National Geographic

Participatory Science

We seek to support participatory science through the development or innovative use of data-driven, technology-powered tools that will increase the understanding, preservation, and protection of our planet. Applicants should design and/or implement tools that support citizen science work, particularly data collection or data analysis, in ways that create learning experiences for citizen scientists, including students.


Priority will be given to research, education, and technology projects that create and execute new digital applications, transform existing applications and products, or use current technologies to do one or more of the following:

  • Teach students and other citizen scientists about the planet using experiential, crowdsourced technology
  • Encourage students and other citizen scientists who engage with these technologies and projects to build the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary to become stewards of the planet and contribute to solving real-world issues
  • Generate data and/or develop open-source technologies that contribute to scientific inquiry and advance our understanding of the planet

Additionally, all applicants should include a technologist on the project team and

  • detail how applicants will share regular feedback from the project with citizen scientists;
  • document a basic outline to create, implement, and evaluate participation; and
  • note any scientific or educational outputs, technology used and/or created, data quality, participant experience, outreach plans for activating the public (including students), potential planetary impacts, and considerations for legal and ethical issues surrounding intellectual property, data sharing, and attribution.

Participation and data generation are of equal importance. Participation must be free for all users and cannot incorporate for-profit activities. Technologies might include mobile applications, web-based applications, or hardware and sensors with direct citizen science usage. Projects should create learning experiences through the collection of data and/or ground-truthing of data relevant to the trends or status of threatened and poorly known species, ecosystems, or human cultural/linguistic diversity.

Typical proposals should request less than $30,000; however, applicants may request up to $50,000. Up to 20 percent of the total can be used as a stipend for the applicant and/or team members. (Please see the Preparing Your Proposal page regarding stipend eligibility and other budgetary guidance.) Up to 15 percent can be used for institutional overhead (applicable only for awarded grants of at least $50,000). All applications should include a clear review of the state of knowledge about the topic and a plan for evaluating the outcomes of the proposed work.

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