Photo: Ousland in Patagonia

Photograph by Thomas Ulrich

The Expeditions Council is an editorially driven grant program that supports exploration and adventure worldwide.  Proposed projects must have the potential to yield compelling stories and images. Applications are also judged on the qualifications of applicants and their teams, and on the project’s merit, uniqueness and safety protocols. The Council consists of representatives of National Geographic editorial divisions (magazines, television, books, website, and so on) who review and vote on grant applications, as well as an advisory board of external consultants.

While the Expeditions Council funds a broad range of exploration and adventure, if a project is based on scientific inquiry, applicants must provide detailed methodology.  In addition, all projects must adhere to applicable scientific or professional ethical standards, which are outlined in the grant application and are subject to scientific review

The Expeditions Council offers its grantees the opportunity to work effectively with National Geographic's many divisions. Grantees are therefore able to share the results of their expeditions with National Geographic's global audience.


Applicants are expected to have qualifications and experience pertinent to the expedition or project they propose. Advanced academic degrees may be required, depending on the nature of the project. Those planning work in foreign countries (i.e., a country other than their own) must include at least one local collaborator as part of their expedition team. International applicants are encouraged; however, submissions must be made in English.

Grant Amounts

Grants generally range from U.S. $15,000 to $35,000 and cover direct field expenses: transportation, supplies, subsistence, and permit costs as well as other related fees (e.g., interpreters, guides, and porters) that are tied to the project.

Expeditions Council grants are not permitted to cover professional fees for a photographer, videographer, or writer, or general media production costs:. National Geographic editorial units are responsible for covering these types of fees in their  production budgets. Grants may cover fees for interpreters, drivers, porters, and other locals who are providing services to the team.

Grant Requirements

National Geographic reserves the right to assign coverage of grant projects by its own media teams.

The Expeditions Council requires that grant recipients give right of first refusal for coverage by all National Geographic media, including all print and digital media, television and broadcast media, lectures, exhibits, and promotion or publicity about the project.

Grant recipients must provide a full accounting of their expenditures on completion of the project. They are also required to submit a report summarizing their findings within two months of returning from the field.

Grant Restrictions

National Geographic Society grants may not be used for indirect costs, overhead, production costs and other expenses not directly related to field activities of the project, including salaries and fringe benefits. Funds may not be used for travel to scientific/professional meetings or conferences, legal actions, land acquisition, endowments, construction of permanent field stations, or publishing research results.


To apply for a National Geographic grant, please complete the application form.

Start New Application

Continue Saved Application

Please keep in mind the following when you apply:

  • The application form can be completed in multiple sessions. You will be allowed to save your work and complete it at another time.
  • You will be asked to upload an electronic copy of your curriculum vitae (CV) while completing the form. Instructions will be provided.
  • Please make sure that your browser is configured to receive cookies.
  • If you have any questions about the application form, please email ecouncil@ngs.org.
  • The National Geographic Society accepts applications throughout the year. However, the Committee meets only four times a year (January, April, July, October) and your application must be received at least 4 months prior to be considered in a meeting. Thus, we recommend submitting your application at least 6-8 months before your fieldwork is due to begin.
  • Previous grantees must first comply with all prior reporting and financial-accounting obligations before submitting applications for additional support.
  • Grants funded by the Committee are generally for one year's work. The maximum awarded per standard grant is $30,000 (or $5,000 for Young Explorers Grants).


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