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National Geographic Foundation for Science and Exploration – Asia

National Geographic Supports Local Explorers in Asia

In 2015, the National Geographic Society established the National Geographic Foundation for Science and Exploration – Asia to increase our ability to support scientists, conservationists, educators, storytellers, and technologists throughout the region. While we accept applicants from around the world, we encourage residents from the following countries/regions/territories to apply: Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

We use one application form for all grant types and regions. Please read more about grant application requirements, eligibility, and program priorities on our main grant page before applying.  

Since 1888, National Geographic has awarded grants that have sent thousands of the world’s greatest explorers on groundbreaking journeys of discovery. The stories, insights, and imagery our explorers bring back from the field educate us, inspire us, and change the world.

Highlighted Projects

Picture of Erina Molina interviewing local fishermen
Photograph by Glenn Barit

Saving the Reef Fish of the Philippines

Erina Molina is currently completing her master’s degree in environmental science at the University of the Philippines Diliman. As a National Geographic Young Explorer, she interviewed different generations of fishers in the northern Philippines to see whether expectations about reef fish populations have changed over time, leading younger people not to recognize long-term declines for vulnerable species. She now plans to convert this local knowledge into hard data to help in the management of fisheries.

Picture of Chang-Hwa Kang and Gyoung Ah Lee
Photograph by Aram Lee

Archaeological Study of the Neolithic Cultural Site on Jeju Island

Chang-Hwa Kang has been involved with archaeological research on Jeju Island in South Korea for over two decades. Now he’s teamed up with a multidisciplinary team led by Gyoung-Ah Lee of Oregon for a closer investigation of Jeju’s Neolithic culture. Where did it come from? How connected was it to other East Asian cultures? And how did volcanic eruptions and a shifting climate shape people’s adaptation to life on this fascinating island between the Korean Peninsula and Japan’s Kyushu Islands?

Picture of Kaseka Phon
Photograph courtesy Kaseka Phon

Saving and Studying the Archaeological Site of Cheung Ek

The intricate stonework of the Angkor Empire (in what is now Cambodia) is well known, but what about the empire’s less famous stoneware? Kaseka Phon is working to reveal the secrets of this specialized craft industry and protect the only known southern kiln site from being lost to urban sprawl. As director of the archaeology department and a Ph.D. candidate at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, he has researched kilns for over a decade. Now he’s building capacity for the future, training the next generation of Cambodian archaeologists.

Picture of Katsufumi Sato
Photograph by Yusuke Goto

Ocean Ninjas: Employing Seabirds to Gather Air and Water Data

Katsufumi Sato realizes sometimes the best person for the job is a bird. Seeking more detailed samplings of air and water conditions surrounding Japan and South Korea than a satellite or a buoy can give, he’s turned to his feathered friends for help. A behavioral ecologist and professor at University of Tokyo, Katsufumi attaches sensors to seabirds to record temperature, current, and other data while they fly or float. It will all help improve the accuracy of computer models of the physical interaction between atmosphere and ocean.

Picture of Kalyar Platt with Burmese Star Tortoise
Photograph by Petch Manopawitr

Softly Bringing the Burmese Star Tortoise Into the Wild

Unlike her beloved tortoise pals, Kalyar Platt has never been slow to come out of her shell. Described as a “force of nature” and “the Indomitable Turtle Lady,” she has boldly made turtle and tortoise conservation a driving force in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Releasing captive-bred Burmese star tortoises into well protected nature reserves, she’s helping this stunningly beautiful species recover from over harvesting for food and the high-end pet trade.

Founding Sponsor

National Geographic Society has expanded its commitment to Asia with a philanthropic gift from C program to establish a non-profit foundation based in Seoul since 2015. We also seek generous contributions and donations to continuously support scientists and explorers in Asia. Please email for more details.

Logo of C Program