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Requests for Proposals

Enduring Impacts: Archaeology of Sustainability

Photograph by Massimo Bassano

The Enduring Impacts: Archaeology of Sustainability Request for Proposal (RFP) focuses on the gathering and analysis of archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and paleoclimatological data for the purposes of increasing our understanding of human-environmental interactions over time, to ultimately contribute to mitigating contemporary environmental and climatic crises. Current issues like climate change, overpopulation, disruptions in food security, and loss of habitat and biodiversity are threats that were faced and sometimes overcome by societies in the past. While the challenges we face today may be unprecedented in scale and demographic impact, there is a wealth of information on how people articulated with, mediated, and in many cases impacted long-term environmental trends over millennia. This knowledge can be employed in the development of future strategies in environmental sustainability- and resilience-building, and in understanding how human actions in the past continue to affect present-day communities in their ability to tackle environmental and climatic challenges. 

Ideal grant applications for this RFP would consist of research projects that are

  • scientifically rigorous and multidisciplinary; 

  • integrate traditional ecological knowledge systems where applicable and appropriate;

  • seek stakeholding community buy-in from the outset of the project; 

  • have a robust external capacity development component; and 

  • produce archaeological, climatological, and environmental datasets that can be used in the creation of solutions for contemporary environmental issues in collaboration with local communities and/or policymakers.

Please note: We have postponed the original deadline for this opportunity in response to global disruptions from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). October 21, 2020, is the next deadline to submit a proposal for this funding opportunity.


Proposals should address the following goals:

  1. To investigate human-environmental interactions over time, focusing on environmental conservation knowledge, practices, and technologies employed by past societies, and their impact on contemporary populations’ ability to mitigate environmental and/or climatic stress.
  2. To explore how effective present-day environmental conservation strategies can be improved, diversified, and expanded based on knowledge about past societies’ articulation with the environment.
  3. To delineate how the project’s results can be used to create culturally and environmentally suitable conservation strategies at the policy level and/or collaborate with local communities to build sustainable environmental practices and strengthen resilience in the face of climatic change.

We anticipate there will be a future funding opportunity for Enduring Impacts projects that produce relevant datasets and demonstrate public buy-in to apply the results produced in the creation of solutions to contemporary environmental issues. The future call would support the implementation and/or scaling of local community-based environmental conservation projects and/or collaborations with policymakers, urban planners, and disaster managers.

Applicants may request up to $80,000. Budgets of successful proposals will include reasonable and well-justified costs that relate directly to the project. Please refer to the Preparing Your Proposal page for the most up-to-date budgetary guidance.

We are particularly interested in research proposals that generate one or more of the following outputs: 

  • New archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and paleoclimatological datasets on human-environmental interactions that lead to increased knowledge of environmental sustainability and resilience behavior in archaeological contexts.

  • Local partnerships for collaboration (i.e., local communities and/or policymakers), with the future goal to implement data gathered during the project in the mitigation of contemporary environmental issues.

All applications should explicitly state the plan for evaluating the impact of the proposed work. If awarded, applicants will be expected to work with the National Geographic Society’s Metrics, Evaluation, and Research team to develop and implement plans for pre/post assessment of stakeholding communities.

For More Information

For more information about this RFP, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions here.

Six webinars about this RFP, and how to apply, will be held on February 25, February 27, March 11, March 13, March 24, March 26, 2020. Sign up for the webinars here

If you have questions not answered here or in the Frequently Asked Questions page, please email us at with “Enduring Impacts” in the subject line.

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