Detailed descriptions of the interest areas—which are intended to provide a frame of reference and are not meant to be restrictive—can be found in Section IX, “Minerva Topics.”

  • Topic 1: Socio-economic vulnerability to climate change
  • Topic 2: Deterrence in the Future Operating Environment
  • Topic 3: Russian Speakers in Online Spaces 
  • Topic 4: Power and Influence in the Era of Strategic Competition
  • Topic 5: The Arctic as a Polar Crossroads
  • Topic 6: Management and Information in the Defense Environment

Eligibility Requirements

All responsible sources from academia, including DoD institutions of higher education and foreign universities, may submit proposals under this FOA. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs) are encouraged to submit proposals and join others in submitting proposals. No portion of this FOA, however, will be set aside for HBCU and MI participation.

Number of PIs: A single PI must be designated on the application to serve as administrative and technical project lead. There is no restriction on the number of additional key research personnel who can be included on a single application, but each position should be justified by the scope and focus of the research.

Number of Applications: There is no limit to the number of applications that an individual PI may have submitted by their institution in response to this FOA.

Amount Description

This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NFO) intends to fund ten to twelve grant awards, with each grant valued up to $1,000,000 per year, with a three- to five-year period of performance. The total amount awarded from this NFO will not exceed $15,000,000. These funding amounts include both direct and indirect costs. Applicants are reminded that this request is subject to Federal funding appropriations and Departmental approval.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

February 9, 2023