Winning Research

By Jason Sherman / December 22, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The Pentagon today named researchers at seven universities to spearhead the Minerva Research Initiative, a project Defense Secretary Robert Gates launched this spring that aims to expand collaboration between social scientists and the U.S. military in order to improve the Defense Department's “intellectual capital” to wrestle with new security challenges.

The researchers, their academic affiliation, and titles of their winning proposals are:

Susan Shrink, University of California, 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 Woodward, Arizona State University: Finding Allies for the War of Words: Mapping the Diffusion and Influence of Counter-Radical Muslim Discourse

Patricia Lewis, Monterey Institute of International Studies: Iraq’s Wars with the US from the Iraqi Perspective: State Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Civil-Military Relations, Ethnic Conflict and Political Communication in Baathist Iraq

Jacob Shapiro, Princeton University: Terrorism Governance and Development

David Matsumoto, San Francisco State University: Emotion and Intergroup Relations

James Lindsay, The University of Texas at Austin: Climate Change, State Stability, and Political Risk in Africa

Nazli Choucri, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: ECIR - Explorations in Cyber International Relations

In total, the seven contract awards are expected to be worth as much as $50 million over five years, which will be supported by a total of 16 universities, including three non-U.S. institutions, according to a Pentagon statement announcing the awards.

“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," Thomas Mahnken, deputy assistant secretary of defense for policy planning, said in a statement.

Selected from a submission pool of 211 white papers, the winning projects were selected based on “merit review by panels of subject matter experts in the pertinent fields,” the Pentagon said in its statement.