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Newcastle University's proven record of student expeditions stretching back over 70 years.

About our expeditions

Expeditions are an excellent way of getting out into the real world and applying your knowledge, and building on it, with new experiences. Independent research expeditions are organised each year by students, for students. You'll have additional support from the University Expeditions Committee. We will help you to make your student-led research expedition a successful and rewarding experience.

Expeditions are undertaken:

  • during the university summer vacation
  • by any student on a taught degree course which continues beyond the return date of their expedition is eligible to apply for funding

Organising an overseas expedition is a challenging exercise. It requires the:

  • development of research aims and objectives
  • identification of study sites
  • acquisition of new skills and techniques
  • liaising with research counterparts overseas

An additional challenge is that overseas expeditions usually require substantial funding to be raised, including from external professional bodies and via commercial sponsorship.

If you would like to organise your own research expedition the University Expeditions Committee can offer advice and, in some cases, financial assistance to support safe and worthwhile expeditions.

Expeditions must have a duration of at least three weeks and meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Travel to a research site that involves unusual endeavour or hardship
  • Living and / or conducting research in a physically challenging environment
  • Conducting research in an environment where there are language difficulties

There are seven basic phases to organising and undertaking your own student-led research expedition.

How to apply

The University Expeditions Committee will select and award funding for students to undertake overseas expeditions only when and where it is safe and responsible for them to do so. Grants will only be awarded and funds released where full risk assessments, the UK Government, FCDO and in-country guidance is clear that it is appropriate for the proposed expedition to take place.

The application deadline for 2024 expeditions has now closed.

Expeditions Committee

The University Expeditions Committee:

  • provides help and advice with expedition planning
  • assesses proposals and awarding funding towards expedition costs via a competitive funding round in January each year

We have established an Expeditions Committee to support independent student research expedition activity. The Committee is responsible for ensuring that independent expeditions feature several or all of the following characteristics:

  • valuable experiences for Newcastle students and their counterparts from the host country
  • least possible exposure to predictable risks
  • promotion of the University's name both at home and abroad
  • lasting positive impacts for the locality and/or the host country

For advice and help with your expedition planning, please make contact as early as you like with your Faculty representative on the Expeditions Committee.

Most of the money available for expeditions comes from interest raised on the Student Exploration Appeal Fund. You must not approach any of the donors to this Fund for your expedition funds. Other funds are contributed from the Henderson Fund, replacing previous funding from the Vice-Chancellor. Please do not approach the VC's office directly for funds.


You can fund your expedition from various sources. These include:

  • Expeditions Committee funding (including alumni donations)
  • other University funding
  • external funding
  • travel scholarships

Students from the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology may apply for support from the Sonia Stonehouse Expedition Fund.

Preparing reports

What follows are guidelines only, you do not need to follow them precisely. You may well be asked to supply reports to other sponsors of your expedition, and they may provide alternative guidelines.

The Expeditions Committee will accept reports in alternative formats, but would like to see material relating to all the headings mentioned in the following sections in your submissions.

Our guidelines will help you produce professional documents that do justice to your efforts abroad, and are not necessarily the best blueprint for your report. Reports based on dissertation research projects should be just that, but please add an informative 'top' and 'tail':

  • an introduction should explain the origin and organisation of the expedition
  • a final section should give full details of your full expedition budget and expenditure, listing sponsors, donations and grants received, equipment loans and other assistance in kind. It should also include full details for your main contacts both at home and abroad, with a brief explanation of their roles.

Previous expeditions

Previous expeditions have been carried out in a wide range of countries all over the world including:

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Ethiopia
  • Greenland
  • Kazakhstan
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Peru
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia

Research projects have included:

  • tropical diseases
  • big game hunting
  • medicinal plants
  • nursing care
  • melting glaciers
  • polluted rivers
  • the sociology of forest tribes and nomadic peoples