Monday, December 22, 2008

First Minerva Research Initiative Awards Announced

The Department of Defense announced plans today to make awards to academic institutions to perform scholarly research in the social sciences under the department's Minerva Research Initiative.

The list of institutions and research topics selected for fiscal 2009 funding is attached.

The Initiative is a DoD-sponsored, university-based social science basic research program initiated by the secretary of defense. It focuses on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy and seeks to increase the department's intellectual capital in the social sciences, improve its ability to address future challenges, and build bridges between the department and the social science community.

The total amount of the awards is expected to be as much $50 million over five years. Awards are subject to the successful completion of negotiations between the academic institutions and DoD research offices that will make the awards: the Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Based on the proposals selected in the fiscal 2009 competition, more than 16 academic institutions, including three non-U.S. institutions, are expected to participate in the seven research efforts.

According to Thomas Mahnken, deputy assistant secretary of defense for policy planning, "we were extremely impressed with the breadth and quality of the Minerva proposals. These grants lay the groundwork for exciting new research and relationships that will bring the best work of academics to bear on our country's most pressing national security challenges."

Researchers were encouraged to assemble teams with appropriate disciplinary strengths to develop scholarship in the areas identified in the program announcement. The awards announced today are for an initial five-year base period with a five-year option contingent upon availability of appropriations and satisfactory research progress. These awards are intended to be larger and longer in duration than traditional awards to help build an enduring capacity to conduct DoD-related basic research in the social sciences.

The initial Minerva solicitation was extremely competitive. The department solicited proposals in five topics of strategic importance and received a total of 211 white papers. The awards announced today were selected for funding based on merit review by panels of subject matter experts in the pertinent fields.

The secretary of defense speech to the Association of American Universities where Minerva was launched may be found at:

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