DoD/ESRC – Bilateral Academic Research Initiative (BARI) Social Science Program

Closing Date: 15/09/2023

Funding available for UK researchers to work with US-based researchers on a large social science-led interdisciplinary research consortium on a shared strategic priority of understanding and influencing behaviour below the threshold of armed conflict.

The Bilateral Academic Research Initiative Pilot Program (BARI) is jointly sponsored by the US Department of Defense (DoD)and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The BARI program addresses high risk basic research as an international collaboration. This research should attempt to understand new phenomena or produce discoveries that would impact understanding societal resilience in relation to social influence and information campaigns.

The goal of the programme is to produce significant scientific breakthroughs with far reaching consequences in understanding and influencing behaviour below the threshold of armed conflict, specifically in relation to countering influence that leads to socio-economic and political instability.

Research should expand understanding of vulnerability and susceptibility to advanced adversarial information warfare techniques that undermine social cohesion and trust in different cultural and environmental contexts. The DoD/ESRC are looking to identify areas of US-UK coordinated research that could most effectively move this field forward.

Through this initiative, DoD/ESRC will support research that aims to:

  • Understand what constitutes societal resilience, how it is maintained or strengthened, and how it is weakened
  • Understand the motivations and strategies of (international) information campaigns on target states and populations
  • Identify and examine coordinated attempts to influence population attitudes and behaviours and the techniques and tools used to undermine socio-economic and political stability
  • Examine the immediate, incremental, and cumulative effects of narratives and information campaigns on populations occurring through single instances or through multiple sources of information
  • Understand how cultural, economic, social dynamics, and individual traits (thoughts, feelings, and behaviours) influence susceptibility to, and the impact of, information campaigns
  • Explore whether particular communities (both online and offline) are more or less vulnerable to influence and socio-political instabilities, and the implications this has for countering influence
  • Examine the relationship between environmental or contextual characteristics and susceptibility to disinformation, deception, and negative influence, and explore how this can be measured
  • Examine how information campaigns affect social cohesion and trust in different national, local, and organisational cultures, and how efforts to influence populations (online and offline) affect group affinity, identity, behaviour, and affiliation
  • Identify where sub-threshold techniques are influencing populations or causing socio-economic instability, examine how this is impacting the socio-political environment and political decision-making, and characterise the role of culture and context in the effectiveness of such efforts
  • Examine how different nations, governments, administrations, and state and local jurisdictions respond to information campaigns and sub-threshold warfare efforts
  • Examine efforts of state and non-state actors (media, private sector, charities, and others) in information counter-narratives, interception and regulation of messaging, and the effectiveness of their approaches
  • Develop new or further develop existing methodological approaches to understanding misinformation, disinformation, deception, and international efforts to interfere and influence societies.
Funding body US Department of Defense (DoD)
Maximum value £3,750,000
Reference ID S25507
Category Economic and Social Research
Fund or call Fund