Photo: Young Explorer grantee Ian Nichols

Photograph by Dr. Kathryn Jeffery



Young Explorers Grants (YEG) offer opportunities to individuals ages 18 to 25 to pursue research, conservation, and exploration-related projects consistent with National Geographic's existing grant programs, including: the Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE), the Expeditions Council (EC), and the Conservation Trust (CT). In addition, the YEG program recently teamed with the Luce Foundation to provide increased funding opportunities for fieldwork in 18 Northeast and Southeast Asian countries, including Brunei, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.


The Young Explorers Grants Program supports a variety of projects—and an age-range of applicants—that are generally not covered by other sources of funding.

Applicants are not required to have advanced degrees. However, a record of prior experience in the fields of research, conservation, or exploration should be submitted as it pertains to the proposed project.

Funding is not restricted to United States citizens—foreign nationals are invited to apply. Researchers planning work in countries abroad should make great effort to include at least one local collaborator as part of their team.

Where Should I Apply?

The Committee for Research and Exploration funds hypothesis-based scientific research. Consult the CRE website for more information on the fields of research funded.

The Conservation Trust funds innovative and applied approaches to conservation with potential for global application. Consult the CT website for more information on the types of projects funded.

The Expeditions Council funds exploration and adventure around the world. Consult the EC website for more information on the types of programs funded.

Grant Limits

Young Explorers Grants vary in amount depending on significance of the project, though most range between US $2,000 and $5,000 at the maximum. National Geographic Society funds often serve as complementary support—thus the program encourages applicants to seek additional, concurrent funding from other sources.

Grant Restrictions

National Geographic Society grants may not be used for indirect costs, overhead, and other expenses not directly related to the project. Fringe benefits are also excluded, as are salaries.

Funds may not be used for travel to scientific/professional meetings or conferences, tuition, vacations, study abroad programs, volunteer activities, legal actions, land acquisition, endowments, construction of permanent field stations, or publication of research results.

Grant recipients are expected to provide the National Geographic Society with rights of first refusal for popular publication and other media coverage of their findings.

Obtaining an Application Form

Applying for a Young Explorers Grant is a two-step process.

First, you must submit a pre-application form online. If your pre-application is approved, you will be sent an email with a link and a password giving you access to our full application online.

Before you submit a pre-application, there are a few things you should take into consideration:

  • 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) while completing the form. Instructions will be provided.
  • Please make sure that your browser is configured to receive cookies.
  • This system works best on Internet Explorer 5.5 and Netscape 6.0 or higher.
  • If you have any questions about the online pre-application form, consult our Frequently Asked Questions.
  • If you don't find the answer to your question, Please email the question to the fund you are applying to: cre@ngs.org, conservationtrust@ngs.org, or council@ngs.org. Please remember to include Young Explorers Grant in the subject line.
  • The Young Explorers Grants Program accepts pre-applications throughout the year. Please submit your pre-application at least eight months prior to your field dates, at least six months for the Expeditions Council. If your application is approved—a decision which takes about eight weeks—the relevant grant program will send you an email with a link to the full application online. The names of three academic or professional references and a curriculum vitae are to be included with the full application.

    If you are a resident of Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, or Ireland please apply to National Geographic Science and Exploration’s grant program in Europe. Find out more and submit an application here.

    If you are a resident of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, or Vietnam please apply to National Geographic Science and Exploration's grant program in Asia. Find out more and submit an application here.

    Fill out YEG pre-application for Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE).

    Access your saved CRE pre-application form.

    Fill out YEG pre-application for Expeditions Council (EC).

    Access your saved EC pre-application form.

    Fill out YEG pre-application for Conservation Trust (CT).

    Access your saved CT pre-application form.

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