National Geographic
Requests for Proposals

Extreme Environments: Himalayan Climate Change

Photograph by Cameron Kruse

High-altitude mountains provide a valuable fixed reference point for continuous, long-term collection of meteorological data, which is otherwise difficult to gather. Recent climate change studies have concluded that the shortage of this important data hinders our ability to accurately project the environmental and social consequences of a warming planet. Through this call for research, conservation, and storytelling proposals, National Geographic seeks to advance understanding of environmental and societal changes measured in the Himalayas, one of Earth’s highest mountain ranges, which ultimately provides the water resources for one-fifth of the world’s population.


The initial target of this RFP is on the greater Himalayan mountain system, where miles-high peaks are home to an extraordinary range of biological and cultural diversity; where snowpack and glaciers serve as natural water towers, feeding rivers that supply more than 1 billion people downstream with the water they need to survive; and where a mix of climate change and rural poverty creates unique challenges.

We are especially interested in supporting projects that directly monitor or examine changing temperatures, ice volume or extent, and water pathways, or that examine impacts on at-risk downstream populations. Priority for this RFP will be given to projects led by researchers, conservationists, or storytellers from the Himalayan region and that aim to do one or more of the following: 

  • Directly measure changing high-elevation environmental conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind strength/direction, with a focus on the most consequential data gaps.
  • Examine downstream impacts of climate change, such as glacial lake outburst floods, landslides, and drought.
  • Boost the resilience of Himalayan populations by piloting and implementing culturally appropriate, community-based climate adaptation solutions addressing changing water resources or other climate impacts.
  • Tell the stories of how communities, individuals, and/or wildlife in the Himalayan region are adapting to a changing climate. Storytelling applicants should focus on finding innovative ways to show how recent climate changes are affecting local communities or ecosystems through photography, film, data visualization, reporting, or other methods. Projects that include a component that benefits local audiences or incorporates local voices are strongly encouraged.

Typical proposals should be less than $50,000; applicants may request up to $100,000. Please see the Preparing Your Proposal page regarding budgetary guidance. Successful applicants may use awarded funds over the course of one year. All applications should explicitly state the plan for evaluating the impact of the proposed work. 

Future iterations of this RFP might expand the geographic focus beyond the Himalayas to other high-elevation regions in the world. The first opportunity to submit applications for work outside the Himalayas would be in July 2019.

Please note: As a result of changes in Chinese law effective January 1, 2017, the National Geographic Society is unable to support new grantee work in mainland China. 

When applying for this RFP, please select Changing Planet in the Lens dropdown menu on the Project Description tab of the application.

Sample Applications

Click below to view and download a sample application for each primary project focus supported by the Extreme Environments: Himalayan Climate Change RFP. 

Ready to Apply?

Learn more about what you will need to prepare your grant proposal
and begin your application.

Prepare your proposal