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Press Release 08-133

NSF Issues Solicitation for Basic, Human Sciences Research on Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict and Cooperation

First call for proposals under recent Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and Department of Defense

Photo of a handshake.

The National Science Foundation releases a call for research projects to support national security.
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August 4, 2008

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a solicitation that represents a partnership between NSF and the Department of Defense (DoD) to support basic research projects that can address areas of strategic importance to national security as one part of DoD's Minerva Initiative launched in the spring by the Secretary of Defense.

The solicitation follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by NSF and DoD in June that facilitates support of such research collaborations.

The solicitation, "Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict and Cooperation" (NSF 08-594), will support high-quality, basic, human sciences research of investigator-initiated research projects and/or the development of joint workshops.

All project proposals submitted through this solicitation will be reviewed using NSF's standard process of merit evaluation based on peer review, meaning proposals will be evaluated for their intellectual merit and broader impact.

"To secure the national defense was one of the original missions we were given when we were chartered in 1950," said David Lightfoot, assistant director of NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate. "We've always believed that sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other social scientists, through basic social and behavioral science research, could benefit our national security."

By partnering on this solicitation, the NSF and DoD seek to: 1) develop the DoD's social and human science intellectual capital in order to enhance its ability to address future challenges; 2) enhance the DoD's engagement with the social science community; and 3) deepen the understanding of the social and behavioral dimensions of national security issues.

A Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted prior to the submission of a full research proposal and the deadline for LOIs is Sept. 30, 2008. LOIs are not required for workshop proposals. The deadline for formal proposals is Oct. 30, 2008.

The Minerva Initiative is an effort led by Secretary Gates to build bridges between the academic social science community and the Department of Defense. To achieve that vision, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy has piloted a number of approaches to engage the social science community, including partnering with NSF on this solicitation. A Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) was released by the Department of Defense in June and represents a completely separate funding mechanism from this solicitation.


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485,

Program Contacts
Mark L. Weiss, NSF, (703) 292-7272,

Related Websites
Remarks by Secretary of Defense Gates on the Minerva initiative:
National Science Foundation release on the Memorandum of Understanding with DoD:
Defense Department's Broad Agency Announcement on the solicitation's funding mechanism:
Solicitation for “Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict and Cooperation” (NSF 08-594):

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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