Thanks to David Glenn of The Chronicle of Higher Education for writing to indicate that what some hoped for would be leeway in undertaking funded research free of constraints and conditions imposed by the Department of Defense, has been significantly minimized. As David Glenn explained, the National Science Foundation released its Minerva-related solicitation on Wednesday, July 30, 2008, and there is no allowance for researchers to turn down DoD funding. The DoD may offer to supplement the funding of other NSF funded projects of interest to it, and only in that situation would a researcher, in receipt of a NSF award, be allowed to decline additional DoD funding. One can read more of Glenn’s article here.
The National Science Foundation’s Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences released its calls for applications under the latest funding program titled, “Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation (NSCC).” Full proposals are being sought for a deadline of October 30, this year. Projects will be reviewed by the NSF, and funded by the Pentagon. Here is the synopsis of the NSF program:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Defense (DoD) are initiating a university-based social and behavioral science research activity, as part of The Minerva Initiative launched by the Secretary of Defense, that focuses on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. NSF and DoD intend: 1) to develop the DoD’s social and human science intellectual capital in order to enhance its ability to address future challenges; 2) to enhance the DoD’s engagement with the social science community; and 3) to deepen the understanding of the social and behavioral dimensions of national security issues. In pursuit of these objectives, NSF and DoD will bring together universities, research institutions, and individual scholars and will support disciplinary, interdisciplinary and collaborative projects addressing areas of strategic importance to national security policy. Proposals are to be submitted directly to NSF as described in the solicitation.
For those who may not know what “Minerva” is, it is a research program for social scientists funded by the Pentagon with the aim of advancing specific national security goals as outlined by current DoD Secretary Robert Gates. The official Minerva solicitation is available here. It has been the subject of criticism on this blog, and in related published articles by anthropologists Hugh Gusterson and David Price, as essentially reorienting anthropology and other social sciences toward the military, while narrowing room for research critical of the dominant militarist ideology.