Level I and Level II grants are funded biannually, with proposal deadlines in April and October

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.

Robbie Shone NationalGeographic_2745724_M4
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

Current grant opportunities

We offer several grants, with various entry points, to provide a dynamic pathway to join our community and engage with us.

 Whether you are a budding Explorer or 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. A small number of grants are open to individuals beginning their National Geographic journey and those who are working on more advanced projects. 

level I Funding

Embark on a new era of exploration

Who should apply

If you have not yet received a grant from the National Geographic Society, are working to establish yourself further in your field, hope to gain more experience leading projects, and are interested in joining the National Geographic Explorer community, you may apply for a Level I Grant for one-year long projects.
* 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 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.


Level I Grants receive funding up to $20,000 and offer unique opportunities for training, networking, coaching, mentorship, and more from fellow National Geographic Explorers, experts, staff, partners, and forums.

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

level II Funding

Further your impact

Who should apply

If you have previously received a National Geographic Society grant or if you are more established in your field and are seeking a higher level of funding, you may apply for a Level II Grant. These grants are highly competitive and reserved for select projects that push the boundaries to achieve significant and tangible impact in your field. Projects can be up to two years long.


Level II Grants are extremely competitive and recipients receive funding up to $100,000. At this funding level, grantees will provide mentorship within the Explorer community, contribute their expertise, and 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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Your impact begins today

By joining the Society, you will fund Explorers working to save wildlife, protect our oceans and ecosystems, preserve our ancient heritage, and solve the planet’s mysteries and challenges.