National Geographic
Requests for Proposals

Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution

Photograph by Rich Carey

Recent estimates predict that by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish by weight.  The goal of this RFP is to reduce plastic pollution before it reaches the ocean. We are especially interested in nimble and innovative solutions that have the potential to scale.  We seek to support scientists, educators, and storytellers working  to fill key knowledge gaps on the effects (ecological and social) of marine plastic pollution, and conservation managers and technological innovators seeking possible solutions to marine plastics.

Preference will be given to projects with high potential impact and applicants who are residents or citizens of the country of fieldwork as well as to projects with strong local capacity development components.


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

  • Develop innovations to stop plastic from reaching waterways through recycling or other means
  • Implement innovative teaching methods that engage students in investigating and creating solutions for problems related to marine plastics
  • Focus on geographic gaps in knowledge (e.g., Africa) or on known hotspots contributing most to the marine plastic pollution problem
  • Engage new audiences in seeking solutions (e.g., product designers) to the plastic problem

Typical proposal requests should be less than $30,000. Applicants may request up to $100,000, of which up to 20 percent of the total can be used as a stipend for the applicant or team members (please see the Preparing Your Proposal page regarding stipend eligibility and other budgetary guidance). Projects may be focused around conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology, and all applications should explicitly review what has already been accomplished and state the plan for evaluating the impact of the work.


Please observe the following deadlines when submitting your application:

April 4, 2018
11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time