National Geographic

Our Focus

Today, the Earth is at a crossroads, and there is both an opportunity and a critical need to act

Geographer, glaciologist, and National Geographic Explorer Dr. M Jackson photographs a moulin within the Icelandic glacier Skaftafellsjökull.

Geographer, glaciologist, and National Geographic Explorer Dr. M Jackson photographs a moulin within the Icelandic glacier Skaftafellsjökull.

Photograph by Eric Kruszewski

We are working to increase global understanding of our planet and create a community of change by advancing key insights about the world and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time.

Our Focus Areas

National Geographic Society–funded projects should be bold, innovative, and transformative.
All proposed projects must be novel and exploratory and align to our mission and focus areas.

Photograph by Michael Nichols/National Geographic


Wildlife includes species-focused projects and the local evolutionary and ecological processes that sustain them. Although extinction is a natural part of evolution, the current accelerated loss of species means that we need novel approaches and solutions that support biological diversity and abundance. This area of focus supports projects that seek to discover and identify species and ecosystems and to mitigate threats to Earth’s life forms. Projects will improve understanding of biological diversity, including behavior, life history, evolution, ecology, and habitat requirements.

Photograph by Matthieu Paley

Human Journey

Human Journey focuses on learning more about who we are and what our future will be on this planet. It supports projects in a range of fields that are helping us understand the origins and development of our species; how we modified and adapted to diverse landscapes across the globe; the evolution of cultures and societies; and the current status of and trends in our cultural, linguistic, and genetic diversity. Recognizing that human society is currently out of balance with the natural world, we also seek projects that propose solutions to mitigate this imbalance.

Photograph by Keith Ladzinski

Changing Planet

Changing Planet grants focus on our Earth's dynamic terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. These are the foundations of life on the planet, yet are increasingly threatened by exploitation, mismanagement, and climate change. We seek projects that illuminate these issues to better inform decision making and to develop more effective models for conservation and protected area management at large scales. This area of focus seeks to reduce negative human impacts on ecosystems and Earth processes by increasing knowledge, inspiring action, and creating solutions with direct, quantifiable, and scalable methods for conserving landscapes or seascapes.

Our Investment Strategy

Click the images below to see how we invest in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of conservation, education, research, storytelling, and technology. Our goal is to identify, cultivate, and develop the changemakers and solutions of today and tomorrow.





How Does Your Project Align?

Potential grantees will need to indicate a project focus—conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology.
Not sure which category your project falls into?

Take Our Quiz





Our Grant Opportunities

We are currently offering Explorers a variety of funding opportunities.

Learn More

Our Investment Strategy Images: Pete Muller (Conservation), David Gill (Education), Charles Darwin Foundation (Research), Anand Varma (Storytelling), Jason Edwards (Technology)