Science and Exploration

Supporting research, conservation, and exploration for over 125 years

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. Become a part of this exciting movement.

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


To add to the impact our support can have, the National Geographic Society highlights a few specific areas and projects at any given time. Explore our current portfolio.

  • Pristine Seas

    Pristine Seas

    Pristine Seas is an exploration, research, and conservation project that aims to find, survey, and help protect the last healthy, undisturbed places in the ocean.

  • Photo Ark

    Photo Ark

    Joel Sartore is on a mission to photograph every species in captivity—inspiring people to see all animals with respect and wonder, and to inspire protection for them all.

  • Human Stories

    Human Stories

    Paul Salopek is walking from Africa to South America, finding connections between stories at the pace of a human's footsteps.


Whether we're highlighting our yearly class of emerging explorers or giving grants to support research as it happens, our work involves a whole community of people. Get to know them and their projects.

  • Emerging Explorers

    Emerging Explorers

    These inspiring scientists, conservationists, storytellers, and innovators are already making a difference early in their careers.

  • Be an Explorer

    Be an Explorer

    Join the National Geographic family by becoming one of our grantees in the field or joining us virtually online.

  • Updates From the Field

    Updates From the Field

    Learn about the latest expeditions as they unfold in our Explorers Journal blog.


Since the earliest days, our explorers haven’t just gone out to make discoveries. They’ve also come back to tell the world about them. Live presentations and immersive exhibits continue to help us connect you with the world in unique and enlightening ways. See what's going on now.

  • At Our Headquarters

    At Our Headquarters

    Speakers, films, and festivals connect the National Geographic Society to locals and visitors in Washington, D.C., all year long.

  • National Geographic Museum

    National Geographic Museum

    At the National Geographic Museum, past and current expeditions, adventures, and scientific research come to life.