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 possible allocation of financial support.

Award details

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

Recent expeditions


Príncipe Past & Present – an expedition to São Tomé and Príncipe

Expedition Cyclops - an expedition to the Cyclops Mountains of Indonesian New Guinea


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


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


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


Nationality:All nationalities
Fee status:All
Level of study:Undergraduate or graduate
Year of study:

All years

Final year students must ensure that the expedition takes place during their study, whilst they still hold their student status

Subject:All subjects (please note that certain funds have subject eligibility restrictions)
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.  

The Council will not approve expeditions where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel.

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 be submitted by email to the Expeditions Council Secretary at [email protected] by Wednesday Week 6 MT at 12 noon. The application round for travel in 2024/25 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 on the official endorsement will only be given after the May meeting. At least one representative of the team must attend an interview. The Council will also consider the possibility of allocating funds to the approved expeditions in the May meeting. 

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

Risk assessment and contingency plan

A risk assessment and contingency plan must be drawn up and signed by all members of the expedition. The link to the template will be available on this website at the end of the Michaelmas Term.

Please review the University's webpage on Overseas Travel and Fieldwork for further information and resources.

You are encouraged to sign up for a training designed for Fieldwork and overseas travellers (SSO logins required), a pre-recorded online training presentation offered by the Safety Office.  


Suitable travel insurance must be taken out by all members of the expedition. Once the risk assessment has been reviewed by the Insurance Department and the University Safety Office, expedition members may apply for the University's travel insurance as an Oxford University Exploration Club member - subject to eligibility.

Please see link Eligibility, arranging travel insurance and registering trip details for details of how to apply.

A nominated co-ordinator for the expedition group should collate the completed University Insurance applications for the trip and arrange for all of these to be signed off by the Chair of Expeditions Council before submitting them to University Insurance Office together with the previously signed off risk assessment/s at the same time.

Insurance Office will then review the submission and respond.

Points to consider before applying for University Insurance: 

Members who

  1. have graduated (will no longer be an enrolled student at the date of travel)
  2. are not registered with the University

are not eligible for the University insurance, and will have to obtain private insurance for the duration of the trip.

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 four 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. The Medical Officer needs to book an appointment early in Hilary term with the University Occupational Health Service to discuss the expedition's requirements. They will then share the advice with other members, who may then be required to attend their local travel clinics to receive the recommended vaccines and anti-malarial treatment (if needed). Further guidance on medical preparations and first aid training will be provided once the expedition has been approved. 

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 four 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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