Minerva uses a two-stage proposal process. A white paper is roughly an abbreviated version of a full proposal. In four pages or less the white paper should provide sufficient information on the research being proposed (e.g., hypothesis, theories, concepts, methods, approaches, data collection, measurement and analyses) to allow for an assessment by a subject matter expert. Roughly three weeks later, topic chiefs will respond to white paper submissions. Responses are of two types: invitation for submission of a full proposal for those white papers deemed most competitive in terms of scientific merit and program fit, and notifications to those white papers not in this category. Due to the volume of white papers received, unfortunately it is unlikely that topic chiefs can provide detailed feedback to those white papers not selected for invitation.
White papers are not an absolute requirement for full proposal submission, but are very strongly recommended. Even prior to submitting a white paper we suggest you consider contacting the appropriate topic chief. There is no guarantee with all of the white papers to be reviewed that he or she will be able to give feedback, but if so it could potentially be a time saver for all involved to verify that the proposal is within the scope of Minerva and would be competitive for award.
Until Congress passes a final budget it is hard to say. Assuming that Congress appropriates the full $8M for new projects requested in the President's budget, the expectation is that we'll aim to fund roughly 3-4 large consortium projects and another 7-8 smaller projects.
As many know, the funding landscape is currently precarious at best given both delays to budget passage and pending potential sequestration measures. We are working hard to anticipate the budget climate but likely will not know the final numbers until the review process of full proposals is already underway or complete. Whatever happens, we will work to optimize our resources over the proposals received and get some new high quality work in the pipeline.
Interactions with research topic chiefs generally take place only after receiving white paper evaluation. If investigators wish to clarify whether or not their ideas fit within the framework of the solicitation then contacting the topic chief is valid, but the topic chiefs will not be able to give further feedback (e.g. funding level appropriateness or how to shape the proposal to improve chances of success) until the formal evaluation.
Please note that questions on white papers should be submitted at least two weeks before the September 30 deadline.
In addition to providing early feedback, the white paper stage is also a good opportunity for Minerva program managers to suggest that a proposal would fit better into a different topic category, if applicable.
One topic per white paper is preferable but not necessary. If you submit a single white paper to more than one topic/topic chief, please make clear in each submission that you have done so.
There is no set rule, but in general the higher category should involve several distinct disciplines (2 or more) and at least 3 key investigators. The research questions addressed should extend across a fairly broad range of (linked) issues, where there is clear potential synergy among the contributions of the disciplines represented on the team. If the proposal does not meet most of these criteria, it should be assigned to the other category.
Future solicitations for both single investigator and large consortia awards will be conducted through the Department of Defense Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). The BAA is a well-established process that has been used to build strong relationships between the Department and the basic research community through programs such as the University Research Initiative (URI) with a long-standing, well-established reputation with the academic community for making funding decisions based on objective merit evaluation of proposals against the published criteria.
The five criteria for Minerva, specified in the BAAs and including scientific merit and relevance and potential contributions, form the basis for source selection. The applications received in full compliance with the requirements of the BAA will undergo a multi-stage evaluation procedure. The respective evaluation panels composed of government subject matter experts and members of the academic community will assess proposals first. Findings of the evaluation panels will then be forwarded to senior DoD officials who will make funding recommendations to the awarding officials standard criteria plus program balance and the availability of funds.
No, references to cited work are not a part of the page limits for either white paper or full proposal submissions.
The "management plan" can be fairly high level but might generally look something like:
Dr. ** (PI) will be responsible for the overall technical and financial direction and management of the project. ** will identify, track and manage project progress, and disseminate project information to all personnel. ** will also generate detailed analyses of ___. Dr. *** (Co-PI) will __[research effort]. Finally, Dr. **** will examine ___.
Just who's involved, who's in charge, and what is everyone's high level contribution.
A budget estimate different than that given in the white paper will not be an issue, as the full proposal review will really be a clean slate judgment by an expanded set of reviewers.The more effectively you justify your budget, of course, the better!
No, these are separate and should be uploaded at field 12 of the grants.gov submission form.
There is not a format or page limit required for biographical sketches attached to the "Research and Related - Senior/Key Person Profile Form".
As a subcontractor you still had to be evaluated and approved just like the prime, and should answer yes. If there is a place to annotate on the form you should say you performed work as a subcontractor, but still check yes.
"Letters of support" are certainly not required and generally make little difference. Circumstances in which they might be particularly useful might include:
Full proposals: We are filling out forms to submit the Minerva proposal now. What should be submitted as the ONR Program office code (3 digits), the agency routing number, and the program officer's name?
These grants.gov fields should be optional. First choice is to leave them blank. However, if that guidance is wrong and the system requires it then please use:
Human subjects approvals for DoD-funded social science research can be cumbersome but we want to help you through the process. All Minerva research is executed by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Office, or the Office of Naval Research. Each Military Service has slightly different processes/requirements (so not everything true at the Army Research Office will apply for AFOSR or ONR executed research) so the best first step is to reach out to the topic chief for your topic of interest to learn what process applies to you.
With that caveat in mind, here is a summary of a Fall 2012 discussion AFOSR staff held with potential proposers on its IRB process. These notes are meant as guidance only; only the official human subjects POCs for the Service relevant to your proposal can give definitive answers.
The 2012 Minerva solicitation has now closed. A Broad Agency Announcement for 2013 will be posted Summer 2013.
As outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates indicated in his April 14, 2008 speech to the Association of American Universities, one of the key components of the Minerva Initiative is its commitment to complete openness and rigid adherence to academic freedom and integrity. As such, there are no restrictions on the nationality of faculty or students who are eligible to participate in any of the components of the Minerva Initiative.
The Minerva BAA is open to foreign scholars. Non-US universities are eligible to compete and receive funds in this competition, both with US partners and without.
The Minerva Research Initiative was initiated by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as a university-based social science research program, and university research remains the program's emphasis. However, non-profit institutions and commercial entities are eligible to compete and receive Minerva basic research funding as collaborators in university-led team proposals.
Can a single higher education institution submit more than white paper if they are interested in more than one topic area? Can a commercial subcontractor be on more than one higher education team -- e.g., different teams dealing with different topic areas?
Investigators may submit multiple proposals to the Minerva BAA, though the concepts presented must be distinct and the differences clear.
Groups otherwise eligible to propose to Minerva remain eligible even if they or their peers already receive Minerva funding. Again, proposed concepts should be clearly distinct from other Minerva efforts.
Policies on who can be a principal investigator on a grant vary by the military service executing the Minerva grant, but in general the university PI must be a professor or research staff at minimum. We encourage students with Minerva research ideas to work with their advisors or other faculty to submit a proposal.
Current Minerva researchers are eligible to submit new proposals both as lead PIs and as collaborators for both small team and large consortium proposals. These proposals are NOT intended to be renewal proposals to augment existing work and will be competed on equal footing with other research proposals. It is expected that the proposals will be clearly distinct from ongoing work.
Minerva grantees whose period of performance is set to expire prior to September 2014 should re-compete in the FY13 Minerva competition. In this case it is expected that budget estimates for Year 1 will take the existing funding into account unless clearly distinct new efforts are demonstrated.
Follow the links under the Funded Activities page or send your contact information and request for additional information to Minerva@osd.mil.
Minerva is a basic research effort. It is not expected that basic research will pay any immediate dividends to the Department of Defense (DoD). These specific topics were picked less for their immediate utility than for the likelihood that they would constitute significant areas of interest over the long term for the United States.
The Minerva Research Initiative aims to target its funded research at the most important fundamental knowledge gaps impacting national security. In March 2012 the Minerva program staff invited government communities of interest to send proposals for which topics the Minerva program should prioritize for future university research solicitations. These suggested topics (or the research questions that could be distilled) make up the bulk of the priority research topics currently listed.
In Winter 2013 the Minerva staff will again solicit new ideas from government communities of interest as well as those in the academic research community. Please submit your ideas, or your questions, to email@example.com by March 31, 2013 for possible inclusion in the 2013 research BAA.
The Minerva program funds only unclassified basic research. Federal policy ensures that such research not be subjected to any restrictions on publication or participation by foreign nationals, and in the case of Minerva this point is especially emphasized as it's considered essential to the nature of the research.