Minerva Research Initiative - University Research

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

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 and 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 Office of the Secretary of Defense.

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.


  • White Papers: 15 January 2024 at 1500 Eastern
  • Full Applications: 2 April 2024 at 1500 Eastern

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The Minerva Research Initiative competition is for research related to eight (8) topics listed below. Innovative white papers and applications 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 Appendix B: Minerva Research Topics of Interest.

  • Topic 1: Societal Cohesion in Crisis
  • Topic 2: Considering Societal Resilience at Multiple Scales
  • Topic 3: Sociotechnical Adaptation to Climate, Food, and Water Stress
  • Topic 4: Social Impact of Technological Change
  • Topic 5: Parasocial Relationships, Social Media, and Radicalization
  • Topic 6: Temporal Orientation and Strategic Considerations
  • Topic 7: Evolving Contexts of Deterrence
  • Topic 8: War Termination Processes and Prospects

NB: Each proposal should be submitted to only one topic area, even if there is overlap with another topic area.

Eligibility Requirements

All responsible sources from academia, including DoD institutions of higher education and foreign universities, may submit applications under this NFO.

Teams are encouraged and may submit proposals applications in any and all areas. Non-profit institutions and commercial entities may be included on a university-led team as subawardees only, receiving funding for their efforts accordingly. Federally Funded Research & Development Centers (FFRDCs), including Department of Energy National Laboratories, are not eligible to receive awards under this NFO. However, teaming arrangements between FFRDCs and eligible principal applicants are allowed provided they are permitted under the sponsoring agreement between the Government and the specific FFRDC.

Amount Description

The Federal Government (DoD) anticipates awarding 15 grants, with each valued up to $1,000,000.00 per year with a three to five year period of performance. The total amount awarded from this NFO is not expected to exceed $25,000,000.00. These funding amounts include both direct and indirect costs. Subject to the availability of funds, the total value of this effort may also be augmented by Congress or by other federal government agencies.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

April 2, 2024