Research Grants

Research Grants are given to qualified individuals or teams who are members of the NSS by the time the proposal is submitted for research-support in cave-related branches of study. This includes, but is not limited to, natural sciences (e.g., cave biology, geology, paleontology, and hydrology), social sciences (e.g., archaeology), and the humanities (e.g., speleological history). We also welcome interdisciplinary proposals. Grants applications will be evaluated for their   potential to generate new information and insights that are suitable for submission to peer-reviewed publications. By accepting a grant, the recipient(s) also accepts his/her responsibility for acknowledging NSS financial support in all publications and public presentations of the research funded.

Ethical Standards

Any researcher working on a NSS-funded project assumes the responsibility of complying with all local, state, and federal laws regarding research and collecting permits, anywhere in the world. Researchers will also comply with all ethical standards of their field dealing with issues of academic misconduct. We will also require that researchers adhere to the ethical standards regarding cave conservation as stated in NSS policies.


Results of NSS-funded projects can be published in any outlet at the researcher(s) discretion. The NSS reserves the right to publicize the abstracts of those research proposals the NSS has funded in any of its publications and/or electronic outlets such as the NSS News, the Journal of Karst and Cave Studies, and the NSS web pages.


There are no application forms. Applications should follow the standard format of : Title, Name(s) of the Researcher(s), their affiliations (if appropriate) and NSS number(s), Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Expected Results, Timetable, and Budget. All applications must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae of the principal investigator(s) including a publication list. List peer-reviewed papers separately. Applications should be submitted to the Chair of the RAC, electronically where possible (Word or Adobe Acrobat file preferred).

RAC grants range up to $1500, average $500-$1000, and are for one year. Proposal budgets should indicate the amount and source of additional funding received or requested.


Proposals may be submmitted at any time. The RAC will make funding decisions twice annually, in January and June. Proposals should be received at least one month in advance to be considered.


All grantees as expected to submit a report one  year after the grant has been approved.  Grantees are expected to send the RAC Chair a copy of any publication(s) derived from work funded by the NSS.