The Board meets twice a year to consider expedition proposals, this page contains the information you need to submit a proposal and to apply.

Submit your proposal

Submit your proposal

Every student expedition that wishes to use the College’s name must submit detailed proposals including a budget, itinerary, training schedule, risk assessment to the Exploration Board.

Every expedition is normally interrogated on their submission on three occasions, twice by the full Board and lastly by the officers of the Board in the summer just prior to the departure of the expedition.

Sometimes an expedition may only be interrogated twice, once by the full Board and once by the officers; this would occur when the proposals emerged too late to be reviewed by the Board at its first meeting of the session.

The Board will give approval only if it is satisfied with the planning and preparation and readiness of the students and the viability of the proposals. Approval usually involves making a grant towards the costs of the expedition.

Students have to make a personal contribution of at least £500 each to the expedition and are responsible for raising the balance of the costs. This will involve presentations to other bodies such as the Royal Geographical Society, a task that is enhanced with the support of the Exploration Board.

Expeditions will primarily comprise current Imperial College students but the Board may approve the inclusion of students from other universities, former Imperial students and other appropriate persons. Expeditions will sometimes include College staff, but the expedition must primarily be student oriented.

All expedition participants must complete two forms (download here in pdf format), providing details of their passport, nationality, religion, address and next of kin and sign an agreement with the Board. These forms are held by the Board’s Secretary, the Board’s Treasurer and College Security while the expedition is in the field in the event of any emergency or crisis where expedition members may require assistance.

The Board reports regularly to the Provost's Board.

Application information

Dates of meetings 2016/17

The Board meets twice a year to consider proposals submitted to it and decisions to recognise expeditions as official College ventures are usually made at a meeting held in the autumn term.

In many cases recognition carries with it a grant towards the cost (most expeditions also receive support in the form of money or equipment from sources outside the College). A variety of equipment is held for loan to approved expeditions and the Board accepts responsibility for adequately insuring the personnel and equipment for these expeditions.

Please note: Proposals for expeditions must reach the Secretary as follows.

  • 17.00 Friday 25 November 2016 for the December meeting
  • 17.00 Friday 3 February 2017 for the February meeting

The next two meetings will take place at 14.00 on:

  • Wednesday 7 December 2016
  • Wednesday 15 February 2017

Board equipment list


  • 1 Terra Nova Quasar
  • 1 Terra Nova Quasar etc
  • 1 Terra Nova Ultra Quasar
  • 8 Vango Force Ten


  • 5 Prima Optimus paraffin stoves
  • 2 Camping Gaz (Butane)
  • 1 MSR XGK-11 Shaker Jet
  • 2 MSR Dragonfly

Other assorted equipment

  • 1 MSR Water Filter
  • 7 Cooksets (pots and pans)
  • 5 Coleman Lanterns (Kerosene)
  • 1 10-litre Jerrican
  • 5 50-litre Drums (Used previously to carry food supplies and/or equipment)
  • 6 Mallets
  • 2 Hatchets
  • 1 Saw
  • 1 Salinity Meter

Rules and regulations

These rules and notes are for the guidance of expeditions approved by the Exploration Board.

1. Organisation of expedition

  • 1.1 Expeditions will be expected to elect a designated Leader and Treasurer who should not, under normal circumstances, be the same person.
  • 1.2 The Leader of the party is responsible for the expedition at all times on all aspects including overall responsibility for any scientific aims of the expedition. Members of the party must support the Leader throughout and in the event of disagreement in the field must abide by the Leader’s decision.
  • 1.3 Any membership changes or significant changes in plans as approved by the Board should be communicated to the Secretary of the Board immediately for reconsideration.

2. Preliminary and final reports

  • 2.1The Exploration Board is required as part of its mandate to publicise the results of approved expeditions. The Board’s approval, and any monetary aid, is granted on the strict condition that expeditions produce a preliminary report and a final report as follows:
    • a. A preliminary report, including a financial statement, on the expedition’s activities, should be available by mid-November, for submission to the Board’s Autumn Term meeting in late November or early December.
    • b. A final report, consisting of a comprehensive description of the venture, including full discussion of any scientific work, should be completed within one year of the expedition’s return. In certain circumstances the Board is prepared to meet reasonable costs of the production of final reports.
  • 2.2 It is emphasised that the writing and production of Reports is the joint responsibility of all members of the expedition.

3. Finance

  • 3.1 Financial arrangements are made in co-operation with the College Finance Division through the Board’s Honorary Treasurer. In practice, the College acts as the expedition’s banker. The expedition’s current financial position may be inspected at any time by arrangement with the Board’s Treasurer.
  • 3.2 Small sums may be drawn in petty cash and should be accounted for before further petty cash is issued. Larger sums may be drawn on request to meet special cash payments.
  • 3.3 All members will make a minimum personal contribution of £500 towards the expedition before leaving the country (cheques should be made payable to Imperial College). To avoid members being faced with a heavy bill just prior to leaving the country, the Board is willing to accept payment from individual members by instalment from the time of approval of the expedition.
  • 3.4 If persons who are not members of Imperial College are invited to take part in an Imperial College expedition, appropriate financial contributions towards the cost of the expedition, including insurance cover, may be fixed by the Board when the expedition is approved.
  • 3.5 The Board’s Treasurer should be consulted, at least two weeks before the expedition leaves, to make a final check of the financial position. Arrangements for foreign currency, traveller’s cheques etc., can then be made.
  • 3.6 All outstanding accounts should be settled before departure but if this is not possible any relevant correspondence should be left with the Board’s Treasurer, to arrange payment during the expedition’s absence.
  • 3.7 On return, the expedition’s treasurer must agree accounts for the expedition with the Board’s Treasurer by mid-November. All expenses incurred by the Board on behalf of the expedition or its members and any loan to the expedition must be repaid in full by mid-November.
  • 3.8 The Board does not accept responsibility for overspending by expeditions. If any expedition does overspend, the members must be prepared to pay off any deficit themselves. In special cases, when unavoidable circumstances result in additional expenses, the Board might be prepared to make some contribution towards a deficit.

4. Insurance

  • 4.1 The Board will take out personal accident and medical insurance for all Imperial College members of approved expeditions. Non-Imperial College members must have comparable insurance cover, to be approved by the Board’s Treasurer.
  • 4.2 Expedition equipment (other than personal items) is also insured at the Board’s expense. Personal equipment can also be insured by the Board, but at individuals’ expense.
  • 4.3 The Board’s Treasurer must be given full particulars at least one week before departure of (1) personnel, (2) scientific and other equipment to be insured, and (3) details of the expedition’s itinerary.
  • 4.4 Insurance of personnel and equipment is arranged for a definite period of time to cover the expected absence of the expedition. It is most important that the Board’s Treasurer should be informed immediately if there is a delay in the return of the expedition party or equipment and that he be informed when the members of the party have returned and immediately the equipment has been returned if it travels separately.
  • 4.5 All claims on insured equipment should be made to the Board’s Treasurer within 30 days of the expedition’s return.

5. Equipment

  • 5.1 Because of the variety of equipment required by expeditions, it has been found easier for each expedition to purchase, or to borrow, its own specialist equipment separately.
  • 5.2 The Board would be prepared to consider the re-purchase of items of personal equipment suitable for use on other expeditions after the expedition’s return.
  • 5.3 The Board possesses a certain amount of non-perishable equipment which includes items such as tents, stoves, pack frames, jerri-cans, lanterns, ropes, etc., which may be loaned to expeditions. Responsibility for the maintenance and storage of the equipment lies with the Board’s Equipment Officer, to whom applications for equipment should be made. A small deposit will be charged against items borrowed.
  • 5.4 Unless otherwise agreed, any equipment bought by the expedition or donated in kind should be returned to the Board for future use. In some cases, the equipment may be purchased by members of the expedition, at a rate to be arranged with the Board.

6. Medical supplies

  • 6.1 A designated doctor in the College Health Service will be pleased to give advice on medical supplies and health requirements. It is very important to discuss possible vaccination requirements well in advance of travel.
  • 6.2 It is sometimes possible to obtain medical supplies from pharmaceutical manufacturers at substantial discount or as gifts. For drugs which normally require a prescription it is necessary to obtain a letter from the College Health Service.

7. The College ordering system

If desired, use may be made of the College ordering system when making purchases for an expedition approved by the Board. Appropriate arrangements can be made through the Board’s Treasurer.

8. Customs procedure

  • 8.1 Personal advice can be obtained on the following from the Board’s Treasurer in the Finance Division (ext. 48713).
  • 8.2 Full lists of stores and equipment to be taken out of the country should be declared to H.M. Customs at the port of departure before leaving. Contact should be made with H.M. Customs well in advance to check on their requirements. Failure to do this may lead to delay in departure. It is necessary to submit similar lists to the Customs of the country to be visited and it is therefore convenient to have several copies.
  • 8.3 It is also advisable to hold a covering declaration to the effect that all the consumable goods are for use by the expedition only and that other equipment will be returned to the country of origin at the end of the expedition.
  • 8.4 Inquiries regarding the particular requirements for the country to be visited or those passed through should be made beforehand with the appropriate national authorities.
  • 8.5 There are certain regulations regarding bringing fauna and flora into this country and often for removing them from the country of origin. Expeditions are advised to find out the position relevant to their situation.
  • 8.6 Duty on tobacco, cigarettes, spirits etc., may be avoided if they are declared to H.M. Customs at the port of departure. Full sailing particulars should be given and the goods will be collected in bond.

9. Copyright

The Board’s permission must first be obtained before making public in any form, or by any medium, any information relating to the expedition. The Board will not unreasonably withhold such permission. However, acknowledgement of the Exploration Board’s help is expected. In the case of scientific results published in scientific journals the granting of such permission is merely a formality.

10. Form of agreement and permission

  • 10.1 Approval of an expedition is conditional upon all members of that expedition signing the Form of Agreement and the expedition having made application for the necessary permission from the Government of the country to be visited.
  • 10.2 Approval of an expedition entitles use of the name of the College and to indicate approval publicly; it does not entitle an expedition to claim sponsorship by the College.
  • 10.3 The granting of recognition to an expedition by the Exploration Board gives that expedition the right to use such recognition in support of applications to the Royal Geographical Society, Trust Funds and Companies, etc. It also confers on the expedition members the obligation to abide by the terms of the Form of Agreement and the Rules and Guidance Notes.

11. Current officers of the Exploration Board

Sources of funding

Once the Exploration Board has granted full approval to a student expedition, a financial grant will normally be made by the Board.

This will usually facilitate application to other potential sources some of which are listed here:

Other potential sources of funds and support will be industry, firms supplying expedition equipment, BBC, Newspapers and Radio Stations local to expedition participants' home towns, former schools of expedition participants.