Flag Carriers

The WINGS Flag is recognized as a symbol of excellence in discovery and knowledge and certifies the significance of its carrier's endeavor. Our flags have been carried around the globe by female scientists and explorers on missions to better understand the lessons the natural world has to offer. Flag Carriers interact with and learn from the local populations in their country of study, and enhance our knowledge of our planet’s many wonders as well as the growing crises that threaten our home.
Our community of Flag Carriers has grown to over 120 women, each with unique interests, experiences, and connections. Receiving a WINGS Flag not only provides you with funds and a platform to further your individual work, it also allows you to join the WINGS network of extraordinary women.
The WINGS Flag Carrier Program funds women who are leading original fieldwork that focuses on the natural world. This includes, but is not limited to, work with wildlife, oceans and water, pollution, climate change, agriculture, and the consequences of human impact on certain environments. The Flag Carrier Program also awards grants to women leading expeditions that focus on travel as a way to gain insight into the natural world, such as sailing across the oceans, cycling through the Himalayas, or skiing to the North or South Pole.
Flag Carrier Award grant applicants must be leading original field research or documentation related to an expedition and/or research project. Expeditions must have a clear start and end date and anticipated outcomes. Grant awards range between $2,000 - $5,000 and the amount is determined by a range of factors including the size and scope of your expedition. For more information please see the FAQs section.
WINGS Flag Carriers are dedicated to their work, driven to overcome obstacles, respectful of the people and environments they encounter, and seek to be a voice for the natural world.
If you believe that you possess these qualities and are leading an expedition within the next year, please use the button below to see the qualification requirements and begin the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Yes. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply. 

A: Yes. For logistical and communication reasons, we need our Flag Carriers to be proficient in reading and writing English, or have reliable access to someone who can read and type your email correspondence, updates, and Flag Report in English.



We do not accept applications for undergraduate research.

Master’s Students: 

We do not accept applications for MA research.

Ph.D. Students: 

  •     We do not accept applications to fund multi-year, general Ph.D. research. 
  •     We do not fund Ph.D. lab research.
  •     This is an expedition-based grant. You may qualify for a Flag Carrier Award if you are leading an expedition to supplement your Ph.D. research.

o   These are expeditions to conduct field research, including data collection that will be brought back to a lab for further study. 

·      We do not fund expeditions led by Ph.D. advisors.         

A: Absolutely! We know that many scientists and explorers gain their experience by getting out into the field. We also understand that not everyone has access to that level of higher education, so we give the same amount of consideration to applicants without advanced degrees. 

A: Our Flag Carriers have taken flags all over the world! WINGS Flags have been to all seven continents, across the oceans, as well as to some of the hottest and coldest places on the planet. We are always looking to add more locations to our Flag Carrier Map, so you are welcome to apply no matter where your expedition is taking you!

A: Our applications help us get an idea of your expedition as well as tell us about you! It will ask for details about your expeditions, including what you will be doing and what you hope to achieve with your research. You will also find places to tell us about your background, education, experiences, goals, achievements, and anything else you want to tell us about yourself. 

A: We accept applications beginning a year before the expedition, but no later than 6 weeks prior to your departure date.  Once you apply, you will receive our decision within two to three weeks. If you are chosen to receive a Flag Carrier Award, you will receive an acceptance letter via email to sign and send back. 

A: When you are accepted as a Flag Carrier you become part of our community and we hope to continue working with our Fellows and Flag Carriers in the future. You may apply for a second grant only after you have completed your expedition and have fulfilled all your first award’s requirements. The expedition you apply for must not start until a full year after the end of your previous expedition. We can never guarantee that you will be awarded another grant since it is important for us to provide the opportunity for science and exploration to as many women as we can.

A: WINGS takes several factors into consideration when awarding grant amounts

  • Overall budget and scope of your expedition
  • Number of team members (co-leads allowed)
  • WINGS budgetary considerations
  • Contribution to the field of study

While we will always take the amount requested into consideration, it may not always be possible for WINGS to fund the full amount requested, based on the factors above.


A: We understand that successful expeditions require funding for more than the expedition itself. WINGS offers unrestricted grants that can be used in any way you see fit to further your expedition goals. Past explorers have used our grants for everything from new equipment, to travel expenses, and even childcare while they are in the field. We do not require that you tell us what the grant was used for, though many of our Flag Carriers choose to tell us what our grants have helped them achieve.

A: All our Flag Carrier must:

  •     Send us bi-monthly reports that we can share with the WINGS community via our website and social media.
  •     Return your flag upon completion of your expedition.
  •     Write a Flag Report detailing your expedition. These reports give you an opportunity to share your research and will be posted on our website. Click here for an example of a past Flag Report. (Link Felicity’s 2023 FR PDF)
  •     Fulfill our media requirements, including a series of short videos to be taken at specific points during your expedition.  
  •     Take photographs of yourself and your flag while you are in the field. Feel free to have some fun with these photos and add other team members!  

A: We will do our best to honor the flag number you request – we know it means a lot to you! Circumstances such as flags in use, flags lost or damaged, or flags retired with their carriers may mean you will receive a new flag to take on your expedition. Not to worry though, taking a new flag means starting its life-long journey around the world!

A: No. Once you have completed your expedition you will return your flag so that we can send it out with another Flag Carrier. We ask that you return your flag as soon as you are able so we can keep as many flags in circulation as possible.

A: You will receive the grant 4-6 weeks before your expedition’s start date, unless you provide us with evidence that you need it 6 or more weeks out from the start of your expedition. 

A: Sometimes life (and mother nature) gets in the way. Changes and cancellations are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. You will be in communication with our Flag Program Manager who will help you deal with all these issues. 

A: Yes. Our Flag Carriers travel to some of the most remote places on the planet, including some that are not always safe. WINGS has an emergency fund to support Flag Carriers who need immediate assistance from dangerous or life-threatening situations on the expedition that they have applied for. These situations include debilitating injuries, life-threatening illnesses, civil wars or political destabilization, and natural disasters. You will be given the Flag Carrier Program Manager’s email and phone number in case an emergency occurs. 

All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. We maintain the right to use our discretion. If you have any other questions about the Flag Carrier Program, please email our Flag Carrier Program Manager, Emilie Welles, at ewelles@wingsworldquest.org