Echoing the Scientific Exploration Society's (SES) long history of worldwide exploration and pioneering leadership, our quest to encourage ‘Pioneers with Purpose’ is the primary focus of the SES Explorer Awards, designed to support inspiring leaders through scientific exploration at the frontiers of human discovery. The SES seeks to enhance careers by providing high profile Awards for projects that will leave a lasting legacy and benefit in the field in which a winners’ expedition takes place, but also inspire a wider audience to the issues being addressed through film, photography and the pure passion of the recipient. The SES seeks the rising stars who could become major players in the next generation of explorers, willing to take on risks in a sensible way and who share the values of grit, curiosity, integrity and leadership that pioneers like SES Founder John Blashford-Snell expound.

Over the next decade, the SES aims to showcase the finest feats of contemporary explorers alongside a new generation who can be inspired by them. The SES believes 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.


Leatherman - Award Winners 2017

Photo by Mark Nortje and Design by Jacqui Sinnatt (L-R) SES Explorer Award Winners 2017: Molly Thompson, Dr Pramod Patil, Anirban Dutta Gupta, Dani Greenspan (representing Jamie Unwin), Alex Braczkowski, Rosie Stancer, Chris Poonian and Martin Holland with their Leatherman multi-tool kindly donated by Leatherman.

Chris Poonian
- an Award of £2,000 and the exclusive title ‘SES Cadogan Tate Explorer 2017’ kindly sponsored by Cadogan Tate, and presented on their behalf by Andrew Mitchell to CHRISTOPHER POONIAN, The Bedouin Coral Reef Fisheries expedition, South Sinai

Christopher is a Freelance Marine Environmental Consultant based at the University of Nottingham. Combining his long term fascination with the Bedouin people of South Sinai, his love of diving and his interest in traditional marine resources, especially coral fisheries, Christopher is leading an expedition to the South Sinai coast in July 2017. The Egyptian Government has established protected fishing areas with only cursory consultation with the Bedouin communities. Having built relationships in the region and with a team of local guides and tribal liaison colleagues, Chris will visit the intensely private and often inaccessible communities to research their established protection practices and process this data into longer term marine protection plans. As well as scientific data, he plans to write a book on the Bedouin reef protection practices, and to target SCUBA and tourist organisations within the area to communicate these invaluable traditional cultural habits.

Pramod Patil
- an Award of £4,000 and the exclusive title ‘SES Gough Explorer 2017’ kindly sponsored by Viscount Gough, and introduced and presented on his behalf by Professor Derek Alderson, Vice-President and President Elect of the Royal College of Surgeons to DR PRAMOD PATIL, ‘Clinic on a Camel’ Expedition, Thar Desert, Rajasthan

Pramod is a 31 year old Doctor of Medicine who trained at RCSM Government Medical College in India. In 2014, he decided to leave medicine and set up a ‘Whitley Fund for Nature’ supported project to establish a community conservation plan for the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. During that time, Pramod recognised how the Indian Government funded ‘settled’ medical provision was failing the nomadic pastoral communities of the region. In a return to medically motivated expedition, he now seeks to better understand the community’s health culture. With a team of local guides, the expedition will be a traditional-style camel journey through unexplored landscapes, cultures, people and issues, comparing traditional aspects of health and diseases associated with nomadic lifestyle, with a modern doctor’s perspectives.

Jamie Unwin
- an Award of £5,000 and the exclusive title ‘SES Rivers Foundation Explorer 2017’ kindly sponsored by the Rivers Foundation, and introduced and presented on their behalf by Dr John Davies, retiring Trustee of the SES to JAMES UNWIN, ‘Stand Up for Nature’ - Project Kenya

Jamie is a 21 year old zoologist and cameraman, currently studying at the University of Exeter. Using a successful expedition to Malawi last year as a model, and a healthy portfolio of wildlife filming already under his belt, Jamie and fellow zoologist, Hannah Pollock, will embark on an inspiring, educational and empowering expedition to Kenya in Autumn 2017. The initial project is to find inspirational Kenyans who, against all odds and in the face of adversity, civil unrest and poverty, have made it their mission to help conserve Kenya’s wildlife. The two plan to capture these remarkable stories in a series of short films. Using a bicycle powered cinema constructed by the pair, Jamie and Hannah will then proudly share these critical and inspiring messages across Kenya, aiming to inspire audiences both locally and wider afield of the benefits of protecting and living harmoniously alongside wildlife.

Molly Thompson 0517
- an Award of £5,000 and the exclusive title ‘SES Sir Charles Blois Explorer 2017’ kindly sponsored by Sir Charles Blois Bt, and introduced and presented on his behalf by Rosie Stancer to MOLLY THOMPSON, just home from leading The British Greenland Stauning Alps Expedition 2017

Molly has led many climbing trips and outward bound expeditions all over the world. In Croatia last year, she and her team spawned the idea of an exploration of the Central Stauning Alps in Greenland. Not only would this be a true test of their physical and mental capacity, but also an opportunity to play their part in a climate change study. By taking ground measurements from the Roslin Glacier,which can be compared to estimates from satellite data, and against similar historic measurements taken in the 1970s, the team will be able to provide a true and valuable insight into changes taking place in the region. The physical challenge to reach and navigate the glacier system, often via unexplored valleys and unclimbed peaks, all the while remaining self-sufficient will test the whole team and offer an inspiring adventure to recount upon their return.

Martin Holland
- an Award of £5,000 and the exclusive title ‘SES Inspirational Explorer 2017’ kindly sponsored by The Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust, The O’Hea Family Trust, Avocet Insurance Consultants, Orwell Securities Ltd, The Trustees of the Scientific Exploration Society and introduced and presented by Neil Laughton to MARTIN HOLLAND, The Sanduki Pinacle Expedition, Borneo

Martin is an explorer, conservationist, communicator and founder of The Heart of Borneo Project, Beyond Exploration, and Expedition Base Camp. He has led over a dozen expeditions to Borneo, and it was during an aerial reconnaissance for his very first expedition that he spotted the iconic Sanduki Pinnacle rising from the forest. As a rock climber, Martin relishes the physical challenge of leading a local team of climbers to this pinnacle. As a conservationist, he also recognises the potential for far greater impact; the forests of Borneo are some of the oldest and most diverse anywhere on earth, but they are also among the most threatened. The expedition will see an Indonesian first ascent of the pinnacle while a team of local scientists survey the biodiversity within the surrounding unexplored forests, all documented to capture imagination and raise awareness and empathy for the forests of Borneo and their plight. Martin will combine his skills in communication and technology to tell that story.

Alex Braczkow
- an Award of £8,120 and the exclusive title ‘SES Elodie Sandford Explorer 2017’, established and generously supported by the family and friends of Elodie Sandford and introduced by Paul Sandford and awarded to ALEKSANDER BRACZKOWSKI, The Status and Conflict of Large Carnivores in Uganda

Aleksander is a 29 year old big cat biologist originally from South Africa. He has an MSc in
Zoology from Oxford, and is currently a doctoral researcher based at the University of Queensland, Australia. For the last 8 years, he has studied, filmed and photographed the worlds’ big cats in numerous locations including Mumbai, Sri Lanka and Zambia. In his adventurous expedition to the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, Alex will blend his two skills of science and photography/film-making to implement an innovative and accurate estimate of numbers of big cats, and at the same time, establish the first carnivore - farmer risk map to deliver to local authorities. By training two local students in these projects, he seeks to inspire the youth within Uganda through locally led initiatives, which he finds are much lacking in the sub-Saharan landscape.

Anirban Dutta Gupta
- an Award of £7,000 and the exclusive title ‘SES Neville Shulman Explorer 2017’ kindly sponsored and presented by Neville to ANIRBAN DUTTA GUPTA, Jarawa and Honey - the Andaman Islands, India

Anirban is a naturalist and film-maker from Mumbai, India. For the last decade, he has built a strong collaboration with Dr Vishvajit Pandya and the Andaman and Nicobar Tribal Research Institute (ANTRI) in Port Blair, and spent much time studying and documenting the culture of various indigenous communities, including the hunter-gatherer Onge and Jarawa tribe in the jungles of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Anirban will accompany ANTRI researchers to the Islands to venture deeper into the jungle and work with the Jarawa community to observe, document and archive the complex and fascinating honey collecting process as part of building the database for traditional practices as done and taught to younger generations, and use honey as a portal to explore the indigenous knowledge, culture and social systems. Capturing and documenting this way of life is essential to archiving the unique worldview for the communities themselves, researchers and policy makers.


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