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Fieldwork and Overseas Travel

When planning to travel abroad on University business all staff are required to follow the University procedures for Fieldwork, as set out in the Fieldwork Code of Practice.

The University defines Fieldwork as; 

Any work carried out by staff or students for the purposes of teaching, research or other activities while representing the institution off-site. This definition will therefore include activities as diverse as attendance at meetings, conferences and recruitment fairs, or undertaking social science interviews, as well as activities associated with the term “fieldwork” such as survey/collection work carried out by geography students or biologists. The definition also includes Global Hope overseas trips. 

The University has a duty of care to staff and students travelling abroad on University activities and it is a requirement that a risk assessment is completed before any overseas work related travel takes place. A risk assessment ensures that appropriate action has been taken to identify and mitigate risks wherever possible and to ensure adequate advance preparations are made. 

Risk assessments are a requirement regardless of the number of people travelling abroad. Where staff are travelling alone there is still a requirement to complete a risk assessment however the documentation and overall process can be streamlined to reflect the level of risk associated with the trip.

Risk assessments for Fieldwork activities are required by the University's insurers as a condition of the insurance cover that is granted to most staff for the duration of their trip. Staff confirming insurance arrangements through the University's Finance Office will need to demonstrate that;

  • a suitably detailed risk assessment has been completed in advance of departure, covering all participants (including, where applicable, students);
  • participants health or medical conditions have been considered as part of the risk assessment;
  • the trip has been authorised and approved by the relevant Head of Department (for low risk trips);
  • for medium/ higher risk trips the risk assessment documentation reflects the level of risk and has been signed off by the Faculty Dean.  

Staff should use the Fieldwork Travel Plan and Risk Assessment to complete this process.


How to Complete a Risk Assessment 

All staff must complete a risk assessment covering their trip and this should be done when compiling their itinerary and planning their travel arrangements. For guidance on the general risk assessment process, please see the Risk Assessment pages.  

Risk Assessment Templates

Fieldwork Travel Plan and Risk Assessment

Risk Matrix

Fieldwork and Overseas Travel Health Questionnaire


Useful Information 

Staff Travel and Insurance Frequently Asked Questions 

Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Travel Advice Service 

Fit for Travel - Travel Health Information for people travelling abroad from the UK 

Know Before You Go - Stay Healthy and Safe Abroad  

The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Map of World Laws - ILGA

British Council for International Cultural Relations

Travel Illnesses and Vaccinations - NHS Choices

Travel Health Pro - Health information by Country