Photo: Aerial view of Shanghai

Aerial view of Shanghai's skyline and Pearl TV tower, Shanghai, China

Photograph by Justin Guariglia


The National Geographic Air and Water Conservation Fund is open only to resident citizens of mainland China, for fieldwork in China. Applicants are not required to hold advanced degrees, but must demonstrate a significant level of relevant expertise and experience and maintain legitimate institutional affiliation.


While grant amounts vary greatly, the average grant size is $20,000. Funds are to be used primarily for direct field expenses, and applications seeking support solely for laboratory work will not be considered.


National Geographic Society grants may not be used for indirect costs, overhead, or other expenses not directly related to the project. Salaries and fringe benefits are also excluded. Requests for major, non-expendable equipment purchases (such as computer or camera equipment) should be restricted to the actual need for such items. These items are not typically supported by National Geographic funding, but if there is a special need tied to the success of the proposed project it will be considered with appropriate justification. After the grant period concludes, the National Geographic Society reserves the right to retain this equipment for future grant recipients. Funds may not be used for travel to scientific/professional meetings or conferences, legalactions, land acquisition, endowments, construction of permanent field stations, or publishing research results. Grant recipients are expected to provide the National Geographic Society with rights of first refusal for popular publication of their findings.


Applying for a grant is a two-step process.

This instructional video in Mandarin will help guide you through the application process.

Step 1: Pre-Application

To begin the application process, the project leader should submit a pre-application form. You will be notified with a decision within four weeks. If the pre-application is approved, you will be given access to the full application form.

English and Chinese pre-applications are accepted.

To submit a pre-application in English, begin by creating an application account:

Link to pre-application (English)

After you create an account, the pre-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) or resume.

To submit a pre-application in Chinese, begin by downloading a pre-application form:

Download pre-application (Chinese).

Follow the instructions to complete the form.

Submit the completed form and a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV) or resume byemail.

Step 2: Application

If your pre-application is approved, you will be invited to complete a full application.

Before you proceed, we require that you schedule a phone call with our staff to discuss your project and specific needs. You are encouraged to work closely with staff to review your budget requests and project design, and ensure that your proposal is in line with funding priorities.

Please contact Program Officer Richard Yao (gefchina@ngs.org) if you have any questions or require assistance.

Previous grantees must first comply with all prior reporting and financial accounting obligations before submitting applications for additional support.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. The Advisory Board meets twice a year to make funding decisions. For the grant meeting in the fall of 2014, pre-applications must be submitted no later than June 30, 2014, and full applications no later than July 28, 2014, in order to be considered at the next grant meeting.


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