International Exploration Grants

A decade ago, the grant program was endowed under the leadership of Don Paquette and in subsequent years with funds from the NSS International Speleological Participation Fund, the Gunung Buda Project, and through the generosity of NSS Caver Ron Simmons. Over $100,000 was added to the quasi-endowment for this fund thanks to Ron.

The international Exploration Committee includes 7 members (currently Cyndie Walck, Pat Kambesis, Carol Veseley, and Ben Hutchins, with additional member search in progress). Committee members serve until resignation, and new committee members are chosen by current members.

Grant Timing and Amount

Grants will be awarded twice per year: December 20 and June 15. As such grant proposal are accepted October 30 to November 30 (for December awards) and April 30 to May 31 (for June awards), allowing  two weeks thereafter for the committee to process grant requests.

Note: The committee will no longer consider proposal received outside of the one month submission periods.

Ron Simmons Grant

One grant per year, generally the largest, may be selected as the Ron Simmons Grant in honor of Ron’s contribution to the International Exploration Fund.

Group Expenses

Grants can be used for group expenses and equipment.  Requested funds for expensive equipment (over $400) are acceptable if the equipment is intended for repeated use in multi-trip projects, but not for single use. Example expenses might include, but are not limited to: rope, survey gear, SAR gear, guides and porters, permits and permissions, in-country group transportation travel, group meals, and specialty food such as freeze dried. Group equipment does not include personal plane tickets and personal caving gear. Additional non-allowable expenses include legal expenses (permit fees excepted), indirect costs and overhead, conference travel, and capital expenses incurred prior to expedition (i.e. books, LiDAR data, etc.).

Grant Requirements and Communication

The Committee is not prepared to fund expeditions whose results are secret or to be kept from other cavers. However, specific cave location information need not be shared. There are only a few grant requirements:

  • A grant application  that meets the requirements
  • A brief summary of the results of the expedition with a few photos for the NSS web page deliverable after the expedition members return to the States.

An NSS News article or a presentation at the NSS Convention International Exploration Session on the project. Both are desired if possible.