Program Officer

National Geographic Society

Washington, DC, US


The Program Officer (PO) works in close collaboration with the Senior Director of Operations, the Database Manager, and the Senior Director of the “Our Changing Planet” lens, with the primary responsibility of administrating and developing the innovative grant making for the Changing Planet lens. The PO is responsible for monitoring and overseeing the daily operations of Research, Conservation, Storytelling and Education grants in the disciplines of Geology, Oceanography, Paleontology, Physical Geography, and Sustainability. The PO ensures consistent and timely grant processing for the Changing Planet lens, and recruits new explorers and projects from the disciplines mentioned above. The PO prepares reports of grant making activities, disseminates the results of these grants to interested parties, and is the liaison between researchers, committee members, grantees, professional and conservation organizations, and internal NGS and NGP divisions. The PO promotes grantees through all NGS and NGP media divisions and communicates with grantees and NG divisions to develop story/media opportunities. The PO organizes “Closer Look” lectures by grantees and helps to shepherd grantees among editorial units when they visit the NG campus.


  1. Reviews requests for funding within the Changing Planet lens. Identifies qualified requests based on eligibility, timeliness, project plan accuracy, viability of methodology, currency and significance of the topic, and relevance to the priorities of the lens (25%)
  2. Provides feedback to potential and repeat applicants before grant proposal submission, including improvements for project planning and design. Provides technical and specific support to grantees during all phases of grant-making process and project implementation (25%)
  3. Promotes grantees through all NGS/NGP departments by notifying them of new grants and highlighting projects with good media potential. Draws on expertise to provide scientific context to interested media units. Communicates with grantees to identify story/media opportunities and stays apprised of new discoveries, high profile academic publications, and/or media-friendly results. Serves as point of contact or liaison between grantees and NG media units, and tracks media coverage of grantees (25%)
  4. Recruits potential explorers and projects through domestic and international professional conferences, meetings, special events, and site visits (10%)
  5. Supports Lens Lead (Senior Director) of the Changing Planet lens on designing strategic priorities, planning of new initiatives, and adaptively managing overall mission and metrics of grant portfolio (5%)
  6. From the grantee pool, works with Lens Lead to identify potential projects to scale up, especially those that align within the lens’ current strategic framework (5%)
  7. Provides scientific support to management team through the pipeline for scale projects related to the Changing Planet lens (5%)

Minimum Education Required

Master’s degree required; Ph.D. preferred.

Minimum Years and Type of Experience

5-7 years of related experience in Earth Sciences, Ocean Sciences, Paleontology, and/or Sustainability required.  Experience in grant-making and Ocean science and/or conservation preferred

Knowledge and Skill Requirements

Excellent multitasking and interpersonal skills essential.  Oral and written communication skills are a necessity as is knowledge of MS Office.  Knowledge of ArcGIS, Microedge GIFTS, visual media and databases preferred.  Strong understanding of scientific method, knowledge of current trends in field research is helpful along with a demonstrated interest in the conservation of the earth’s cultural and natural resources.



Responsibility percentages may vary depending on business needs.

National Geographic’s headquarters is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. In addition to a unique and dynamic work environment, National Geographic offers its employees a comprehensive benefits package, including health and dental benefits, generous vacation and leave time, a 401(k) plan, and flexible work options.  Please visit our careers site at to view this job as well as our full listing of career opportunities.  National Geographic is an Equal Opportunity Employer.