The National Geographic Society awards grants for research, conservation, education, and storytelling through its Committee for Research and Exploration. All proposed projects must be novel and exploratory and be of broad interest.
National Geographic welcomes applications from around the world, and specifically encourages applicants from outside the United States to apply. Applicants planning to work outside of their home country should include at least one local collaborator on their team. The Committee will not usually consider applications that support strictly laboratory or collections work. Grants are awarded on the basis of merit and exist independent of the Society's other divisions.
National Geographic offers three types of grants:
- Early Career Grant: A request for funding that offers individuals their first opportunity to lead their own project. The applicant is not required to have an advanced degree. However, a record of prior experience in his or her field is expected. An applicant is eligible to receive only one Early Career Grant.
- Standard Grant: A request for funding that does not have the urgent time constraints of an Expedited Grant application (see below). The applicant and his or her team members are expected to have clear records of successful completion of similar projects with measurable and/or tangible results.
- Expedited Grant: A rare request for funding that requires a rapid response due to exceptional circumstances. The applicant will be asked to describe the need for urgency (e.g., natural disaster, imminent demolition or destruction of an area, time-sensitive event) in the application.