Earthwatch: Scientists Working with Us

Earthwatch’s research proposal review process is guided by our organization’s mission of engaging people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the action necessary for a sustainable environment.

We evaluate proposals based on scientific merit, appropriateness of volunteer activities, expected project outcomes and impacts, and safety and logistical viability.

Request for Proposals Download RFP
Ocean Ecosystems Program PDF Download
Freshwater Ecosystems Program PDF Download
Terrestrial Ecosystems Program PDF Download
Urban Ecosystems Program PDF Download
Sustainable Agriculture and Forest Ecosystems Program PDF Download
Earthwatch Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba PDF Download
US Pacific Coastal Marine Ecology PDF Download

Harnessing the Power of Citizen Science to Address Global Change

For over 40 years, in order to understand and find sustainable ways to address global change, Earthwatch has sent researchers into the field assisted by citizen scientists. Participation by volunteers increases the broader impacts of the research we support. Citizen scientists return home with a deeper understanding of what is at stake and greater commitment to address conservation challenges.

To fit our citizen scientist model, all proposed projects must:

  • Have a 3-year or longer duration (longer-term research may receive priority support);
  • Incorporate field-based research;
  • Have data gathered primarily by citizen scientist volunteers recruited by Earthwatch;
  • Field 4 to 10 teams per year that span 7 to 14 days, each accommodating from 4 up to 20 volunteers per team;
  • Provide housing for volunteers within a reasonable distance from the research site;
  • Be open to graduate, college, and/or high school student participation;
  • Be run in English, with all communications and supporting documents in English; and
  • Have a strong interest in engaging with citizen science volunteers and educating each team of Earthwatch volunteers about the project’s science and its relevance.


We issue annual requests for proposals (RFPs). We work with principal investigators to develop successful projects over an 18 month period prior to initiation of the field aspect of the project. For further information regarding the proposal timeline, please contact the Earthwatch Research Department at


Annual grants cover project expenses while in the field including: equipment (limited), tools, and supplies; research permits; scientist transport to the field; support staff; food and housing for principal investigators, staff, and Earthwatch participants. Grants do not cover scientist salaries, student tuition, overhead, capital equipment, and post-expedition data analysis.

Research projects are tenable for three years and potentially renewable beyond that period. All projects are subject to an annual performance review.

Submit a Pre-Proposal

Puerto Ricos Rainforest

Earthwatch will select pre-proposals for development into full research proposals. To submit a pre-proposal, click here.

Funding FAQs

Investigating Whales and Dolphins of the Norwegian Arctic

For answers to commonly asked questions regarding grants click here.