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After a long budget-related delay, the Minerva Steering Committee is pleased to announce it has selected fourteen proposals for the cadre of 2013 awards. All awarded projects are expected to be funded for at least three years; seven of the fourteen are consortia eligible for an extension to five years. As usual, the selection process was extremely competitive. The Department solicited proposals in several topics of strategic importance and received a total of 280 white papers and 55 full proposals. The total funds awarded for this set of projects is expected to be over seven million dollars per year and as much as $23 million over three years. Based on the fourteen awards made, researchers from nearly 35 academic institutions, including seven non-U.S. universities and three groups from industry/non-profits, are expected to participate in the fourteen research efforts.
[See 2013 Minerva awardees]
Just as our military forces could not effectively operate without understanding the physical terrain and environment, detection of radical actors and regime disruptions is limited by our understanding of the cultural and political environments where those threats develop. The Minerva Research Initiative, initiated by former Secretary Gates in 2008 and now supported by Secretary Leon Panetta, seeks to build deeper understanding of the social, cultural, and political dynamics that shape regions of strategic interest around the world.
Deeper understanding of global populations and their variance as provided by Minerva-funded research will yield more effective strategic and operational policy decisions. Minerva scholars have already briefed valuable, warfighter-relevant insights to senior officials such as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, decision makers in the defense policy community, and on the ground to our combatant commands.
As the nascent program continues to grow, university-driven Minerva research will further enable critical social and cultural understanding to help decision makers effectively address today's known and tomorrow's unknown challenges.
For additional information regarding the Minerva Initiative, please send your inquiry to Minerva@osd.mil. Please include your name and institutional affiliation.