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Requests for Proposals

Uncovering Human Origins in Asia and Africa

Photograph of a composite skeleton of Homo naledi

Photograph by Robert Clark

For more than 50 years, the National Geographic Society has supported exploration into the evolution of humankind. Our grants have led to hundreds of new discoveries in paleoanthropology, paleolithic archaeology, molecular anthropology, and paleoecology that have fundamentally changed the understanding of our own species. As we consider that legacy, we look to those areas of the planet where little is known about human origins, and we seek to invest in new ideas, projects, and explorers in and from these regions. The goal of this fund is to encourage further investigation of hominid evolution in Africa and Asia, with preference given to projects in relatively unexplored parts of those continents. Preference will also be given to applicants who are residents or citizens of the country of fieldwork, as well as to projects with strong local capacity development components.


Please Note: January 15, 2020 is next the deadline to submit a proposal for this funding opportunity.


Priority will be given to projects that aim to do one or more of the following:   

  • Discover or explore new paleoanthropological fossil sites in Africa or Asia, particularly those in Central and West Africa and those in East, Southeast, South, and Central Asia
  • Design or test new methodologies for discovering or exploring paleoanthropological sites in Africa or Asia
  • Develop local capacity in human origins exploration in Africa or Asia

Typical proposals should request less than $30,000; however, applicants may request up to $50,000 if they are running a field school for students from the region. Successful applicants should use awarded funds within one year. Please see the Preparing Your Proposal page regarding budgetary guidance. Projects should be research-focused but can integrate conservation, education, storytelling, or technology as a secondary component.

Sample Applications

Click below to view and download a sample application for each primary project focus supported by the Uncovering Human Origins in Asia and Africa RFP. 

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Learn more about what you will need to prepare your grant proposal
and begin your application.

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