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All proposed projects should be bold, innovative, and potentially transformative and have a primary focus in conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology. Projects should also align to one of our three focus areas. 

We do not usually consider applications that support strictly laboratory or collections work. Grants are awarded on the basis of merit and exist independent of the Society's other divisions. 

Please note that this is a highly competitive grant program; we receive many more applications than we are able to fund.

Project start dates should be a minimum of six months after the submission deadline to ensure any awarded funds are received in time. Learn more about our review process and timelines. 

Grant Opportunity

Requests for Proposals

As part of supporting a planet in balance, National Geographic offers Exploration grants that concentrate on certain key issues. Applicants may propose projects focused in conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology in response to the special Requests for Proposals (RFPs) listed below.

Visit our How to Apply section to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to prepare your proposal. Please see specific RFP pages for funding levels and acceptable project duration.

 


Uncovering Human Origins in Asia and Africa

We seek proposals from around the world that will encourage further investigation of hominid evolution in Africa and Asia, with preference given to projects in relatively unexplored parts of those continents.


Species Recovery

We seek proposals from around the world that will implement IUCN SSC Species Action Plans as well as conservation actions that are endorsed by the relevant IUCN SSC Species Specialist Group.


Big Cats Conservation

We seek proposals for field-based, action-oriented, and direct conservation efforts to halt the decline of big cats.


AI for Earth Innovation

In partnership with Microsoft's AI for Earth, we seek proposals from around the world that focus on the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to better monitor, model, and ultimately manage Earth’s natural systems for a more sustainable future.


Biodiversity Exploration and Discovery

We seek proposals from around the world to find and describe new species, and better understand the patterns of distribution and abundance of poorly known groups of organisms.


Citizen Science for Species Discovery

The Citizen Science for Species Discovery RFP aims to leverage the power of crowd-sourced citizen science data collection to help support the discovery of species, bridge biodiversity gaps, and accelerate biodiversity data collection, identification, and classification.


Artificial Intelligence for Species Discovery

The Artificial Intelligence for Species Discovery RFP aims to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to support the discovery of new species, bridge biodiversity gaps, and accelerate biodiversity data collection, identification, and classification.


Stories of Tropical Rainforests

The Stories of Tropical Rainforests RFP seeks journalists, photographers, filmmakers, cartographers, data visualizers, and socially-connected storytellers who can show us what we might lose if these biomes are not protected and highlight potential solutions that have the power to create real, sustainable improvements.


Picture of Manu Peru landscape

Amazon Conservation Capacity  

The Amazon Conservation Capacity RFP supports projects that empower community-based organizations and Indigenous Peoples groups engaged in forest conservation and sustainable forest management.

 
Grant Opportunity

Exploration Grant

An Exploration Grant application is a request for funding by an experienced project leader in the areas of conservation, education, research, storytelling, and technology. The applicant and his or her team members are expected to demonstrate successful completion of similar projects with measurable and/or tangible results. If you have received a grant from National Geographic in the past, you may submit a new proposal after you have closed your previous grant record. 

Grant projects last one calendar year or less. If you apply for more than one year of funding, your proposal will be sent back to you to revise and resubmit for the next deadline. Projects are typically funded for between US $10,000 and US $30,000.

Visit our How to Apply section to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to prepare your proposal.

Exploration Grant proposals are accepted quarterly.

Please refer to the Process and Timelines for quarterly grant cycle dates.

 

Download Sample Applications


Grant Opportunity

Early Career Grant

Early Career Grants are designed to offer less experienced individuals an opportunity to lead a project.

Grant projects last one calendar year or less. If you apply for more than one year of funding, your proposal will be sent back to you to revise and resubmit for the next deadline. Projects are typically funded for US $5,000 and cannot exceed US $10,000.

There is no maximum age limit for Early Career Grant applicants. However, applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time of application submission. Applicants are not required to have an advanced degree. Anyone with more than five years of professional experience in the field of their project focus does not qualify for an Early Career Grant and should apply for an Exploration Grant instead.

If you have previously received an Early Career Grant or a Young Explorers Grant from National Geographic, you may submit a new proposal after you have closed your previous grant record.

Visit our How to Apply section to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to prepare your proposal. Early Career Grant applicants must also submit a two-minute video that will be used to help evaluate the proposal. You may speak in your primary language, but if that is not English, you MUST add English subtitles or attach an English video transcript.

PLease Note: Applications accepted through October 9.
Decisions in February 2020.

 

Sample Application  

Have questions about our grants program?  Email Us


Photograph By Photograph by Brent Stirton/Getty Images reportage for National Geographic Explorers (Top Image)