Established in 1956, the Expeditions and Geographical Fieldwork Grants are the Society’s longest-standing annual grants programme. These small grants work to advance geographical science by enabling researchers to complete projects in the field, often in challenging environments. For many Fellows and members these grants are both their first contact with the Society and their first direct exposure to field research and expeditions.
Over the last 60 years 11,500 team members have been directly supported through the Expeditions and Geographical Fieldwork Grants, along with countless in-country participants. Students and researchers from 56 UK universities, as well as groups from schools, the armed forces and other organisations, have participated in projects in 148 countries across all seven continents.
Field research supported by Geographical Fieldwork Grants this year includes, among others, projects in Iceland, Canada, Madagascar, Chile and Cambodia.
Complementing these grants is Explore, which is now entering its 40th year. Many of those applying for grants from the Society will have attended Explore the previous year, gaining in-depth advice and the network of contacts needed by field researchers and those planning expeditions.
Taking place over the weekend of 18–20 November, this year’s Explore will bring together over 90 leading field scientists and explorers to provide inspiration and advice on everything from expedition planning and logistics, to research design and how best to communicate results through social media, photography and art. Leaders of returning expeditions will be on hand to share their knowledge with those attending.
It is in this spirit of supporting the next generation that the Society is planning a celebration event for all past Expeditions and Geographical Fieldwork Grant recipients, on 23 September. A reunion event for previous speakers and attendees on 18 November will mark Explore’s 40th anniversary.
Through these celebrations, the Society is hoping to profile the support and advice it provides, reconnect past grant recipients and Explore attendees with each other and the Society, recognise and celebrate the transformative impact grants have had on the lives of many Fellows, and raise money for its grants appeal.