Funding Updates

  • The Level I and Level II submission deadline for October 2023 has been extended. Those submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 11, 2024 with funding decisions in September 2024.
Our Strategy

Invest in bold Explorers

We have awarded more than 15,000 grants since our founding in 1888. 

The recipients of these grants, who we call National Geographic Explorers, are a diverse community of changemakers from around the world working to support our mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. 

Our Explorers are people of all walks of life from all over the world. They don’t just venture to the tops of mountains or the bottom of the ocean.  They’re also in the lab diving deep into the microscopic world, in their local communities capturing the stories of a fishing village, or in the classroom sharing their discoveries with the next generation.

Our community

The Explorer Mindset

A grant from the National Geographic Society means more than just funding! Learn what it really means to be a National Geographic Explorer and get to know our community.

Become An Explorer

We offer grant opportunities at various entry points to provide a dynamic pathway to join our community and engage with us.

Whether you are an aspiring Explorer or already a luminary in the field, each opportunity has unique criteria and benefits to ensure that our Explorers receive support and funding aligned to their specific needs and goals. Each year, a small number of grants are awarded to individuals who are just beginning their National Geographic journey, as well as those who are working on more advanced projects.

Current Funding Opportunities

The National Geographic Society warmly welcomes and encourages applicants from historically and currently underrepresented and underserved populations to apply. National Geographic is committed to funding a diverse and globally representative cohort of Explorers. The National Geographic Society does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, age, or disability.

level I Funding

Who should apply

Level I Grants are designed for individuals who may be earlier in their career, those looking to establish themselves better in their field, those seeking mentorship from others in their field and beyond, or those who want to grow their network and enhance their impact by joining a global community of National Geographic Explorers. This opportunity is best suited for individuals who have the potential and desire to make significant positive contributions to their field by leveraging the funding, capacity, and additional support provided by the National Geographic Society and connections to other Explorers. These grants are highly competitive and priority will be given to applicants who thoughtfully demonstrate how joining the Explorer Community will help to advance their career.

Individuals who are already National Geographic Explorers (i.e., those who have already received a grant from the National Geographic Society) are NOT eligible to apply for Level I Grants. Level I Grants are only available to individuals who are entirely new to the National Geographic Society network, as well as individuals already in the network who are not yet Explorers, including team members on previous grants, National Geographic Young Explorers awarded in 2019 or later, recipients of discretionary funding opportunities such as the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists and the COVID-19 Remote Learning Emergency Fund, and recipients of grants from the China Air & Water Fund.

Funding requests at this level can be up to USD $20,000. Projects can be up to one year in length, although projects with “Technology” as the primary focus can be up to two years.

Pre-applications

The National Geographic Society is accepting pre-applications for Level I Grants.

To ensure that invited applicants are prepared to submit competitive full applications, we recommend that applicants already have an understanding of — or are prepared to assemble — the methods, dissemination strategies, and proposed outputs of the full project (as relevant and appropriate). We also recommend that applicants have identified local collaborators and have considered access to facilities and equipment prior to submitting the pre-application. You may submit a proposal as the project leader for only one project at a time.

Benefits

Level I Grants receive funding up to USD $20,000 and offer unique opportunities for training, networking, coaching, mentorship, and more from fellow National Geographic Explorers, experts, staff, partners, and forums. We are looking for individuals who are interested in becoming an active part of the Explorer Community.

We only accept applications that are submitted through our online portal. Please do not mail or email your application.

level II Funding

Who should apply

If you are more established in your field, have previously received a National Geographic Society grant, or are seeking a higher level of funding, you may apply for a Level II Grant. You are not required to have previously received a National Geographic Society grant to apply for this opportunity. These grants are highly competitive and reserved for select projects that push boundaries to achieve significant and tangible impact in your field. Projects can be up to two years long.

Benefits

Level II Grants typically receive funding of $50,000 – $60,000, but awards of up to $100,000 are possible in exceptional and well-justified cases. At Level II, grantees will provide mentorship to others within the Explorer community, contribute their expertise, and may participate in relevant speaking engagements upon request.

We only accept applications that are submitted through our online portal. Please do not mail or email your application.

for grant-seekers

More information

We recommend reviewing the following information before applying for funding. 
If after reviewing information and materials you have additional questions, please email funding@ngs.org.

  • You must be 18 or older to apply for a National Geographic Society grant.
  • Project start dates should be a minimum of six months after the submission deadline to ensure any awarded funds are received in time.
  • If you are working on a project outside your home country or community, you must include at least one local collaborator on your team who is significantly involved in the project.
  • You may submit a proposal as the project leader for only one project at a time.
  • You must submit a final report and media from any previous National Geographic Society grants for which you were the leader before applying to lead a new project.
  • The individual responsible for carrying out the project should write the application and be listed as the project leader.

The National Geographic Society has zero tolerance for bribery and corruption, and complies with all applicable laws prohibiting such conduct including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act. Grantees may not: offer or give anything of value to a government official or any other person as an incentive to, or in exchange or as a reward for, obtaining an improper advantage for National Geographic; or give, offer, solicit or accept anything of value that is intended to induce the recipient to violate his/her duty of loyalty to his/her employer. All licenses, permits and other government permissions or approvals required to carry out a grant must be obtained through the lawful, legitimate process of the country where the grant activity occurs.

The National Geographic Society complies with all embargoes and sanctions established by the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC). If any work under the proposed grant will be performed in countries including but not limited to Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Crimea, you must consult your legal counsel to ensure that an appropriate general license is available, or a specific license has been obtained, allowing the grant activity to take place. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce must be notified when certain items are exported (including encryption software standard on all computers). You must consult with your legal counsel and comply with all export requirements applicable to the grant work.

Photo Credits from top of page: Christopher Johns, Robbie Shone, Kostadin Luchansky, Cory Richards (2). Below: Michael Nichols, Andy Mann, Paul Nicklen, Ami Vitale, Christian Tryon, Kenneth Garrett, Mark Thiessen.

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