Below is a list of grants, awards and scholarships aimed at enabling people to live a more adventurous life, perhaps explore the unexplored or help safeguard the world' wild places.

Following on from the two part feature on funding your adventure I thought it would make sense to provide a list of some organisations, charities or otherwise, that offer grants and awards to those looking to embark on an adventure. I have split it in two sections; the first being more focussed on adventure travel and the second on mountains, be it climbing, skiing or conservation. 

This list is by no means exhaustive and I would be very happy should anyone get in touch to let me know of other grants that may be available. I will be only too pleased to update this list. I think all, if not most, are annual and this means that some deadlines may have slipped by for this year, but I have included links for all so the latest information is just a click away.  

They are in no particular order but, if you are looking for financial help for your next expedition or adventure,  it is worth scrolling through the lot, as tedious as that might seem to our modern impatience. Enjoy!

Adventure Travel Grants

National Geographic GRants & Awards

Student Expeditions (USA & Canada)

The National Geographic Student Expeditions Scholarship Program gives financial support to students who are looking for educational summer experiences but who otherwise would not have the means to pay for them. This means students between 6th and 12th grades. It is only open to residents of the U and Canada. Generally speaking the accumulated annual income of the parents must also be below $50,000.

Other National Geographic Grants & Awards (Worldwide)

“Since 1888, National Geographic has supported exploration and discovery, bringing gems like Machu Picchu, undersea wonders, and new species to light.” 

Their programs in field-based research, conservation, exploration, and education have long been the basis for scientific breakthroughs that have been an inspiration to many, across the globe, to pay greater attention to caring for the planet.

Royal Geographical Society awards

According to the RGS:

"Fieldwork and expeditions are at the core of the Society's grants programme. Our independent travel grants support challenging and inspiring geographical journeys and expeditions all over the world.”

They have a number of different categories which lean towards learning and “the new" as you would imagine. For example the Journey of a Lifetime Award, in association with BBC Radio 4 which offers the traveller the opportunity to make a 'journey of a lifetime' and to tell the whole world about it in the form of a radio documentary.

Others include:

The Neville Shulman Award
Awards to further understanding and exploration of the planet

The Land Rover Bursary
This award provides Funding and a 110 Defender vehicle for a challenging journey.

For a full list and details of these and other annual awards visit the RGS web site here:

Scientific Exploration Society Explorer Awards

The SES provides a number of awards. Below is a list of those granted in 2017 but it is worth following up on the links to find the latest available grants or awards. 

The SES is inspired by its history to encourage "pioneers with purpose". In their won words SES awards are "designed to support inspiring leaders through scientific exploration at the frontiers of human discovery".

SES Cadogan Tate Explorers Award - £2000

The SES Gough Explorer Award - £4000

The SES Rivers Foundation Award for Health & Humanities - £5000

The SES Sir Charles Blois Explorer Award - £5000

The SES Inspirational Explorer Award - £5000

The SES Elodie Sanford Explorer Award - £8120

The Neville Shulman Explorer Award - £7000

Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund (USA & Canada)

Established by the Roger Williams Park Zoo and the Rhode Island Zoological Society in 1989, the Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund (SDCBF) was set up to support conservation programs aimed at protecting wildlife or habitats that are somehow threatened.

The Royal Society for Asian Affairs Awards

Travel and Adventure Award

The Royal Society for Asian Affairs invites applications from people between the ages of 18-25 (at the time of travel), for the RSAA Travel and Adventure Award. All successful applicants are required to lodge a 1500-word report within 6 weeks of their travel being completed, coupled with a presentation to the RSAA, accompanied by photographic records.

  • When: Annual
  • Amount: Up to £1000 and two years’ free membership of the RSAA. The award may be divided among more than one candidate if the panel of judges feels it is appropriate.
  • More info here:

The JPT Family Trust Medical Science Award

The Royal Society for Asian Affairs invites applications from those aged between 21 and 30 for this award that was established by The JPT Family Trust and focuses on medical science and its “practice in challenging environments”.

The UCL Expeditions and Travel Committee

The UCL Expeditions and Travel Committee gives funding “to enable groups of students or individual students to undertake challenging exploration and travel to areas of the world which require unique skills of organisation and, in the case of group expeditions, teamwork.” There is very much a focus on broadening the individual’s horizons and not to simply linking travel to study topics. The more challenging the better!

The grants are divided into two categories:

UCL Expedition Grants are annual awards to students enabling them to take part in challenging team exploration. 
UCL Travel Grants represent smaller awards made to those looking to engage in independent travel.

Horizon Lectures Adventure Fund

The Horizon Lectures Adventure Fund is an ingenious idea that looks to encourage and help people to go on their own “adventurous trips”. There are no real restrictions and there is no pressure to think of something extravagant in a far flung destination. The one common duty of those who do receive a grant is that they will have to present a short talk about their adventure to a Horizon Lectures audience.

Adventure Fund in Assoc. with Sidetracked Magazine

The Adventure Fund, in association with Sidetracked Magazine, is an annual grant established to support individuals or groups who display a creative and innovative approach towards adventurous travel and expeditions.

Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust

This charitable trust is ideal for young people taking a year out of their studies and looking to complete and interesting gap year.

Sean Conway adventure Scholarship 

John Muir Trust

Not only does JMT have an Award Scheme designed to encourage engagement and respect for wild places, but they also have the Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant offers this Grant to give people the opportunity to seek out life-changing experiences in wild places of the world in ways that will benefit both the person, and the wild places themselves.

Altumate Challenge

The Altumate Challenge is funded by Altum Consulting requires the application to be via video and is specifically intended for those who will raise money for charity. 

GORE-TEX® Brand Shipton/Tilman Grants

The annual GORE-TEX® Brand Shipton/Tilman Grant was established as a tribute to the spirit of adventure embodied by the endeavors of these two men. The Grant provides $20,000 each year to be divided among three to six expeditions that are most in harmony with Shipton and Tilman’s philosophies

The NOrth Face / AG Outdoor adventure grant (AUS/NZ)

For this award The North Face (Outdoor retailer) and Australian Geographic Outdoor (Magazine) have partnered to help transform your dreams of adventure into reality. 

The award breaks down into three elements - $5000 from The North Face, $3000 and an exclusive story from AG Outdoor and then $2000 worth of gear from TNF.

  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: 30th November
  • Amount: $10,000

This grant is open only to residents of Australian and New Zealand. More details can be found here:

The North Face Explore Fund

The North Face Explore Fund gives grants to non profit organisations, that are based in the U.S.A. and offer meaningful experiences in the outdoors  "specifically, experiences that instill an enduring appreciation of the outdoors, promote positive personal or societal change, and/or demonstrate environmental stewardship principles and practices". 

Grants are awarded in the following two categories:

Outdoor Experiences and Leadership Category

Environmental Stewardship Category

  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: 5th April
  • Amount: $500,000 (typically funding is between $5 - $25,000)

Mor information can be found here:

Captain Scott Society Awards

Spirit of Adventure Award

This is award is granted to "the individual or Group that best exemplifies Captain Scott's 'Spirit of Adventure'. In particular, the Society is looking for adventurous ‘firsts’". 

  • When: Annual: 
  • Closing Date: End of March
  • Amount: £2,000

Sir Vivian Fuchs Youth Award

This Award is limited to recipients in the 11 - 19 year age group and according to the Captain Scott Society "The Society is very flexible with respect to the type of activity to be undertaken but is particularly interested in character building or unusual exploits"

  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: End of March
  • Amount: £500

More details of both these can be found here:

Explorers Club

The Explorers club gives a number of grants, up to $5000 - although rarely so high - the details of which can be found below and in the link.

High School Students and College Undergraduates

This grant is to help generate and enthuse a new generation of explorers with the advancement of the scientific knowledge in mind. The average award is around $1,500.

Graduate Students and Immediate Post-Doc

A grant supporting field research as well as exploration for those embarking on a career in research. The average award is around $2,500.

The Next Challenge Expedition grant

The Next Challenge Grant describes itself as a bursary for small expeditions and is funded by donations and by Tim Moss, who runs the Next Challenge web site.

  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: End of March
  • Amount: £2000

The total pot is £2000 and typical awards would be between £100 to £200. More information here:

THE ADVENTURE QUEEN GRANT - Supported by Arc’Teryx

If you have ladybits and live in the UK, this grant is for you. They're looking for an Adventure Queen who is eager to do something big but is not sure she can pull it off. It is actually preferred if you're inexperienced. As far as method of travel for your adventure goes, it has to be travelling by human power alone: running, walking, cycling, SUP’ing, Kitesurfing, pogo’ing, rollerblading, kayaking or bellydancing. Take your pick. And remember:

"Because that stupid idea, that thing you have in your head that you think ‘I never could’ – you can, you know. It’s just about whether you choose to or not."
  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: 31st December 2017. Midnight. Before we all turn into pumpkins.
  • Amount: £1,000 cash plus £1,000 worth of Arc’Teryx kit (see site for details). 
  • More info here:

Mountaineering, Climbing, Skiing Grants


For a comprehensive list of awards and grants available specifically for women, the Women Climb website is a great resource. TH eBMC and MEF are featured in this list so I don't want to duplicate too much information. 

Grit & Rock First ascent award

This award is designed to help promote female climbers so its target is female led expeditions or expeditions with a majority female membership.

  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: End of January 
  • Amount: £5000

Mor information available here:

Copp-Dash Inspire Award

The Copp-Dash Inspire Award was commemorates by the lives of  Jonny Cops and Micah Dash and is much more than an adventure grant because it focusses also on the telling of the story, not simply the goal of the expedition. Consequently it adds value beyond the end of the expedition, providing support to assist small teams looking to tackle "difficult climbs in the great mountains of the world (before, during and after their expeditions) with financial grants and multimedia instruction to help empower them to share their ascents through a blend of storytelling elements with a wider audience".

  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: End of March
  • Amount: $20,000

More details can be found here:

THE american ALpine Club (USA)

The AAC offers both Climbing and Conservation & Research grants. There is a whole raft of different grants available; such as the Live Your Dream grant, for those looking to go to "the next level", the Cutting Edge Grant, which supports more seasoned adventurers.

For complete lists and more details on applying see these links:

Climbing / Mountaineering Grants
Conservation and Research Grants

The ALpine Ski Club

The Alpine Ski Club has two awards;

Kenneth Smith Scholarship
The scope of this Scholarship is to enable skiers and mountaineers to improve their skills or gain qualifications in touring and ski mountaineering.

Memorial Adventure Fund.
The scope of this Fund is to support ski touring and ski mountaineering by helping ski-mountaineers in undertaking expeditions that may be thought of as "worthy of encouragement and help".

  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: 15th October
  • Amount: Varies

More information available here:

The Andy Fanshawe Memorial Trust

The AFMT provides grants of up to £500 to help "disadvantaged young people to take up opportunities to develop an exciting interest in the great outdoors".


The BMC supports international mountaineering expeditions for BMC members or those who are members of an affiliated club. The idea is that the grant should make a "significant difference" so it is naturally aimed at younger climbers. Innovation is encouraged. 

Grants and Awards may vary from year to year, but here are some from the recent past and it is worth checking current grants and awards on the BMC site.

Julie Tullis Memorial Award

The Alpkit Foundation

The AKF is all about enabling people to get outdoors and enjoy the experience of wild places. Int heir own words: "Go Nice Places, Do Good Things". Funding comes from Alpkit, which donates a minimum of 10% of its annual profit to the Foundation. The amount ranges from £50 to £500 and can be for individuals, groups, schools and organisations, and could be in the form of equipment for an expedition or a cash grant for a small scale environmental project.


The Alpine Club is a private members club and so any grants are only for members. Not every member of a team applying needs to be a member but this may affect the overall value of any potential grant awarded. In their guidelines they suggest grants of between £500 - £1500 and the intention is that this amount is used to help with expedition costs, "including health, safety and permissions". 


The MEF is the world's premier charity in this field. In its history it has provided over £1,000,000 in grants from income which has been generated from its investments. Most of these grants have been to smaller expeditions however this does not preclude grants to the world's highest summits. Of particular interest are expeditions aimed at exploring lesser-known parts of the world or "world firsts". 

Principally the Mount Everest Foundation aims:

" encourage and support expeditions exploring mountain regions, and both education and research pertaining to a wide range of subjects in mountain areas, including geography, glaciology and the effects of altitude. Unless an expedition has research as its primary objective, it must have a strong exploratory element to be deemed eligible for support."

Awards include:

The Alison Chadwick Memorial Grant

This award is aimed at mainly female expeditions.

The Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust

The JWCT helps young individuals (under the age of 30) to participate in mountaineering or adventurous activities. IT is aimed at people who are not "well established" in their field.

  • When: Annual
  • Closing Date: 

Mountaineering or geological expeditions: 31 October, 30 April
Overseas gap year projects and expeditions: 31 November, 31 May

Mazama Bob Wilson Expedition Grant Application (USA & Canada)

The Mazamas is a nonprofit Mountaineering Education Organization based in Portland, Oregon. In their own words: “The purpose of the Wilson Grants is to provide annual financial support to Mazama members who are organizing and/or leading expedition climbing ventures in the high or remote mountain regions of the world.” Incidentally to become one and join a membership of around 3000 Mazamas applicants must have climbed to the summit of at least one glaciated mountain.




I quit the rat-race to live a more adventurous life. This is my journey.