The Minerva Initiative is a Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored, university-based social science research initiative launched by the Secretary of Defense in 2008 focusing on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy.
The goal of the Minerva Initiative is 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 will:
The Minerva Initiative 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.
In 2008 the DoD Minerva Research Initiative had its first university research solicitation for research to begin in FY09. (Department of Defense press release on first awards) Selected projects were executed either by the DoD or the National Science Foundation. Seven DoD projects began in FY09 and will be completed in 2014. Seventeen additional Minerva projects managed by NSF began in 2010 and have completed to will be completed in late 2013.
Since 2010 the Office of the Secretary of Defense has partnered with a number of Defense educational institutions to sponsor Minerva Research Professorship programs at select Joint Professional Military Education schools. In 2011 the program expanded to also include the three Service Academies. Scholars accepted into Minerva Research Fellow faculty positions must investigate Minerva-relevant research topics and have a Ph.D. in social sciences or foreign area studies research, as well as a significant track record of research, teaching, academic presentation and publication exploring given topic area. The program is intended to build DoD in-house expertise in the social sciences by incorporating social science expertise into strategic levels of study and engagement across the Services and within the Department. Learn more.