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Empowered To Explore

Since first awarding a grant in 1890, the National Geographic Society has been investing in bold people and transformative ideas. Our funding opportunities aim to further understanding of our planet and empower a global community to generate solutions for a healthier and more sustainable future.

Funding FoR ChangemakeRS

Grants Program

The National Geographic Society has awarded more than 14,000 grants for bold, innovative and transformative projects. We accept proposals for projects in conservation, education, research, storytelling or technology.
Our grant recipients are a diverse community of change-makers from around the world, and we actively seek to help them network and connect more deeply with National Geographic and each other.

Types of Grants

We currently offer three types of grants: Early Career Grants, Exploration Grants and Requests for Proposals.

Rachna Reddy observing chimpanzees at Ngogo in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

Early Career Grant  

Early Career Grants offer less experienced individuals with exceptional ideas an opportunity to lead a project.

Exploration Grant

Exploration Grant  

Exploration Grants support experienced project leaders who have demonstrated successful completion of similar projects.

Requests for Proposals

Requests for Proposals  

Grants in response to Requests for Proposals (RFP) concentrate on making an impact on key issues.

A Global Call for Solutions

Innovation Challenges

An Innovation Challenge inspires people from around the world to focus their talent and creativity on unlocking new ideas to solve global issues, while competing for a prize purse.  
The problems facing our world affect all of us, and we need innovative ideas to solve them. The democratized nature of a challenge is designed to bring to light the very best ideas from people and communities all around the world. Your great idea could change everything.


Current Challenge

Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge

The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge, a key component of National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures’ partnership to reduce plastic waste, asks problem solvers from around the globe to develop novel solutions to tackle the world’s plastic waste crisis. This Innovation Challenge seeks to identify solutions in three strategic areas of impact: designing alternatives to single-use plastics, identifying opportunities for industries to address plastic waste throughout supply chains, and effectively communicating the need for action through data visualization.
Teams from around the world are encouraged to submit their solutions by June 11, 2019. Teams will compete for aggregate prize purses of up to $500,000, and qualified participating teams may have the opportunity to receive a minimum of $1 million in aggregate investment from Sky Ocean Ventures.

Learn More





Navigate the globe to explore projects we've funded and learn how
our grants are making an impact around the world.



Begin your Journey

Select a funding opportunity below to learn more.

 Grants Challenges

PHOTOGRAPH BY Mauro Sergio (Top Image) ; ENRIC SALA, PRISITNE SEAS (Grants) ; AARON SANDEL (Early Career Grants) ; Devlin Gandy​​​​​/National Geographic (Exploration Grant) ; Robert clark (RFP Grant) ; MASKOT, GETTY IMAGES (Innovation Challenges)