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The National Geographic Society Award 2017-2018

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About the awards

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 Society grant-funded projects should be bold, innovative, and transformative.

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.

In 2017, the National Geographic Grants Committee will meet four times: January, April, August, and November. Please observe these deadlines for submitting your Standard Grant application:

Deadline of April 1, 2017, for decision by August 21, 2017
Deadline of July 1, 2017, for decision by November 30, 2017

Keep reading for detailed information about how to complete the application.

Our Three Lenses

The Human Journey

The Human Journey supports projects that explore and document the human experience through time to preserve and celebrate our shared heritage. The Human Journey funds impact-oriented projects within the fields of anthropology, archaeology, paleoanthropology, psychology, human health, and human geography. We are particularly interested in the themes of human migration (i.e., the causes and effects of human population movement), human adaptation (i.e., how societies adjust to and mitigate environmental changes), and human diversity (i.e., the cultural, linguistic, and genetic diversity of our species). We are also interested in supporting innovations in technology, education, mapping, and storytelling related to these themes, particularly data visualization, high-tech approaches, cultural heritage preservation, educational outreach, and curricula development. Please note, however, that we do not provide financial support for the reconstruction or restoration of archaeological sites or for architectural conservation.

Wildlife and Wild Places

Wildlife and Wild Places supports projects that explore and document the Earth’s biodiversity to better understand and conserve species, habitats, processes, and ecosystems (marine and terrestrial). Wildlife and Wild Places funds impact-oriented projects within the fields of biology, ecology, and conservation. We are particularly interested in the themes of biodiversity in human-altered environments (including human-wildlife conflict and mitigation, urban ecology, zoonotic diseases), the effects of climate change on biodiversity (including science- and policy-oriented solutions), the exploitation of natural resources(including bushmeat, legal but unsustainable harvesting, wildlife crime), landscape connectivity and habitat corridors (including animal migrations), and the science of restoration (i.e., ecosystem restoration at all scales). We are also interested in supporting innovations in technology, education, mapping, and storytelling related to these themes, particularly data visualization, high-tech approaches, educational outreach, and curricula development.

Our Changing Planet

Our Changing Planet supports projects that explore and document Earth and ocean systems in the present, past, and future to better understand and protect the evolving environment. Our Changing Planet funds impact-oriented projects within the fields of geology, geochemistry, physical geography, marine ecology, oceanography, paleontology, and observational astronomy. We are particularly interested in the themes of ocean research and conservation (including reef processes, marine ecology and management, and sea-level change), disasters associated with natural hazards (including volcanoes, earthquakes, and landslides), environmental change (including records of past climates, glacial retreat, pollution, and remediation), and the history of our planet (including plate tectonics, paleobotany, mass-extinction events, and planetary analog science). We are also interested in supporting innovations in technology, education, mapping, and storytelling related to these themes, particularly data visualization, high-tech approaches, educational outreach, and curricula development.

Project Focus Definitions

Research

Research grants support high-quality scientific projects that aim to answer clear questions with measurable outcomes that help to advance the field. Research grants primarily support fieldwork expenses; however, laboratory and technology costs will also be considered part of the overall project budget. Research grants are awarded on the basis of scientific merit and on the qualifications of the applicant and his or her team.

Conservation

Conservation grants support projects that aim to achieve quantifiable outcomes as a result of scientifically informed actions. Applicants must propose projects that result in tangible solutions that contribute to the preservation of natural or cultural resources. Examples include projects that aim to do the following:

  • Determine the status of endangered cultures, species, or ecosystems
  • Develop conservation or preservation action plans
  • Implement innovative solutions to conservation or preservation issues
  • Use new technologies to investigate or mitigate threats to conservation or preservation
  • Engage local communities in education activities that will result in changes of behavior towards natural or cultural preservation
Education 

Education grants support projects that aim to teach people about the world and how it works, empowering them to make it a better place. We look for projects that identify effective strategies in teaching and learning—what works in education?—in our three focus lenses. Projects can be new or existing initiatives that have potential for replication or adaptation to other areas and audiences.

We also support projects that demonstrate how to teach better—new ideas for instructional strategies at any level, with any audience, and in any location. We aim to support educators in traditional and nontraditional settings, in community education and outreach, and in other venues.

Finally, we support projects that measure what works in teaching and learning—educators who want to research, evaluate, and measure how learning takes place. This dovetails with National Geographic’s Learning Framework: the set of attitudes, skills, and knowledge that embody the explorer mindset.

Storytelling

Storytelling grants support individuals and teams that aim to document our changing planet, the human journey, and wildlife and wild places. We support storytelling projects by photographers, filmmakers, journalists, cartographers, and data visualizers. Projects may be new endeavors or components of larger bodies of work. Awarded funds support field expenses, equipment, and may include stipends to applicants. We are also interested in how applicants are planning to disseminate their funded work.

Technology

Technology grants support projects in which the primary focus is the development of innovative tools and methods that positively impact our ability to explore, protect, and tell the story of our world and its inhabitants. Specifically, we support technology development that can be applied to scientific research, conservation, education, and storytelling. Awarded funds support materials, fabrication, and other development costs associated with the creation of new technologies. Applicants are strongly encouraged to include proof-of-concept field trials in their proposal.

For more information click “Further official information” below.

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