The Explorers Club is excited to announce a new grant program in partnership with Discovery, Inc. The Explorers Club Discovery Expeditions grants align with The Club’s mission to foster scientific understanding for the betterment of humanity and all life on Earth and beyond, including our commitment to mitigate climate change, prevent the extinction of species and cultures, and ensure the health of our lands, oceans and all that inhabit them. Further, we believe that the explorers fulfill a critical role as a storyteller.

The Explorers Club Expedition grants support researchers and explorers from around the world, while also providing them with a platform to illuminate their findings—and without restrictions on scientific publication or infringement on ownership of research. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

Fieldwork in the following disciplines will be considered: Biological sciences, archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, earth sciences, ecology, and astronomy, as well as exploratory projects that reveal new knowledge about the planet and its inhabitants, including regions undergoing environmental or cultural change.

The application process involves two steps. First, you must SUBMIT A PRE-APPLICATION HERE. If your pre-application is approved, you will be invited to submit a full application via our online applications portal. (Full applications may be submitted by invitation only.)

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year. Please apply a minimum of six months in advance of your field dates.

Grants generally range from $25,000 to $40,000.

Grant recipients must provide first right of refusal to cover their expedition, and will have access to Discovery’s global audience through their digital and television programming, with the goal of producing compelling, educational and inspirational content.

The Club continues to support the “next generation” of explorers through our Exploration Fund and Youth Activity Fund, and we support other explorers through our Rolex, OceanX, and Fjallraven grants. Click here to learn more about our other grant programs.




What types of expeditions are funded?

  • Fieldwork in the following disciplines will be considered: biological sciences, archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, earth sciences, ecology, and astronomy, as well as exploratory projects that reveal new knowledge about the planet and its inhabitants, including regions undergoing significant environmental or cultural change.
  • While there may be lab components of a project,  grants will provide funding for projects that are largely based upon a field expedition.
  • Fieldwork can be rugged and adventurous, but the program will not consider projects purely focused on adrenaline sports or physical feats.

When should I expect a response after submitting the pre-application?

The pre-applications are reviewed on a monthly basis, so it should take no more than 30-45 days to receive a response from the grants administrator as to whether you will proceed to the next phase of the process.

What is required in the full application?

  • Succinct project title and a one-paragraph project summary.
  • Expedition start and end dates.
  • One to two-page project description, including hypothesis and clearly stated methodologies for science-based projects.
  • A detailed project budget.
  • Your C.V., as well as C.V. of team members.
  • Inclusion of a local collaborator on your team.
  • A three-minute video statement by the grantee.
  • Two letters of recommendation regarding the applicant and their project.
  • Relevant affiliations.
  • Any required permits to carry out your expedition or project in the proposed country.
  • Applicant’s social media handles and website.
  • Any relevant maps and visual documentation of the project site.

What is the timeline for the submission of applications?

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed quarterly. The Club recommends that applications be submitted at least six to nine months in advance of planned fieldwork.

Who evaluates my application?

Applications are reviewed by the Club’s committee of Ph.D. researchers representing a range of scientific disciplines, as well as by the Vice President of Research and Education and Explorers Club executives. Applications may also be reviewed by additional specialists recommended by the grant committee. A committee from Discovery Inc. will then review EC recommended applications to initially determine which proposed projects offer the strongest potential for web and television coverage. However, an upfront commitment to coverage of the expedition is not necessary for the approval of an application.

What are the criteria for the application?

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of how the project or expedition aligns with the mission and ethics of The Explorers Club. Fieldwork will be evaluated on the scientific credibility, innovative approaches, and possible impact of the expedition, as well as on the relevant credentials of the team leader and team members. The proposed project will also be evaluated on its potential to inform and educate a global audience through inspirational storytelling.

Can I secure external funding to augment my expedition budget, if this program does not fully fund the project?

Yes, you may seek external funding for your project if you require funding that exceeds your grant request. However, keep in mind that these grants require exclusive first opportunity to Discovery Inc. on media coverage of your project.

How long do I have to carry out my project after the grant is awarded?

Generally, a project should be carried out within a year of the grant award date.

Can I publish the results of my project in scientific or other academic and technical journals without restriction?

Yes, The Explorers Club encourages scientific and academic publication of project results, and requests that you inform us as soon as possible regarding any publication dates.

Do I need to be a member of The Explorers Club to apply?

No, you do not need to be a member to apply. However, applicants are welcome and encouraged to apply for membership.

What kind of project reports does the program require?

The Explorers Club Discovery Expedition Grants require brief reports from the field and upon return, and—within six months of completion of the expedition—a final report on the project should be submitted to The Explorers Club, as well as final accounting on the project, and return of any unspent grant funds.

What else do I need to submit on the completion of the project?

The grant program requests a specific number of images and minutes of video which can be used for promotional purposes for The Explorers Club.

Can institutions apply for a grant?

No, grants are awarded solely to individuals, who may have institutional affiliations.

What if I have a question not addressed in this FAQ?

Please direct questions about The Explorers Club Discovery Expedition Grant to: [email protected]



Media Obligations Related to Grants

If I accept an Explorers Club Discovery Expedition Grant, do I have to participate in a Discovery television program about my grant project?

No, an acceptance of an Explorers Club Discovery Expedition Grant is not predicated on your agreeing to participation in a Discovery television program. However, should you later decide that you want to have your project featured in a television program, as our program sponsor, Discovery would have the first opportunity to consider producing a show about the expedition.

What are the media obligations of receiving an Explorers Club Discovery Expedition Grant?

The grantee provides regular brief progress reports describing the activities undertaken, and will participate in a planning session before the expedition with Discovery staff (related to potential television production and/or web content).  Along with regular summary reports, the grantee will provide a specific number photographs and short videos—as outlined in the grant agreement—for Discovery’s use on its social media platforms and for Explorers Club promotion of the program.

If Discovery is interested in producing a television program on my expedition, are there specific restrictions and opportunities I should be aware of?

  • The grant agreement requires that the grantee will not work on a similar television program without approval from The Explorers Club and program sponsor Discovery, Inc.
  • News coverage would be an exception to this, but Discovery will have the first opportunity to oversee or collaborate on a news release.
  • As a worldwide media company, our sponsor Discovery may want to maximize the reach of the project globally, so the grantee must provide a year of exclusivity to Discovery’s international networks and media partners.
  • Grantees are free to publish in academic and scientific publication, and they retain these rights throughout the duration of the project.

If Discovery decides to assign a team to record (e.g., film, videotape, digital audio tape) different phases of my expedition, what rights and responsibilities are involved?

  • Discovery will have reasonable access and may record the grantee’s project activities and experiences in order to tell the story, including expedition preparation.
  • The right to produce and/or commission, separately from a program event, digital and social media content pieces (e.g., blogs, posts, PSAs, etc.), with the grantee’s participation, on Discovery’s media platforms. The grantee will consult with Discovery to develop, create, provide, and deliver digital content.
  • The grantee will promote content on their existing social media channels and other media platforms as feasible.

How long does Discovery have to make a decision on whether they will produce a television program about my grant project?

If Discovery has not decided to produce a program within a year, the grantee can review offers from other television outlets. However, the grant agreement requires that the grantee advise Discovery of those offers as soon as possible, so that Discovery may give final consideration as to whether they want to produce a program about the expedition.



Explorers Club Statement of Ethics

It is the obligation of an explorer to:

  1. Attempt to acquire new information and to report activities and results accurately. It is the acquisition and dissemination of new knowledge that distinguishes the scientific explorer from the adventurer or treasure hunter.
  2. Respect the environment and local culture and leave them undisturbed. Remember that the explorer is a guest.
  3. Respect all local, national, and international laws. Collect only necessary specimens, and then only with permission from governmental authorities when required.
  4. Give full credit to others. Be aware of prior work and reference it appropriately. All of us stand on the efforts of our predecessors.
  5. Plan expeditions properly and avoid unjustified risks. Endeavors should be adequately equipped and should not exceed the competence and strength of the team.
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Applications Open, Rolling Deadlines
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Age 18+, open to all disciplines with emphasis on storytelling