The Terra Viva Grants Directory develops and manages information about grants for agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources in the world's developing countries.

National Geographic Society

National GeographicGrants for exploration, field research, and conservation in subjects of environment and natural resources

Principal Office: USA


The National Geographic Society (of the USA) was established in 1888 to support geographical expeditions and scientific fieldwork, and to encourage geography education. It defines its current mission as inspiring people to care about the Planet.

The Society makes several hundred grants per year. Grant making is decentralized across a number of committees and funds.

Grant Programs for Agriculture, Energy, Environment, Natural Resources

1 — Committee for Research and Exploration. This program supports scientific field research in anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, biology, botany, geography, geology, oceanography, paleontology, and zoology. The Committee welcomes multidisciplinary projects that address environmental issues, as well as projects that promote the growth of scientific infrastructure in countries where such infrastructure is lacking. The program is open to researchers who have a Ph.D. degree or equivalent, and who have published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Most grants range from US$15 thousand to US$20 thousand.

About the Committee for Research and Exploration, and how to apply


2 — Conservation Trust. The Conservation Trust funds projects for the preservation and sustainable use of biological, cultural, and historical resources worldwide. Grants are to individuals who have a record of previous relevant research or conservation activity, but applicants are not required to have a Ph.D. or other advanced degree. Most grants range from US$15 thousand to US$20 thousand.

About the Conservation Trust, and how to apply


3 — Expeditions Council. The Expeditions Council makes grants for exploration of largely unrecorded or little-known areas of the Earth, and of regions undergoing significant environmental or cultural changes. This refers to remote forest, upland, underground, and marine zones. The Council funds projects that have the potential for a compelling written and visual record. Most grants range from US$15 thousand to US$35 thousand.

About the Expeditions Council, and how to apply


4 — Young Explorers Grants. These are seed grants for individuals 18-25 years of age in the thematic areas which the Society traditionally supports. Grants are to individuals who have prior experience in research, conservation, or exploration as it pertains to their projects. Applicants are not required to have advanced degrees. Most grants range from US$2 thousand to US$5 thousand.

About the Young Explorers Grants, and how to apply


5 — Big Cats Initiative. The Big Cats Initiative aims to halt the decline of lions, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other big cats worldwide. Eligibility for grants extends to field-based conservationists, environmental educators, students, and researchers. Most grants range from US$10 thousand to US$50 thousand.

About the Big Cats Initiative, and how to apply


6 — NGS/Waitt Grants. The NGS/Waitt program funds exploration projects in ecology and archaeology which require venture capital. Applicants are not required to have advanced degrees to be eligible for funding, but they must have a commensurate level of expertise and experience. Supported individuals must be affiliated with an educational organization or other institution. The program emphasizes expedited grant processing and turnaround. Most grants range from US$5 thousand to US$15 thousand.

About the NGS/Waitt Grants, and how to apply


APPLICATION (for 1-2-3-4-5-6 preceding): Grant seekers need to consult the information particular to each program area for guidelines on how to apply for grants.

In general, the Society’s funding is not restricted by nationality or citizenship.

Most programs have broadly similar application processes that begin with an online pre-application form. The Society accepts pre-applications throughout the year. For pre-applications that are approved, the Society requests full applications to be submitted online.

The Society provides Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for each grant program.

Geographical Distribution of Grant Activities in Developing Countries



Grant seekers may choose to review other grants and programs through the Society not covered in this profile.

The Society is a partner of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation for the annual Buffett Awards of US$25 thousand for Leadership in African Conservation and Leadership in Latin American Conservation.

Last Profile Review

 July 2016