National Geographic Society: Animal Behavior and Cognition

The National Geographic Society is launching a rigorous global effort to find three of the best scientists doing field research on animal behavior and cognition. If selected, each individual will receive direct funding of $800,000, as well as substantial additional resources and services over four (4) years (with the possibility to extend an additional six (6) years, totaling a project length of 10 years). The selection process will focus on identifying individuals doing fieldwork with the potential to develop into a high-value, long-term research program.

Beyond funding, awardees will be named a National Geographic Explorer and welcomed into the Society’s global National Geographic Explorer community. As Explorers, they will receive significant additional investment in their work, such as leadership and community-building training; regular exposure, speaking, and media opportunities; innovative equipment, technology, and data services to support and propel their projects; and collaboration opportunities with other members of the National Geographic Explorer community.

Project Criteria
Projects must focus on understanding the ultimate, proximate, or developmental causes of animal behavior and cognition in all its forms.
Projects must answer compelling, well-defined research questions regarding any or a combination of the priority topics, demonstrate the need for long-term research, and show potential for scientific growth.
Projects must be research. Projects focused on conservation, education, or storytelling DO NOT qualify for this funding opportunity.
Projects must be fieldwork-oriented and focus on wild populations (projects working with captive populations will not be accepted for this opportunity).
Projects must be planned to run for four (4) years, and applicants must describe the specific research questions, activities, and budget for that timeline. HOWEVER, the proposed project must be framed within the applicants’ long-term research plan (over a potential 10-year span) and the larger question driving their scientific curiosity.
This funding opportunity does not have any taxonomic or geographic restrictions.
For well-studied species, projects must focus on novel approaches to studying their behavior and cognition.