National Geographic Society Archaeology of Sustainability Grants

National Geographic Society Archaeology of Sustainability Grants

National Geographic Society Archaeology of Sustainability Grants

The National Geographic Society has announced a Request for Proposals (RFPs) for "Enduring Impacts: Archaeology of Sustainability".

The Enduring Impacts: Archaeology of Sustainability Request for Proposal (RFP) focuses on the gathering and analysis of archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and paleoclimatological data for the purposes of increasing understanding of human-environmental interactions over time, to ultimately contribute to mitigating contemporary environmental and climatic crises.

Current issues like climate change, overpopulation, disruptions in food security, and loss of habitat and biodiversity are threats that were faced and sometimes overcome by societies in the past.

While the challenges we face today may be unprecedented in scale and demographic impact, there is a wealth of information on how people articulated with, mediated, and in many cases impacted long-term environmental trends over millennia.

This knowledge can be employed in the development of future strategies in environmental sustainability- and resilience-building, and in understanding how human actions in the past continue to affect present-day communities in their ability to tackle environmental and climatic challenges.


Proposals should address the following goals:

  • To investigate human-environmental interactions over time, focusing on environmental conservation knowledge, practices, and technologies employed by past societies, and their impact on contemporary populations’ ability to mitigate environmental and/or climatic stress.
  • To explore how effective present-day environmental conservation strategies can be improved, diversified, and expanded based on knowledge about past societies’ articulation with the environment.
  • To delineate how the project’s results can be used to create culturally and environmentally suitable conservation strategies at the policy level and/or collaborate with local communities to build sustainable environmental practices and strengthen resilience in the face of climatic change.

    Funding Information

  • Applicants may request up to $80,000;
  • Budgets of successful proposals will include reasonable and well-justified costs that relate directly to the project.


    The National Geographic Society is particularly interested in research proposals that generate one or more of the following outputs:

  • New archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and paleoclimatological datasets on human-environmental interactions that lead to increased knowledge of environmental sustainability and resilience behavior in archaeological contexts.
  • Local partnerships for collaboration (i.e., local communities and/or policymakers), with the future goal to implement data gathered during the project in the mitigation of contemporary environmental issues.


    Ideal grant applications for this RFP would consist of research projects that are:

  • Scientifically rigorous and multidisciplinary;
  • Integrate traditional ecological knowledge systems where applicable and appropriate;
  • Seek stakeholding community buy-in from the outset of the project;
  • Have a robust external capacity development component; and
  • Produce archaeological, climatological, and environmental datasets that can be used in the creation of solutions for contemporary environmental issues in collaboration with local communities and/or policymakers.

    What would an ideal project look like?

    While this RFP is open to a broad range of research proposals, The National Geographic Society top priority is to support proposals that:

  • Increase understanding of human-environmental interactions over time, focusing on environmental sustainability and resilience practices and technologies from archaeological contexts and their connections to living societies, where appropriate;
  • Increase understanding of how past human-environmental experimentation, modification, and management have impacted the environmental context of present-day communities;
  • Identify sustainability and resilience practices and technologies from archaeological contexts that can be reproduced or scaled;
  • Fill gaps in paleoclimatological, paleoenvironmental, and archaeological records;
  • Engage scholars from multiple disciplines as part of the project (involve team members in the fields of archaeology, social anthropology, ethnobotany, ecology, environmental anthropology, agronomy, geography, soil science, climatology, etc.); and Demonstrate:
  • Strong understanding of current local cultural context and impact of projects on local communities (e.g., define local partners, determine local community priorities, determine the nature and character of local ecological knowledge systems);
  • Local community buy-in where available and appropriate (e.g., inclusion in team and in the creation of the research design);
  • Links to community of policymakers (e.g., urban planners, disaster managers, architects, and other relevant communities of practice) where available and appropriate (e.g., inclusion in team and in the creation of the research design); and
  • A plan for sharing collected data with relevant decision-makers and communities.
  • Further, an ideal project will also establish the relationships and knowledge base for successful conservation projects that will use data gathered during research to help solve contemporary climatic and environmental crises.

    How to Apply

    Proposals must be submitted online through the given website.

    Apply by 22nd April.

    For more information and application details, see; National Geographic Society Archaeology of Sustainability Grants

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