Arctic Slope
Arctic Slope

Expeditions Council

The Oxford University Expeditions Council offers funding and recognition of overseas expeditions, permitting organisers to use the title of Oxford University Expedition.

The Council meets twice a year, in November and in May. Applications are initially considered at the November meeting and recommendations made regarding any potential issues. The May meeting then ensures these recommendations have been met and the Committee agrees on the allocation of financial support.

Award details

Duration:At least five weeks; although the committee are willing to consider shorter durations
Value:Up to £2,000 depending on planned costs of the expedition

Recent expeditions


Boi Tano Forest Reserve, Ghana

The search for the Makira Moorhen

Honduras 2015: Thinking deep, exploring the role of mesophotic coral ecosystems as depth refuges

Oxford University Svalbard Expedition (Spitsbergen Retraced)

A Microbial Safari; Quantifying Bacteriophage Diversity in Tanzania


Geological mapping expedition, Kekerengu, New Zealand


Finnmark: Past, Present and Future

The Geological History of a Subducted Continent: comparison between the Liverpool land ultra-high pressure terrain, Greenland and Western Gneiss Region, Norway 

Biological eradication and cultural erasure in the Marquesas: Tale of the last lorikeet


Expedition to Usun Apau Plateau, Sarawak, Malaysia
Wandering in Other Worlds, Talking with the Spirits: Siberian Arctic Expedition


Anthroposea Marine Expedition: Marine Social Science Expedition Southwest UK - Bridging the natural and social marine sciences through sailing


Nationality:All nationalities
Fee status:All
Level of study:Undergraduate or graduate
Year of study:All years
Subject:All subjects
College:All colleges

Other information

Awards will be distributed where the Council feels the Expedition has the potential to make a substantial contribution to research in the relevant subject area(s). The Council looks favourably upon multi-disciplinary proposals and applications that involve collaboration with local institutions in the field.  

Typically the Council will not fund mandatory fieldwork undertaken as part of an undergraduate degree programme, however consideration may be given to these proposals if the scope of the mandatory project is sufficiently broadened and supplemented by further relevant research.  

How to apply

The University of Oxford Exploration Club provides support and advice to students interested in planning a University expedition, including a proposal template. Proposals should generally be submitted by email to the Expeditions Council Secretary at on Wednesday Week 6 MT. Please note that the application cycle for travel in 2023/24 is now closed.

Proposals will initially be assessed, and teams interviewed on Tuesday Week 7 MT at which point you may be asked to resubmit in January, or make changes ahead of the May meeting (Trinity Term Week 2). Final approval will only be given after the May meeting. At least one representative of the team must attend an interview.

Once you have received University approval following the May meeting, you should ensure the following requirements are completed:

Risk assessment and contingency planAll members of the expedition should draw up a risk assessment and contingency plan. This should be in a format giving a similar or greater level of detail to the Biology Final Honour School example: Safety in fieldwork overseas form [pdf]. Both of these must be signed by every member of the expedition and sent to the Secretary to the Expeditions Council,, by Friday of Week 0 of Trinity term. In the event of an emergency, the Oxford University Security Services must be notified immediately so that they may be prepared to handle any enquiries that arise but they should not be considered a source of assistance in the field.
InsuranceSuitable travel insurance must be taken out by all members of the expedition. Once the risk assessment has been approved by the Insurance Department and the University Safety Office, expedition members may apply for the University's travel insurance. If the expedition is to a country where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel, this will have to be referred in the first instance to the University Safety Office, with a copy to the Insurance Section, and for possible onward referral to the University's insurer. 
Expedition rules and bank authorisationAll members of the expedition must sign a copy of the Expedition Council rules which will be provided to successful expeditions and return these to the Council Secretary at least three weeks prior to departure. Bank details must also be provided when requested.
Medical requirements and first aid training

One member of the expedition must be nominated Medical Officer and is responsible for organising first aid training for members, as well as medical arrangements. This includes making an appointment early in Hilary term with the University Occupational Health Service to discuss the expedition's requirements.

You will also be required to submit a statement of the mandatory medical requirements and complete the first aid training form and medical requirements form. The estimated costs of medical treatment, supplies and first aid training must be included in the expedition's budget. Written confirmation that all members of the expedition have received the recommended advice, medical treatment and first aid training must be sent to the Secretary of the Expeditions Council at least two weeks prior to expedition's departure.

Failure to comply with these procedures will be reported to the Proctors and any recognition and financial support provided by the University withdrawn.
Ethical considerationAny project which involves any human participants, such as gathering opinions, images or knowledge from local people must be approved for research ethics through the University's CUREC process. Such projects may take some months for CUREC to screen. You should also familiarise yourself with any relevant local, national and international laws relating to intellectual property, the welfare of animals and the study and movement of human or other biological materials.
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