Skip to content

DoD Research & Engineering

DOD Awards $20.8M in Grants for Projects to Support Research in Social and Behavioral Science

DOD Awards $20.8M in Grants for Projects to Support Research in Social and Behavioral Science

January 12, 2021

The Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded $20.8 million in grants to 15 university-based Minerva Research Initiative (Minerva) faculty teams to support research in the social and behavioral sciences.

Minerva supports basic research that focuses on topics of particular relevance to U.S. national security. Through its network of faculty investigators, Minerva also strengthens the department’s connections with the social science community and helps DOD better understand and prepare for future challenges, including National Defense Strategy priorities such as great power competition.

“We live in a dynamic world, and many of the challenges we face are social or have social elements,” said Dr. Bindu Nair, director of the Basic Research Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). “The knowledge and methodologies generated by Minerva teams are fundamental to understanding how social forces shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the United States.”

The 15 faculty teams were selected following a merit-based competition among approximately 180 applicants within Minerva’s nine topics of interest. Research proposals were peer-reviewed and selected in conference between OUSD(R&E) and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy to identify proposals that make foundational contributions to basic social science and align with the National Defense Strategy.

The Minerva Research Initiative is jointly administered by the Basic Research Office in OUSD(R&E) and the Strategy and Force Development Office in 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. More information on the Minerva Research Initiative is available at their website.

  1. Power Projection and Subversion via Malign Influence Campaigns on Social Media: Comparing Effects of Cognitive Biases and Cultural Values on Information Operations by Russia in Europe And China in Latin America
    • Topic Area: Power, Deterrence, and Escalation Management
    • Principal Investigator: Scott Atran, University of Oxford
  2. Multi-Level Models of Covert Online Information Campaigns
    • Topic Area: Models and Methods for Understanding Cover Online Influence
    • Principal Investigator: Kathleen Carley, Carnegie Mellon University
  3. Automated Early Warning System for Cyber Intrusion Detection
    • Topic Area: Automated Cyber Vulnerability Analysis
    • Principal Investigator: Richard Carley, Carnegie Mellon University
  4. Algorithmic Personalization and Online Radicalization: A Mixed Methods Approach
    • Topic Area: Autonomy, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Ethics, and Social Interactions
    • Principal Investigator: Brian Ekdale, University of Iowa
  5. The Ethics of Warfighter Participation in the Development and Testing of AI-Driven Performance Enhancements
    • Topic Area: Autonomy, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Ethics, and Social Interactions
    • Principal Investigator: Nicholas Evans, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  6. Complex Linkages, Ambivalent Ties: Global Security and Economic Interdependence in the 21st Century
    • Topic Area: Economic Interdependence and Security
    • Principal Investigator: Erik Gartzke, University of California, San Diego
  7. Total War: Multi-Agent Network Theory of Connective Action in a Cross-Domain Coupled World
    • Topic Area: Multi-Domain Behavioral Complexity and Computational Social Modeling
    • Principal Investigator: Neil Johnson, George Washington University
  8. Automatically Measuring Phishing Victim Susceptibility from Publicly Available Information
    • Topic Area: Automated Cyber Vulnerability Analysis
    • Principal Investigator: Keith Jones, Texas Tech University
  9. Conceptualizing Hierarch and Resilience in Great Power Politics
    • Topic Area: Peer/Near-peer Statecraft, Influence, and Regional Balance of Power
    • Principal Investigator: Marlene Laruelle, George Washington University
  10. Analyzing Effects of Sanctions on International economic Interdependencies Using Hybrid Input/Output Analysis
    • Topic Area: Economic Interdependence and Security
    • Principal Investigator: Lincoln Pratson, Duke University
  11. Maritime Law Enforcement in the Indo-Pacific: Building Capacity to Confront Militia Groups and Maritime Crime
    • Topic Area: Economic Viability, Resilience, and Sustainability of Logistics Infrastructure
    • Principal Investigator: Brandon Prins, University of Tennessee
  12. Economic Viability, Resilience, and Sustainability of Logistics Systems in Post-Conflict Zones
    • Topic Area: Economic Viability, Resilience, and Sustainability of Logistics Infrastructure
    • Principal Investigator: Adam Rose, University of Southern California
  13. Fusing Narrative and Social Cyber Forensics to Understand Covert Influence
    • Topic Area: Models and Methods for Understanding Covert Online Influence
    • Principal Investigator: Scott Ruston, Arizona State University
  14. Measuring China’s Political Influence along the Belt and Road
    • Topic Area: Economic Interdependence and Security
    • Principal Investigator: Jacob Shapiro, Princeton University
  15. Growing Chinese Economic Power and the Exacerbating Effects of U.S. Economic Interdependence
    • Topic Area: Economic Interdependence and Security
    • Principal Investigator: Shade Shutters, Arizona State University

About OUSD(R&E)
OUSD(R&E) is responsible for research, development, and prototyping activities across DoD to foster U.S. technological dominance and ensure the unrivaled superiority of the U.S. joint force. Learn more at www.cto.mil/ or follow us on Twitter: @DoDCTO.

USD(R&E)
Scroll To Top