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National Geographic Young Explorers Grants

Learn how budding adventurers can explore the world with National Geographic.


Woman trekking in Mount Everest National
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The National Geographic Society, long known for its intrepid explorers and captivating magazine, now offers Young Explorers Grants (YEG) which give budding adventurers ages 18 to 25 unique opportunities to pursue research, conservation, and exploration-related projects that are consistent with National Geographic's established grant programs for adults, including the Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE), the Expeditions Council (EC), and the Conservation Trust (CT).

"We are committed, as we have been for more than a century, to supporting new generations of archaeologists, anthropologists, astronomers, conservationists, ecologists, geographers, geologists, marine scientists, adventurers, storytellers, and pioneers," explains the National Geographic Society. "Today, Young Explorers grants help cover field project costs for hard-working, passionate, creative individuals with great ideas. We focus on the disciplines we're known for, and also on emerging fields that matter most to understanding and improving the world we share."

Examples of Recent Projects

With funding from National Geographic's Conservation Trust, Jonathan Kolby was exploring the Honduran rain forest when he spotted and collected a frog that he had never seen before. It turned out to be a rough-skinned frog species thought to have gone extinct more than 20 years ago.

Tyler Lyson, a paleontology student at Yale University, discovered the dinosaur on his uncle's ranch in the Badlands in 1999. Lyson and scientists from North Dakota's state museum are meticulously uncovering a nearly complete dinosaur, complete with skin.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

  • Applicants must be between 18 and 25 years old.
  • Advanced degrees are not required, but experience in the area of interest is helpful. A record of related prior experience in the fields of research, conservation, or exploration should be submitted when applying.
  • Researchers planning work in foreign countries are urged to include at least one local collaborator as part of their team.

What Kinds of Projects are Funded?

  • The Committee for Research and Exploration funds hypothesis-based scientific research. Go to the CRE website for more information on the fields of research that will be considered.
  • The Conservation Trust funds innovative and applied approaches to conservation with potential for global application. Go to the CT website for more information on the types of projects that will be considered.
  • The Expeditions Council funds exploration and adventure around the world. Go to the EC website for more information on the types of programs that will be considered.

How Much Money is Offered?

Young Explorers Grants vary in amount depending on the proposed project, but most range from $2,000 to $5,000 (maximum amount).

What's the Catch?

  • National Geographic Society grants can't be used for expenses that aren't directly related to the project.
  • Grant recipients must provide the National Geographic Society with rights of first refusal for popular publication and other media coverage of their findings.

How do I Apply?

1. Submit a pre-application form online any time of the year, but be sure to apply at least eight months prior to your field dates, at least six months for the Expeditions Council. You will be asked to upload an electronic copy of your curriculum vitae (CV) while completing the form.

2. The consideration period takes about eight weeks. If your pre-application is approved, the grant program will send you an email with a link to a full application online. The names of three academic or professional references and a CV must be submitted with the full application.

Get Explorer Updates

You can sign up for the Young Explorers newsletter to learn about the exciting work of current explorers in the field.

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