Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced grants of $18 million for 11 university-based faculty teams researching the underlying social and political concepts that may drive future conflicts worldwide.
These 11 teams were chosen from approximately 130 applicants across six categories after being whittled down by a merit-based competition. The department viewed each through the lens of its Minerva Research Institute, seeking those that could prove most relevant to U.S. national security. Each proposal was peer-reviewed and selected in conference between the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (R&E) and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
“We live in a dynamic world, and many of the challenges we face are social or have social elements to them,” Dr. David Montgomery, director of social science for the R&E, said. “Leveraging the strengths of the nation’s academic research institutions helps DoD define sources of present and future conflicts, with an eye toward better understanding the social and political trajectories of key regions of the world.”
Recipients included teams at:
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- University of Michigan
- University of South Florida
- University of California Santa Barbara
- Oregon State University
- University of California, San Diego
- University of California, Davis
- University of Delaware
- University of Iowa
- East Carolina University
- University of Maryland
Their research ranged from deterrence in space to the socio-economic vulnerabilities induced by climate change, Russian speakers online, management and information, and power and influence in the era of strategic competition. All are now part of the Minerva Research Initiative’s network of faculty investigators, as jointly managed by R&E and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, in partnership with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research.