The Department of Defense has announced the first round of awards in its Minerva Research Initiative, a controversial effort to support social-science research on topics of interest to the military.
The newly announced grants, which the Pentagon says might total $50-million over a five-year period, have been given to seven principal investigators. According to Monday’s announcement, “more than 16 academic institutions, including three non-U.S. institutions, are expected to participate in the seven research efforts.”
The seven projects, which were culled from among 211 proposals, were reviewed by the department. The Pentagon has also provided money for a closely related program in which proposals are being reviewed through the National Science Foundation’s merit-review process. Awards picked by the NSF are expected to be announced in January.
The Minerva project has drawn skepticism from many scholars, some of whom fear that research throughout the social sciences will be distorted by the Pentagon’s priorities. (For a more sympathetic view of the program, listen to the audio from an August workshop sponsored by the Defense Department.) The Social Science Research Council has published 15 essays about the Minerva debate, with more in the pipeline.
The seven principal investigators, their affiliations, and their research topics are:
Nazli Choucri, professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Explorations in Cyber International Relations.”
Patricia M. Lewis, deputy director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies: “Iraq’s Wars From the Iraqi Perspective: State Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Civil-Military Relations, Ethnic Conflict, and Political Communication in Baathist Iraq.”
James M. Lindsay, professor of international affairs at the University of Texas at Austin: “Climate Change, State Stability, and Political Risk in Africa.”
David Matsumoto, professor of psychology at San Francisco State University: “Emotion and Intergroup Relations.”
Jacob N. Shapiro, assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University: “Terrorism, Governance, and Development.”
Susan L. Shirk, professor of international relations and director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California at San Diego: “The Evolving Relationship Between Technology and National Security in China: Innovation, Defense Transformation, and China’s Place in the Global Technology Order.”
Mark R. Woodward, professor of religious studies at Arizona State University: “Finding Allies for the War of Words: Mapping the Diffusion and Influence of Counter-Radical Muslim Discourse.”