Program Officer

January 29, 2015

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Job Description

The National Geographic Foundation for Science and Exploration – Asia

Program Officer

The National Geographic Society has a strong legacy of supporting groundbreaking research, conservation and exploration worldwide for more than a century.  Building off of this experience, with the objective of increasing our global presence and capacity to identify and support local scientists and explorers from around the world, the National Geographic Society established the Global Exploration Funds, first in Northern Europe and then China. In 2015, the Society will launch a Global Exploration Fund for Asia with a regional hub based out of Seoul, Korea. National Geographic is currently seeking a Program Officer to lead its grantmaking efforts and other related programs in Asia. 

Working in close collaboration with National Geographic’s Science and Exploration Programs group in Washington, D.C., the Program Officer will be responsible for representing National Geographic’s Science and Exploration Programs in the region and implementing a grant program to support scientific field research, conservation and exploration throughout Asia. This hands on position includes overseeing the daily operations of the grant program, reviewing and approving preliminary grant requests in collaboration with members of the Grants Review Committee, and ensuring consistent and timely processing of full applications for the program. In addition to building out the grant program to attract the best applicants, the Program Officer will provide logistical support for grant meetings and serve as liaison to reviewers, grantees and potential grantees, professional organizations, and other National Geographic divisions, including working with communications teams to highlight grantee work for media placement. The Program Officer will help build relationships with these internal and external constituencies, develop and implement a mechanism to gather proposals from these sources, and seek out new avenues through which to reach potential grantees. The Program Officer will also assist with promotional and fundraising activities surrounding the program.


Principal responsibilities:

  • Outreach and Communication (40%): The Program Officer will be the key representative to the scientific/exploration community and other stakeholders (e.g., donors, government, public, etc.) with the regard to the grant program. He/she will work closely with colleagues in Washington, D.C., to communicate the program and engage with the scientific, conservation and exploration community in Asia to attract high-quality proposals. This entails attending workshops, seminars and conferences, and producing written material to inform the scientific/exploration community and relevant stakeholders about the grant program and NGS activities in the region. A key responsibility will be routine reporting on our explorers’ progress to NG media to ensure maximum media coverage for the projects.
  • Grant Program Management (50%):  In collaboration with National Geographic’s Science and Exploration Programs in Washington, D.C., the Program Officer will ensure the smooth operation of the grantmaking program including reviewing and approving preliminary grant requests in collaboration with the program’s review committee and ensuring consistent and timely processing of full applications for the program. This entails screening pre-proposals; preparing applications for presentation to review committees and supporting, preparing for, attending and following-up on review committee meetings as necessary; grant contracting and payment; and other duties associated with grant management.
  • Strategic Input (10%): To ensure the coordination of a multi-faceted (e.g., publishing, NG Channel, marketing, speaking events) program that includes close coordination with NG’s global teams, the Program Officer will be encouraged to provide input into NGS’ activities in Korea and elsewhere in Asia.


The ideal candidate will possess the following:

  • Degree in a scientific discipline, MS or Ph.D. preferred, plus 3-5 years work experience in a related field
  • Experience with original field research and publications, preferred
  • Ability to work effectively in a team
  • Experience with Microsoft Word and Excel, and GIFTS Grant Database are preferred
  • Experience with grant management and related outreach
  • Fluency in English and Korean; other languages considered a plus


About National Geographic

With a mission to inspire, illuminate and teach, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. The member-supported Society, which believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world, reaches over 600 million people each month through its media platforms, products and events. National Geographic has funded more than 11,000 research, conservation and exploration projects, and its education programs promote geographic literacy.

How to Apply

Qualified applicants should email a cover letter and CV to:

Dr. Rob Lee

Director, Global Exploration Fund


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