National Geographic
Requests for Proposals

Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution

Photograph by Rich Carey

The goal of this RFP is to measurably reduce plastic pollution before it reaches the ocean. We seek conservationists, educators, researchers, storytellers, and technologists who develop or pilot solutions that actively stop or reduce the stream of pollution into waterways, including by effecting behavior change in key stakeholders. Preference will be given to applicants who are residents or citizens of the country where the work will be conducted and to projects with higher potential for scaling and impact. This RFP does not provide funding for beach cleanups, for projects focused on end-of-life plastic recycling, valorization, or reuse, or for commercializing waste management technologies or the development of plastic alternatives.


Priority will be given to projects that aim to do one or more of the following:

  • Develop innovative solutions to reduce the flow of plastic into waterways 
  • Create and implement innovative strategies that engage stakeholders to dramatically reduce plastic use and/or input into watersheds
  • Focus on filling key gaps in geography (e.g., Africa) or knowledge that would enable reducing the flow of plastic from their sources into the ocean, or focus on known hot spots that contribute most to the marine plastic pollution problem (e.g., coastal cities in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam; watersheds of the Yangtze, Indus, Yellow, Hai, Nile, Ganges, Pearl, Amur, Niger, and Mekong rivers)

Typical proposals should request less than $30,000; however, applicants may request up to $100,000. Successful applicants may use awarded funds over one or two years. 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). Projects may be focused around conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology. 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.

Sample Applications

Click below to view and download a sample application for each primary project focus supported by the Uncovering Human Origins in Asia and Africa RFP. 

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