Prestigious Minerva Research Initiative Award of $2.1 Million Fuels Work

Artificial intelligence, including machine learning, is changing the way the Department of Defense (DoD) is evaluating its work as a national funder of science research. To advance this effort, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Analytics Research Institute (ARI) have received a 3-year, $2.1 million Minerva Initiative Award grant to build a data and analytic infrastructure to support the DoD in its role as a science funder. This new infrastructure will be used to generate machine learning and other artificial intelligence approaches for identifying research portfolio risks and opportunities. The ability to distill information at this level is expected to inform science policymaking nationally.

Minerva Initiative Awards provide grants to sustain university-based, social science studies on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. Grants are awarded on an annual basis for research projects that typically last three years.

“The DoD is a huge funder of scientific research and with this comes lots of data, information, and details,” said UW-Madison Information School assistant professor Ian Hutchins who is the PI on the project. “Our work will focus on developing an information infrastructure to identify risks and find opportunities in the portfolio of work.”

The research conducted by this grant will address the government’s need to track and demonstrate impact of funded research while simultaneously being good stewards of investment. The DoD community will greatly benefit from research into effective computational methods to detect and correct misalignment of research topics with leadership’s strategic goals. This will enable key decision-makers to evaluate the health of DoD programs and pursue promising opportunities. Ultimately, this will “lead to more improvements in human health and more innovation in the economy arising from research funding,” explains Dr. Hutchins.

“This is a great opportunity to leverage our background in AI and data analytics to move forward the field of data-driven decision making within the DoD,” said Paula Fearon, CEO, The ARI. “The Analytics Research Institute is delighted to collaborate with Assistant Professor Ian Hutchins at UW Madison on this project.

Learn more about the Minerva Award and Department of Defense work at: