Echoing the SES’s long history of worldwide exploration and pioneering leadership, the Society’s quest to encourage ‘Pioneers with Purpose’ is the primary focus of the SES Explorer Awards, which are designed to support inspirational leaders through scientific exploration at the frontiers of human discovery. The SES aims to enhance chosen careers by providing high profile Awards for projects that will also leave a lasting legacy and benefit. We seek the rising stars whose passion for environmental sustainability and conservation set them out to become major players in the next generation, 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 Colonel John Blashford-Snell expound.


SES NEVILLE SHULMAN FILM AWARD 2018 – an Award of £10,000 and the exclusive right to become the SES NEVILLE SHULMAN EXPLORER 2018

The Award is to support projects focusing on the intangible and/or tangible heritage in a foreign land. The applicant should be someone who has filmmaking knowledge or experience, and is either organising or closely involved in the planning of a scientific and/or geographical expedition and who will produce a short film in order to communicate the planning and results to a wider expedition audience

SES RIVERS FOUNDATION AWARD FOR HEALTH AND HUMANITIES 2018 – an Award of £5,000 and the exclusive right to become the SES RIVERS FOUNDATION EXPLORER 2018

The Rivers Foundation has an interest in development of the arts, culture and music, and would love to hear about projects involving development of these areas within their expedition. The focus of The SES Rivers Foundation Award 2018 aims to support projects benefiting communities in deprived and under-developed regions of the world, or where the expedition will assist in cultural development or practices within those communities.

SIR CHARLES BLOIS EXPLORER AWARD 2018 – an Award of £5,000 and the exclusive right to become the SES SIR CHARLES BLOIS EXPLORER 2018

The SES Charles Blois Explorer Award has been created to support a ‘Pioneer with Purpose’ undertaking an adventurous expedition with strong physical requirements in a challenging environment which aims to produce new science, physical or anthropological insight into little known peoples.

SES INSPIRATIONAL EXPLORER AWARD 2018 – an Award of £3,650 and the exclusive right to become the SES ‘INSPIRATIONAL’ EXPLORER 2018

The Trustees of the SES, together with foundations, organisations and individuals wishing to make smaller contributions to the SES ‘Inspiration’ Explorer Award, invite applications from 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.

SES GOUGH EXPLORER AWARD 2018 – an Award of £4,000 and the exclusive right to become the SES GOUGH EXPLORER 2018

The SES Gough Explorer Award has been created to support an individual leading an expedition, the main or partial focus of which is to carry out either medical aid or associated research within communities in developing regions of the world.

SES ELODIE SANDFORD EXPLORER AWARD 2018 – an Award of £6,500, and the exclusive right to become the SES ELODIE SANDFORD EXPLORER 2018

The SES Elodie Sandford Explorer Award has been created by family and friends in memory of Elodie, an honorary Vice-President of the Society and keen photographer. The recipient will be a person who partakes in an adventurous, innovative project who can demonstrate how the use of photography will focus attention on the needs of indigenous people living in a remote area and/or the plight of fauna and flora.


We are extremely grateful to the Sponsors for their generous support. You can see full details of the SES Explorer Awards 2018 in the
SES Explorer Awards 2018.pdf.


The list of the Explorer Awards that will be available to applicants in 2019 will be available soon.


Would you consider supporting a ‘Pioneer with Purpose’ through the SES Explorer Awards? 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 supporting 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 on to achieve great objectives, whilst carrying their supporters’ name with pride. The SES is seeking Award sponsorship for £5,000, £10,000 and £20,000 Awards or contributions of a minimum of £500 towards the SES Inspirational Explorer Award. Core funding opportunities are also available. Please do contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about the unique opportunity the SES offers.


SES Explorer Awards 2018

Image The SES Explorer Awards 2018 evening was held at 6.30pm (for 7pm) on Tuesday 22nd May at the City and Guilds Building (access via College Main Entrance), Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ.

Emily Penn (recipient of the SES Eric Hotung Medal 2018) asked the audience "What is your super-power?" All nine of the Award recipients demonstrated their 'super power' in different ways, but the common denominator was their quite inspirational passion and commitment to their chosen area of interest.

SES Chairman Neil Laughton began the evening by introducing the brilliant new SES fundraising film, kindly supported by Sean and Mary Reimer Hotung, with a call to arms featuring Neil, SES Founder and Honorary President John Blashford-Snell, and many supporters and friends all conveying the essential role the Society has today in encouraging scientific exploration. Andrew Mitchell remarked that this year the female Award recipients out-weighed the male recipients, a reversal to last years’ winners.

It was a pleasure to welcome Anirban Dutta Gupta, winner of the SES Neville Shulman Film Award 2017 from India to show his beautiful film capturing the traditional honey collecting by the Jarawa people on the Andaman Islands.

John Blashford-Snell presented SES Eric Hotung Medal 2018 to Emily Penn, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to scientific exploration. Emily and colleagues have tirelessly campaigned against plastic pollution in our oceans for over 10 years, and in the last 6 months her efforts have at last been rewarded as the issue has garnered the wide reaching interest it deserves.

Vanessa O’Brien, receiving the inaugural SES Explorer of the Year medal following her ascent of K2 last July, gave a spell-binding account of the challenges faced during her three-year attempt to reach her goal. Statistics were against her; for every 20 people who climb Everest, 4 climb K2; for every 4 who climb K2, 1 loses their life in the process; 3 times Vanessa tried to climb. Each time, she got one camp higher and that gave hope, and finally in July 2017 she reached the summit. Vanessa also highlighted the important role mountaineers play in scientific exploration - the ‘boots on the ground’ who can collect unique data at the troposphere from the most extreme locations. Don’t miss the chance to hear more about Vanessa’s fantastic achievement on Tuesday 30th October (tickets available on Eventbrite).

The SES Global Achievement Award was presented to Mark Beaumont, in recognition of his making the impossible ‘possible’ and cycling the world in an incredible 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes. Mark began by paying tribute to the passion and community spirit of the SES and all those receiving Awards during the evening before going on to explain how he set out to form a mental, physical and logistical plan to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. ‘What is your 80 days?’ Mark’s philosophy is to have the confidence to know your capability, think big, set your plan and deliver. No margin for error, just an inspirational dogged determination to succeed and incredible belief in himself and the team.

It was an outstanding evening, extraordinary people demonstrating their ‘super power’. Andrew Mitchell invited all fortunate enough to be there to stay with the SES Awards journey, and with the passion and brilliance of the evening’s winners, share his belief that with 'Pioneers with Purpose' such as those we heard on the night, we can see the world back into equilibrium.

A warm thank you to all the Award Supporters, Assessors, Applicants, Winners, the Team at SES Expedition Base, and all who contributed to the Awards journey through the year culminating in the presentation evening. Thank you also to Leatherman and TexEnergy for their generous gifts to the winners and for the raffle prizes.