How to apply
The Exploration Board meets twice a year to consider proposals for extra-curricular student expeditions and administers funds to assist with expedition costs. All expeditions supported by the Board are extra-curricular, are not for degree credit (part of a programme of study) or additional credit. Expedition teams must be able to articulate how their proposal is different from a holiday.
Expeditions must be adventurous in nature, commensurate with the ability level of the group undertaking them. They provide opportunities to live and work with other people, including those from different cultural backgrounds. They must involve self-organisation and preparation but could include participating in an activity with other groups such as a remote race/rally, trip or extra-curricular field-based scientific study, especially where this facilitates access to a restricted area.
Participants should aim to develop self-reliance, outdoor skills, and experience such that they can impart this to or inspire other students. Expeditions that involve scientific study will be supported only where the above criteria are met in addition to the research and should expect to additionally attract academic funding.
Applications are welcomed across the full spectrum of adventurous activities, involving any methods of travel.
When considering expedition proposals the Board will consider a range of criteria where not all need to be fulfilled, in no particular order:
- Adventurous activities undertaken
- Achievability of the expedition objectives
- Interaction with local communities
- Ethical considerations including the avoidance of negative environmental, social and cultural impacts
- Travel and logistics
- Level of self-organisation required
- Whether the risks of expedition activities (including those relating to travel) are manageable, without placing participants or others in undue danger
- Remoteness and exploration, including availability and practicability of rescue in the case of an emergency
- Experience of the group
- Skills to be developed or enhanced by the group
- Scientific Study
- Environmental impact of the proposal and justification of its carbon footprint in the context of the objectives
The Exploration Board will not normally support proposals to travel to locations (or which would require travel through locations) which are identified by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office as those to where either ‘no travel’ or ‘no essential travel’ is advised. Furthermore, the Exploration Board will not normally support proposals where suitable travel insurance cannot be secured at a reasonable cost (for example due to the expedition location, travel route or activities being undertaken).
The Exploration Board only provdes funding to current students of Imperail College London, and to former students where an expedition is taking place within a year of the end of their programme of study.
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 questioned 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.
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 of between £250 and £750 per student, in addition to providing a loan of any of the Board's equipment (including a satallite phone if required), as well as financial contributions to insurance and first aid training costs.
Students in receipt of a grant from the Board have to make a contribution (funded personally or via other funding sources) equal to the grant provided by the Board, generally capped at £500, and are responsible for raising the balance of the costs of the Expedition.
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.
The Board reports regularly to the Provost's Board.
Dates of meetings
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 on Wednesday 22 November 2023 for the 06 December 2023 meeting
- 17.00 on Wednesday 31 January 2024 for the 14 February 2024 meeting
The next few meetings will take place at 14.00 on:
- Wednesday 06 December 2023
- Wednesday 14 February 2024
Board equipment list
Other assorted equipment
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:
- The Alpine Ski Club
- The Andrew Croft Memorial Fund
- British Canoe Union
- The British Mountaineering Council
- Captain Scott Society - Spirit of Adventure Award
- The Lord Mayor's 800th Anniversay Awards Trust
- Mount Everest Foundation
- Old Centralians (for students in the Faculty of Engineering, apart from the departments of Materials or Earth Science and Engineering)
- RCSA application form [pdf] (for students in the Faculty of Natural Sciences)
- Royal Geographical Society
- RSMA Trust (for students in the departments of Materials or Earth Science and Engineering)
- Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
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.
After the completion of an expedition teams are required to submit a written report and photographs to be added to the archive.
A written report (in .pdf format) must be submitted to the Secretary of the Board within one month of returning from the expedition. The written report serves two main purposes: to catalogue the activities of the expedition and to provide guidance to groups (both internal and external to the College) planning an expedition in the same area and/or activity.
The report should contain the following information:
- Cover and title page
- Contents page
- Abstract or summary containing an overview of the report in one or two paragraphs, including dates
- Introduction to the expedition objectives and an overview location map
- Details of the expedition members, their roles and relevant experience
- Description of the activities undertaken and a general diary of events throughout the trip
- Detailed information regarding new routes, summits, descents etc.. which require cataloguing
- Administration and logistics, including training, travel arrangements, summary of funding/expenditure, equipment, permits/permissions, insurance, food and accommodation, communication, medical arrangements.
- Environmental and social impact assessments
- A copy of the risk assessment and emergency action plan
- Conclusion and recommendations for future similar expeditions
- Acknowledgements of advisers, sponsors, and funders
- Contact details for the expedition team
- A selection of high-quality photographs
- Appendices, which may include: Links to further digital content such as an expedition website, photographs or videos, further maps, charts or diagrams, bibliography of useful books, resources, other expedition reports, contacts or websites, inventory of equipment, list of food and other supplies, summary of financial accounts
Teams should submit up to 10 high quality photographs in landscape format which demonstrate the range of activities undertaken during the expedition.
Teams are welcome to provide other materials which can be linked to from the archive webpage, such as additional photographs, videos, blogs, social media content or an expedition website