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  • Our Grants program is now accepting applications. All applications are due by November 18, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Our Explorers

National Geographic is the home of the Explorer. Since our founding in 1888, the National Geographic Society has awarded more than 15,000 grants to Explorers across all seven continents. National Geographic Explorers are the extraordinary changemakers who receive funding from the Society to support our mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. They are best and brightest scientists, conservationists, innovators, educators, and storytellers who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge, uncovering the mysteries of the natural and cultural worlds, and strengthening our connection to them and one another. Collectively, they represent more than 140 countries and their work is advancing positive impact and transformative change for our planet.

In addition to funding/grants, we provide Explorers with a rich engagement and support structure. We equip them with cutting-edge tools, technology, and training as well as professional development, leadership, and amplification opportunities. We cultivate strong connections with Explorers and other experts in our community. By lifting up our Explorers, we help to further their momentum and accelerate their impact.

What We Fund

We award grants to individuals working on bold, innovative, and transformative projects in science, conservation, storytelling, education, & technology that align with one or more of our focus areas:

Become a National Geographic Explorer

Current Opportunities

National Geographic offers several grant opportunities, with various entry points, to provide a dynamic pathway to join our community and engage with us — whether a budding Explorer or a luminary in the field. Each opportunity has unique criteria and benefits to ensure that our Explorers receive support and funding aligned to their specific needs and goals. A small number of grants are open to individuals beginning their National Geographic journey as well those who are working on more advanced projects. The majority of our funding opportunities follow a closed application process and are available by invitation or nomination only.

Grants & Investments
Alexander Lazarov

Level I Funding
Embark on a New Era of Exploration

Your entry point into National Geographic

Who Should Apply
If you have not yet received a grant from the National Geographic Society, are working to establish yourself further in your field, hope to gain more experience leading projects, and are interested in joining the National Geographic Explorer community, you may apply for a Level I grant for one-year long projects.
* National Geographic Young Explorers and recipients of COVID-19 grants also qualify for Level I.

Level I grants receive funding up to $20,000 and offer unique opportunities for training, networking, coaching, mentorship, and more from fellow National Geographic Explorers, experts, staff, partners, and forums.

We only accept applications that are submitted through our online portal. Please do not mail or email your application.



Rae Wynn-Grant
Tsalani Lassiter

Level II Funding
Further Your Impact

Take your work to the next level

Who Should Apply
If you have previously received a National Geographic Society grant or if you are more established in your field and are seeking a higher level of funding, you may apply for a Level II grant. These grants are highly competitive and reserved for select projects that push the boundaries to achieve significant and tangible impact in your field. Projects can be up to two years long.

Level II grants are extremely competitive and recipients receive funding up to $100,000. At this funding level, grantees will provide mentorship within the Explorer community, contribute their expertise, and participate in relevant speaking engagements upon request.

We only accept applications that are submitted through our online portal. Please do not mail or email your application.

More Information for Grant Seekers

We recommend reviewing the following information before applying for funding.

  • Get Additional Resources
  • Meet Our Explorers

    A grant from the National Geographic Society means more than just funding! Learn what it really means to be a National Geographic Explorer and get to know our community.

    Meet our Explorers and learn about the Explorer Mindset and the Explorer Code >>

  • Review Eligibility Criteria

    • You must be 18 or older to apply for a National Geographic Society grant.
    • Project start dates should be a minimum of six months after the submission deadline to ensure any awarded funds are received in time.
    • If you are working on a project outside your home country or community, you must include at least one local collaborator on your team who is significantly involved in the project.
    • You may submit a proposal as the project leader for only one project at a time.
    • You must submit a final report and media from any previous National Geographic Society grants for which you were the leader before applying to lead a new project.
    • The individual responsible for carrying out the project should write the application and be listed as the project leader.

  • Read Our Legal Disclaimer

    The National Geographic Society has zero tolerance for bribery and corruption, and complies with all applicable laws prohibiting such conduct including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act. Grantees may not: offer or give anything of value to a government official or any other person as an incentive to, or in exchange or as a reward for, obtaining an improper advantage for National Geographic; or give, offer, solicit or accept anything of value that is intended to induce the recipient to violate his/her duty of loyalty to his/her employer. All licenses, permits and other government permissions or approvals required to carry out a grant must be obtained through the lawful, legitimate process of the country where the grant activity occurs.

    The National Geographic Society complies with all embargoes and sanctions established by the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC). If any work under the proposed grant will be performed in countries including but not limited to Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Crimea, you must consult your legal counsel to ensure that an appropriate general license is available, or a specific license has been obtained, allowing the grant activity to take place. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce must be notified when certain items are exported (including encryption software standard on all computers). You must consult with your legal counsel and comply with all export requirements applicable to the grant work.

Contact Us

If after reviewing information and materials you have additional questions, please email




Photograph By Vincent Musi (Top Image)