Scientific Grants Program


The Genographic Project, launched in 2005 by the National Geographic Society (in partnership with IBM), seeks to chart new knowledge about the migratory history of the human species and answer age-old questions surrounding the genetic diversity of humanity. At its core, the project is a nonprofit, multiyear, global research effort with scientific teams responsible for DNA sample collection and analysis. The collected DNA results and analysis are stored in a database that is the largest collection of human anthropological genetic information ever assembled and serves as an unprecedented resource for geneticists, historians, anthropologists, and citizen scientists.

Today the Genographic Project has more than 500,000 indigenous and public participants from over 130 countries, and kit proceeds have funded over $1.5 million in cultural conservation grants, with more raised for an ongoing legacy of grants. The project has 11 global research centers actively collaborating with indigenous peoples to participate in the project. The science team has published over 30 papers to date on topics such as the origin of the Caucasian languages, the routes of migrations out of Africa, the genetic impact of the Crusades, and the genetic origins of the Romanian royal dynasty that included Vlad the Impaler.


The Genographic Project’s Scientific Grants Program awards grants on a rolling basis for projects that focus on studying the history of the human species utilizing innovative anthropological genetic tools. The variety of projects supported by the scientific grants will aim to construct our ancient migratory and demographic history while developing a better understanding of the phylogeographic structure of world populations. Sample research topics could include subjects like the origin and spread of the Indo-European languages, genetic insights into Papua New Guinea’s high linguistic diversity, the number and routes of migrations out of Africa, the origin of the Inca, or the genetic impact of the spread of maize agriculture in the Americas.

Picture of Spencer Wells and a colleague talking with a local official in Chad

Recipients will typically be population geneticists, students, linguists, and other researchers or scientists interested in pursuing questions relevant to the Genographic Project’s broad goal of exploring our migratory history. Recipients of Genographic scientific grant funds will become members of the Genographic Consortium, and will be expected to act as agents of the greater Genographic mission, participating in and reporting on multiple aspects of Genographic fieldwork, in addition to their own proposed and mission‐aligned pilot projects. Openness and transparency within the Consortium are the key values of the project’s research team, and grantees will be expected to abide by this code of conduct.


For more information about scientific grants, including timeline, available funding, grant restrictions, and how to apply for a grant, please read the Scientific Grants Program overview (PDF, Adobe Acrobat Reader Required).

Also check the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website.

After reading the Scientific Grants Program overview, interested applicants can access the online pre-application.

Applying for a Genographic Scientific Grant is a two-step process:

Step 1: Pre-Application

Before receiving an application form:

  • Each project director must submit a pre-application form online. The pre-application form can be completed in multiple sessions. You will be allowed to save your work and complete it at another time; you can log in to access your saved application.
  • You will be asked to upload an electronic copy of your curriculum vitae (CV) while completing the form. Instructions will be provided.
  • Please make sure that your browser is configured to receive cookies.
  • If you have any questions about the online pre-application form, please email
  • We accept pre-applications throughout the year. Please submit your pre-application at least six months prior to anticipated project dates.
  • Within four weeks, the committee will send a decision to the project director. If the pre-application is approved, the committee will send the project director an email with a link to the full application online.


Step 2: Application

After receiving the application, the project director must complete and submit his or her application online. There are a few things he or she should know before doing so:

  • The Genographic Grants Committee accepts applications throughout the year. However, please allow four months from the committee’s receipt of your application for the committee to formally review and consider it.
  • Previous grantees must first comply with all prior reporting and financial-accounting obligations before submitting applications for additional support.

As mentioned above, be sure to read the Scientific Grants Program overview (PDF, Adobe Acrobat Reader Required) and check the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website for more information.