The Scientific Exploration Society is a UK-based charity (Reg No 267410) founded in 1969 by Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE and his colleagues. As a non-profit making organisation we support a worldwide programme of scientific expeditions focusing on scientific, conservation, education and community aid projects.

Today, the focus of the SES is on delivering outstanding events and experiences to our membership, plus inspiring and supporting - through the SES Explorer Awards - the next generation of ground breaking 'Pioneers with Purpose'.


Pioneers with Purpose continues through the SES Explorer Awards.

By supporting the next generation of explorers who are working at the frontline of exploration, and benefiting local communities in the process, we seek the rising stars who could become major players in the next generation. These explorers will be willing to take on risks in a sensible way and who share the values of leadership, integrity, curiosity and sheer grit found in true exploration pioneers like SES Founder Col John Blashford-Snell.

Our aim over the next decade is to create the equivalent of the ‘Oscars of Exploration’; an opportunity to showcase the finest feats of contemporary explorers alongside a new generation who can be inspired by them. We believe the values expressed through the best kind of leadership, exposing integrity, understanding risk, pursuing scientific excellence and endeavour, are all values that the world urgently needs today to navigate the different choices facing humanity.


Photo shows Andrew Mitchell hosting a Q&A with the SES Explorer Award recipients. Photograph courtesy of Mark Nox Photography. www.marknox.com

From left to right: John Mitchell, SES Rivers Foundation Explorer 2015, Giulia Grimaldi, SES Neville Shulman Film Award winner 2015, Aida Cuni Sanchez, SES Neville Shulman Award winner 2016, Stephen Spencer, SES Rivers Foundation Explorer 2016, James Borrell, SES Cadogan Tate Explorer 2015.

Click here to see the Pioneers with Purpose who have received SES Explorer Awards http://www.ses-explore.org/news_detail.php?article=17.


Col John Blashford-Snell, Honorary President, SES. - 'Exploration today is all about advancement; we aim to give people the opportunity to explore their particular areas of interest first hand, to discover what is happening and gain the knowledge and understanding to do something to help.'
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Honorary Vice President, SES - 'I have been delighted to follow progress, and to hear of the many inspiring young people who have applied for the SES Explorer Awards, showing that there are still many great opportunities for daring adventure and valuable scientific research to merge into great expeditions’.
Pen Hadow - 'Never has it been more urgent or important to understand better how the increasingly stressed natural world works, given that we entirely depend on it for our existence. The SES Explorer Awards recognise the significant role today's explorers can play in investigating and communicating the major social and environmental issues of our time.'
Rosie Stancer- “The SES is to be applauded in its initiative for throwing open the gates to plucky young explorers to go out into the unknown, meet fresh challenges and inspiring others through their own achievements. Such opportunities will yield a rich legacy of
learning and continue to uphold our proud heritage of exploration "

Neil Laughton- “JBS and the SES were instrumental in supporting my desire to travel and explore the world. As a direct result my life has been tremendously exciting, culminating in my achieving the Explorers Grand Slam. This is a wonderful opportunity for young and aspiring adventurers of the next generation.”
Monty Halls - “It is a commonly held misconception that the days of the great exploratory expeditions are over. Programmes such as the SES Explorer Awards are vital to fuel the efforts of young explorers, to facilitate the projects of the next generation of expedition leaders, and to continue the long and proud British tradition of stepping off the map"



We are delighted to announce that significant further donations have been received from the family and friends of Elodie. It has therefore been agreed that:
The final total for this Award is now £7,700
The closing date for applications for this Award is extended to 1200GMT on 31st January 2017
The previously advertised SES Elodie Sandford Explorer Award of £4,000 has been replaced by this Award
Those who have previously expressed interest will be contacted with the updated details, and new enquiries for this Award are welcome.
Full details www.ses-explore.org/awards

For the last 5 years, Jacki Hill-Murphy has recreated the journeys of some of the most amazing unsung female adventuresses in history. Join us to hear the incredible tales of the amazing women who have inspired her. http://www.ses-explore.org/news_detail.php?article=351

CALLING ALL RUNNERS! London Marathon - 2 places still available!! http://www.ses-explore.org/intranet/news.php?cat=1&mod=377&admin=true

SES Explorer Awards 11th May 2017. This year, moving to a larger venue at the Royal College of Surgeons, London with SES Honorary Vice-President Neil Laughton as Guest of Honour. A top event in our calendar - don’t miss it!

See our events page for further details http://www.ses-explore.org/news


SES Inspirational Explorer 2016 Roshan Kumar returns home to Kathmandu. Find out about his heroic efforts in the Nepalese elephant corridor http://www.ses-explore.org/news_detail.php?article=383


The Launch of the SES Explorer Awards 2017 With just over a week until the closing date we are very encouraged by the budding Pioneers with Purpose who have contacted us to tell us about their expedition plans. The 7 Awards have been created by the generous support of Neville Shulman CBE, Cadogan Tate, the Rivers Foundation, Viscount Gough, Sir Charles Blois, the family and friends of Elodie Sandford and those who have so generously contributed to the SES Inspirational Explorer Award 2017. We are extremely grateful to all Award supporters and also to the Awards Assessment committee who have pledged their time to read and evaluate the applications! http://www.ses-explore.org/awards

Dr Andrew Whitworth - SES Cadogan Tate Explorer 2016 is in the Cerros del Sira; find out about his amazing expedition here http://www.ses-explore.org/news_detail.php?article=376

If you would like to help us continue the Society's work, please click here to donate.


By becoming a member of the Scientific Exploration Society, you are part of a team which is supporting tomorrow's great explorers and celebrating today's exploration pioneers. For costs and how to join click here.

In essence, SES membership entitles you to:

  • Advance notice of forthcoming expeditions.
  • Details of our regular lecture series given by leading explorers which are held at the Park Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge in their Exploration Suite. This is a great way to meet like-minded people on an informal basis
  • Entry to all ‘2015 Exploration at the Frontline’ panel based discussion events held at the Frontline Club, Paddington, London.
  • Invites to the Frontline Club monthly ‘Members’ Drinks, sponsored by Chivas!
  • SESAME, the SES magazine is published biannually and much loved by members.
  • Expert help and advice with travel plans
  • 10% Discount With Nathan Beard 'Wild Ventures' for SES Members when arranging a bespoke venture.
  • 15% discount on purchases from Cotswold Outdoor
  • 20% discount on online purchases from Power Traveller
  • A free 30 minute introductory session and 25% off subsequent Speaking Coaching sessions with Wayne Alexander from AchieveBetter.
  • Discounted subscriber prices and access to the extensive range of remote support services offered by leading international health charity InterHealth
  • SES books, DVDs, videos and merchandise at discount prices
Latest Blogs

JBS and Kazakh Golden Eagle
Susannah Redman
26th Jul 2016
Col. John Blashford-Snell's Mongolian Adventure 2016>

Sally Reid
22nd Feb 2016
Col. John Blashford-Snell's Colombia 2016 Expedition>

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