Explorers and Grants

Since 1888, the National Geographic Society has supported exploration and discovery, bringing such wonders as the ruins of Machu Picchu, previously unknown human ancestors, and mysterious ocean phenomena to light.

Our field-based research, conservation, exploration, and public experience programs continue to provide the world with scientific breakthroughs and discoveries that inspire people everywhere to care about our planet.

Today, a new generation of National Geographic explorers is carrying on the tradition and blazing trails in thought and action. Apply for a grant for your own research, and get to know some of our most dynamic explorers.

Our Explorers

Every year we name a new class of emerging explorers, highlighting people early in their careers making a difference and pushing the boundaries of knowledge and exploration. We are also the home of several explorers-in-residence, leaders in their fields with a legacy of tireless work and extraordinary impact.

  • 2016 Emerging Explorers

    2016 Emerging Explorers

    The latest additions to the National Geographic family are using innovative technology and novel perspectives to explore the world in fascinating new ways.

  • Previous Years

    Previous Years

    The first emerging explorers were named in 2004, and since then more than a hundred researchers and adventurers have been awarded the title. Meet them all.

  • Explorers-in-Residence


    Lee Berger's discovery of Homo naledi is the latest in a long chain of breakthroughs made by this esteemed group of researchers, adventurers, and conservationists.

Our Grant Programs

The National Geographic Society pushes the boundaries of exploration to further understanding of our planet and empower the global community to generate solutions for a healthier and more sustainable future. We invest in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, conservation, education, and storytelling. Our goal is to identify, cultivate, and develop the world-changers of today and tomorrow.

Our grant recipients are—and have always been—the heart and soul of what we do. When we award a grant, we're not just funding a project. We are also inviting a scientist, conservationist, educator, or storyteller to join a passionate community of like-minded, global leaders. These leaders are National Geographic Explorers.

Apply for a Grant

For over 125 years, the National Geographic Society has awarded more than 11,000 grants for research, conservation, and exploration. They've gone to forward-thinking students and long-established leaders in their fields. There have been major discoveries, bitter disappointments, bold gambles, and quiet, steady successes. Each one has contributed to a richer human understanding of the world and all that’s in it.

There’s a lot more out there. Let’s explore together.

Apply Now