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Expeditions and Fieldwork Committee

The responsibilities of the Expeditions and Fieldwork Committee are to guide both Council and the Senior Management Team in work concerning scientific expeditions, fieldwork and outdoor learning.

Membership (2024-25)

Steve Jones (Chair, Vice President: Expeditions and Fieldwork)
Prem Gill (Councillor)
Dr Rachel Carr (elected Committee Member)
Prof Mark Brandon (Co-opted by Council)
Dr Lucy Obolensky Co-opted by Council)
Rahim Hassanali (Co-opted by Council)

All members of the Committee will serve one fixed term of four years.

All members co-opted by the Committee will be subject to approval by Council.

Co-option to the Committee

Co-opted Committee members will usually be drawn from the Society’s membership (exceptions to this may be made for representatives of other organisations) and will be appointed through an open and transparent process which will include identifying and publishing the skills and knowledge required for each vacant post and advertising the opportunities via the Society’s website and other relevant networks. Applicants will be reviewed and appointed by the Committee Chair, Director and/or relevant member(s) of the senior management team and trustee body. The aim will be to provide a range of expertise and experience of geographical fieldwork and expeditions.

The Expeditions and Fieldwork Committee recognises that it needs to represent a diverse area of interests.

Beyond the mandate to represent field research, exploration and outdoor learning there will be sectors which the Committee will need to connect with in order to support the Society to deliver its strategy.

The purpose of co-option is to balance the skills and experiences of Expeditions and Fieldwork Council members and enhance representation across the Expeditions and Fieldwork sector while addressing diversity and inclusion.

This is likely to require a typical maximum of five co-optees, though it may be necessary on occasion to exceed this for limited periods to ensure the best balance of interests and communities is achieved.

Given the strong representation of the Society in some of these areas, two co-optee roles will be elected mirroring the well-established process for the election members to Council. Ideally this will result in either a Council member or co-opted member being elected in each year of the four-year cycle.

The remaining co-opted positions will, following a gap analysis, be made through direct appointment by the Committee, subject to ratification by Council.



The Expeditions and Fieldwork Committee shall be quorate when 50% of its members are present, one of whom must be the Vice President (Expeditions and Fieldwork) or the Councillor (Expeditions and Fieldwork), in person or through teleconferencing.



Decision-making shall be by consensus as far as possible. If a vote is required, each member (except ex-officio members) shall have one vote and the Chair shall have the casting vote.



The duties of the Committee shall be:

Policy and strategy

  • To contribute to the development of the Society’s thinking on all aspects of scientific expeditions, fieldwork and outdoor learning.

  • To advise on the prioritisation of work relating to scientific expeditions, fieldwork and outdoor learning across the Society’s teams leading to an agreed work plan.

  • To monitor progress against agreed priorities, in line with the published work plan.

  • To contribute to the creation of the Society's strategic plans, focussing on areas relating to scientific expeditions, fieldwork and outdoor learning, ensuring they are aligned with current good practice.


  • To advise the Society on the handling of controversial issues in expeditions and fieldwork where there is an overlap with the Society’s interests

  • To recommend effective engagement strategies for the communication of the Society’s thinking to those planning expeditions and fieldwork

Health and Safety

  • To have oversight of the Society’s policy regarding field-based activities where it is the ‘venture provider’ and to report annually to Council on updates to the policy and any issues arising. Procedurally, the policy should be reviewed by the committee annually. Council should review the policy every four years, aligned with each Presidential appointment.

  • To have oversight of the processes whereby fieldwork and expedition advice and guidance is given to recipients of Society grants. The processes should be reviewed by the committee annually.

  • To have oversight of the Society’s Professional Indemnity Insurance regarding information, advice and guidance given by the Society related to expeditions, fieldwork, outdoor learning and related activities. Procedurally, the policy should be reviewed as part of the annual risk review process. This process is held by the Head of Finance and Services but specialist advice and comment is invited from relevant colleagues and committees as required. Council should review the policy every four years, aligned with each Presidential appointment.


These Terms of Reference will be reviewed by the Committee every three years.

Due for review by Council in December 2025