The Pentagon has launched a program called the Minerva Research Initiative that would fund university-based social scientists to study topics of interest to the Department of Defense, such as the Chinese military and religious fundamentalism. The AAA expressed its concerns about Minerva in a letter to Washington, and urged the Pentagon to coordinate with the National Science Foundation and other agencies that have extensive experience in peer-review and are familiar with the ethical standards and concerns of our discipline. The Pentagon was apparently listening. Pentagon officials signed an agreement with NSF last week enabling the two agencies to collaborate on approving Minerva-funded social science research. Still, there are concerns within the discipline that research will only be used when it supports the Pentagon’s agenda. AAA will continue to follow Minerva closely and will issue updates on this blog.
If you feel strongly about the program, please feel free to comment below.