We are indebted to Neville Shulman CBE, the Rivers Foundation, Cadogan Tate, Sir Charles Blois and the Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust for their generous sponsorship of the Awards, without whom we could not have made such significant steps during the early development of the SES Explorer Awards.


Would you consider sponsoring a Pioneer with Purpose through the SES Explorer Awards? If so we would be delighted to hear from you

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There is a great opportunity for individuals and organisations alike to encourage, recognise and reward the next generation of outstanding leaders in the world of scientific exploration and sustainability.

By sponsoring a bespoke Award or series of Awards, or contributing to a collective Award you can support a rising star through their daring journey, scientific research and watch them go onto achieve great objectives whilst carrying their sponsors’ name with pride.

 Guidelines to SES Explorer Awards 2016.pdf (557 KB)


Details of the SES Explorer Awards 2016 will be announced in the Autumn, however if you are planning and expedition and would like to make a provisional enquiry, we would be delighted to hear from you!

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. Please do note that applications must be submitted by the individual instigating the expedition, we do not support NGO or other organisation lead projects. We will be looking to support leaders whose innovative expeditions combine adventure and science and offer potential for excellent communication, output and legacy.

THE SES EXPLORER AWARDS 2015 were a global search for outstanding ‘Pioneers with Purpose’.

The Park Tower Hotel, Knightsbridge was certainly the place to be if you were looking for expedition advice on May 5th 2015, as Sir Ranulph Fiennes, JBS, Andrew Mitchell, Neville Shulman, Pen Hadow, Rosie Stancer, Benedict Allen and Niall McCann amongst the wonderful guests from the world of exploration and beyond met and shared top tips with the next generation of explorers.

Sponsors Zenith, Neville Shulman, the Rivers Foundation, Cadogan Tate, the Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust and Sir Charles Blois made it all possible - collectively and generously sponsoring Awards to a total value of £25,500!


So, here are the Pioneers With Purpose who we are so proud to be supporting in 2015:

Bertie Gregory
SES Zenith Explorer Award presented to BERTIE GREGORY, leading the West Coast Wolves Expedition to Vancouver Island.

Bertie has a 1st Class Hons degree in Zoology and an impressive portfolio of work as a freelance wildlife photographer, film maker and presenter. His 2015 expedition to the west coast of Vancouver Island will take him to one of the last places on the planet where a wild land still meets a wild ocean. Here, many terrestrial animals including wild coastal wolves, have adapted their lives to take advantage of the coastal environment and Bertie's objective is that, by tracking and filming these wolves, he will use them as a flagship to preserve their epic environment.

Giulia Grimaldi
SES Neville Shulman Film Award presented to GIULIA GRIMALDI leading the Scuba Do Expedition to dive and record the Underwater Heritage of the Commander Islands.

Giulia Grimaldi is an Italian PhD student, currently a research student at UCL. In July 2015, Giulia and her Russian team mate Barbora Vigorska, will travel to the remote and little studied Russian Fast Eastern wilderness of the Commander Islands. The team will carry out marine surveys assisting Dr Anton Chichvarkhin from the Institute of Marine Biology at The Russian Academy of Sciences in his research on the state of the ecosystem, using molluscs as key bioindicators of the habitat's health. Water samples taken from all dive sites will contribute to the ASC Marine Microplastics Project. Giulia will film this expedition, with particular focus on the impact of human activity in remote areas and therefore highlighting the importance of the natural heritage of these remote locations.

John Mitchell
SES Rivers Foundation Award for Health & Humanities presented to JOHN MITCHELL, leading his expedition to study The Effect of Westernisation on the Guyanese Amerindian population.

An aspiring expedition doctor, John is a second year medical student and biomedical science graduate from the University of Aberdeen. He is leading an expedition to assess the effects of westernisation on the indigenous Amerindian population in Guyana. Multiple studies have found an increased risk of non-communicable diseases within indigenous populations who are exposed to a western diet and lifestyle. The aim of this project is therefore to assess whether the trend can be seen in Guyana by measuring physiological health risk factors, assess local attitudes to healthcare and perceptions of ideal body image in women among three study groups: The team will work closely with a group of Guyanese medical students who will initially conduct the City phase of the study, before joining John and team for the interior phase in August 2015.

Unmesh Katwate
SES Inspiration Explorer Award presented to UNMESH KATWATE, leading the Freshwater Fish of the inland Waters of the Nicobar Archipelago Expedition.

Based at the Bombay Natural History Society in Mumbai, fish biologist Unmesh Katwate has carried out extensive field work in the Western Ghats and already discovered two new freshwater fish species. In this pioneering expedition, he will lead a team to investigate the hitherto unexplored freshwater ecosystems within the dangerous terrain of the rainforests of the Great Nicobar Archipelago in the Andaman Sea. He aims to generate the first information on the island's fish diversity and threats. By involving indigenous tribal communities, his objective is that the expedition will develop stewardship and aid future conservation of the species found.

James Borrell
SES Cadogan Tate Explorer Award presented to JAMES BORRELL, leading Expedition Angano: Mapping the Impact of Forest Fragmentation.

James is a conservation biologist with a particular interest in habitat fragmentation and the genetics of rare species. His first expedition fieldwork experience was in Eastern Madagascar at the age of the 17. The unparalleled biodiversity and the challenges to conversation inspires him and sparked a passion for field research and expeditions. In late 2015, James will mount an expedition to an isolated mountain in Northern Madagascar, known locally as Avatra Dilana Marolambo. Here, habitat fragmentation has substantially altered the biogeography of the landscape by increasing the proportion of 'forest edge' habitat, altering the species community composition and drastically reducing the habitat for forest interior species. Using herpetofauna as indicators, he hopes to assess the minimum viable fragment size that can support a healthy and diverse assemblage of species. His objective is to provide research which assists conservation practitioners in managing and prioritising the surviving rainforest in Madagascar.

James was invited to speak at the new TED Talk initiative, TEDxQMUL in June 2015 and you can see his talk at In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED, the fantastic nonprofit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less), has created a programme called TEDx. TEDx is a programme of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. [.

Further details about the Award winners, their expeditions and photos from the evening will appear in due course, and of course in the autumn edition of the SES members' magazine, Sesame.


Focusing on the rising stars of science and exploration, the SES's vision is to support and encourage the next generation of scientific explorers to tackle the important issues of today, and be a part of the advancements that are essential to the environment, conservation and scientific challenges that we all face.


Rosie Stancer, Neville Shulman CBE, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Pen Hadow
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.'


An Award of £8,500, a Zenith El Primero 36 000VpH watch, and the exclusive right to become THE SES ZENITH EXPLORER 2015.

John Blashford Snell and Zenith compressed
John Blashford-Snell has proudly worn a Zenith el Primero chronograph watch for over 40 years, proving the capabilities of the watch through the most testing of conditions. The SES were therefore delighted to welcome Zenith as their first sponsor of the SES Explorer Awards. Zenith has always been about ‘Entrepreneurial spirit’, in its ability to come up with new ideas, and be a world leader in their technical development. Zenith watches have been associated with some of the world’s greatest adventurers, Roald Amundsen, Mahatma Gandhi, Prince Albert I of Monaco, Louis Leriot, John F Kennedy and most recently Felix Baumgartner.


An Award of £7,000, and the exclusive right to become THE SES NEVILLE SHULMAN EXPLORER 2015.

Neville Shulman CBE
Explorer, Mountaineer, Adventurer and Author Neville Shulman CBE is a long-time member and supporter of the SES, and we are delighted that he has included the Society amongst his many charitable interests. He is personal consultant and advisor to Ridley Scott, and with a wide and varied interest in film, culture (Vice president of the UNESCO Culture Committee) and travel.

Combining these interest, Neville has very kindly sponsored The SES Neville Shulman Film Award and will offer pre and post production mentoring if logistics allow. The Award is to support projects focusing on the intangible and / or tangible heritage in a foreign land.


An Award of £5,000, and the exclusive right to become THE SES RIVERS FOUNDATION EXPLORER 2015.

Rivers JPG

The Rivers Foundation has for many years provided support for children and young adults, both in the UK and internationally. It particularly focuses on the education, social development and medical well-being of young people. Alan Rivers, chairman of The Rivers Foundation is a long-time friend and supporter of John Blashford-Snell and the SES, and has generously donated money to purchase and school books to be distributed by John during his expeditions as well as medical equipment and supplies. The Rivers Foundation also has an interest in development of the arts, culture and music..

The Award is designed to support projects focusing on improving the lives of communities in deprived and under-developed regions of the world. It may be awarded to support expeditions with a health focus, or for anthropological projects including those with a cultural interest.


An Award of £3,000, and the exclusive right to become THE SES INSPIRATIONAL EXPLORER 2015.

The Trustees of the SES, together with Foundations, organisations and individuals wishing to make smaller contributions to the SES ‘Inspiration’ Explorer Award, currently a pool of £3,000. We are grateful to
• The Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust
• Sir Charles Blois
• The Trustees of the SES
for their generous contributions to this Award.

The SES and Sponsors of this award are targeting the most inspirational of ‘Pioneers with Purpose’, those whose expedition has that special ‘something’ be it in terms of the nature of research, the legacy it offers, or any other aspects of the expedition.


An Award of £1,000 and the exclusive right to become the ‘SES CADOGAN TATE EXPLORER 2015’.


Global removal company Cadogan Tate has been enormously helpful to the SES for many years, having moved stores to expedition equipment to destinations throughout the world. They have built a loyal following amongst individuals and organisations who expect the highest level of service and expertise.

The SES Cadogan Tate Explorer Award of £1,000 is designed to support expeditions focusing on the advancement of organic and natural practices, conservation, and preservation of our planet, life on the planet and its environment, and taking place within under-developed regions of the world.

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This Autumn/Winter, SES Members will be treated to Lectures and Debates from all areas of the globe over the next six months; from Greenland, to Honduras, to the Namib Desert and the Middle East.

Please join us on Monday 14th September at 7pm at The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge, London SW1 to hear John Hare FRGS,talk about his experiences in Northern Nigeria in the late '50s, and the background to today's conflict in the region.
James Borrell

2015 SES Cadogan Tate Explorer Award winner JAMES BORRELL, has recently spoken at the new TED Talk initiative, TEDxQMUL
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