National Geographic Society-Waitt Grants


Quintana Roo Underwater Cave Project ~ Beneath the jungles of the Yucatan peninsula, Sam Meacham, Explorer and NGS/Waitt grantee, and his team are exploring and mapping the longest underwater cave system in the world.


Funded by the Waitt Foundation, the NGS/Waitt Grants Program targets projects around the world in the cultural and social sciences at the cutting edge of technology and exploratory research. The program helps qualified individuals launch what is often the most difficult stage of a project to secure funding—the search—and awards grants for exploratory fieldwork with the potential for new breakthroughs. NGS/Waitt Grants place a special emphasis on expedited award processing and is able to fund “proof of concept” research for applicants at an earlier stage in their careers.

Administered by National Geographic Mission Programs, the NGS/Waitt Grants Program makes grants between $5,000 and $15,000. Proposals are considered as they are received then those meeting the guidelines are evaluated by a committee that convenes monthly. Generally, awards are made within 8 to 12 weeks of application submission. To date, the program has granted nearly $3.5 million and has funded close to 300 field projects in sciences such as anthropology, archaeology, nautical archaeology, biology, geography, geology, oceanography and paleontology.

How to Apply

Complete information on eligibility, frequently asked questions and more is available through National Geographic.

About National Geographic

Founded in 1888, National Geographic Society is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world with interests in geography, archaeology and natural science, and the promotion of environmental and historical conservation. National Geographic has a rich history of grant-making that dates back to the Society’s earliest days and over the years, has awarded more than 8,000 grants for exploration, research and conservation efforts.


NGS/Waitt Grants Program
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Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Behaviorial Flexibility in an Invasive Bird is Independent of Other Behaviors (April 2016): Corina J Logan – Research Article
  • Plant-O-Matic: A Dynamic and Mobile Guide to all Plants of the Americas (March 2016): Gregory R. Goldsmith, Naia Morueta-Holme, Brody Sandel, Eric D. Fitz, Samuel D. Fitz, Brad Boyle, Nathan Casler, Kristine Engemann […] – Research Article
  • A Comparative Analysis of Genetic Diversity and Structure in Jaguars (Panthera Onca), Pumas (Puma Concolor), and Ocelots (Leopardus Paradlis) in Fragmented Landscapes of a Critical Mesoamerican Linkage Zone (March 2016): Claudia Wultsch, Lisette P. Waits, Marcella J. Kelly – Research Article
  • Acceleration Data Reveal Highly Individually Structured Energetic Landscapes in Free-Ranging Fishers (Pekania Pennanti) (February 2016): Anne K. Scharf, Scott LaPoint, Martin Wikelski, Kamran Safi – Research Article
  • A Well-Kept Treasure at Depth: Precious Red Coral Rediscovered in Atlantic Deep Coral Gardens (SW Portugal) after 300 Years (January 2016): Joana Boavida, Diego Paulo, didier Aurelle, Sophie Arnaud-Haond, Christian Marschal, John Reed, Jorge M. S. Goncalves, Ester A. Serrao – Research Article
  • Adaptive Evolution of Eel Fluorescent Proteins from Fatty Acid Binding Proteins Produces Bright Fluorescence in the Marine Environment (November 2015): David F. Gruber, Jean P. Gaffney, Shaadi Mehr, Rob DeSalle, John S. Sparks, Jelena Platisa, Vincent A. Pieribone – Research Article
  • Innovation Frequency Does Not Indicate Behavioral Flexibility in Great-Tailed Grackles (September, 2015): Corina J. Logan – Research Article
  • Temporal Stability of Genetic Structure in a Mesopelagic Copepod (August 2015): Erica Goetze, Kimberly R. Andrews, Katja T. C. A. Peijnenburg, Elan Portner, Emily L. Norton – Research Article
  • The Covert World of Fish Biofluorescence: A Phylogenetically Widespread and Phenotypically Variable Phenomenon (January 2014): John S. Sparks, Robert C. Schelly, W. Leo Smith, Matthew P. Davis, Dan Tchernov, Vincent A. Pieribone, David F. Gruber – Research Article
  • A General Business Model for Marine Reserves (April 2013): Enric Sala, Christopher Costello, Dawn Dougherty, Geoffrey Heal, Kieran Kelleher, Jason H. Murray, Andrew A. Rosenberg, Rashid Sumaila – Research Article
  • Y-Chromosome and mtDNA Genetics Reveal Significant Contrasts in Affinities of Modern Middle Eastern Populations with European and African Populations (January 2013): Danielle A. Badro, Marc Haber, Sonia C. Youhanna, Angelique Salloum, Michella Ghassibe-Sabbagh, Brian Johnsrud, Georges Khazen, Elixabeth Matisoo-Smith, David F. Soria-Hernanz, R. Spencer Wells, Chris Tyler-Smith […] – Research Article
  • Afghanistan’s Ethnic Groups Share a Y-Chromosomal Heritage Structured by Historical Events (March 2012): Marc Haber, Daniel E. Platt, Maziar Ashrafian Bonab, Sonia C. Youhanna, […] – Research Article
  • The Spatial Expansion and Ecological Footprint of Fisheries (1950 to Present) (December 2010): Wilf Swartz, Enric Sala, Sean Tracey, Reg Watson, and Daniel Pauly – Research Article