It’s likely that once you’ve started planning your expedition your thoughts will quickly turn to how to finance the work you want to do. As well as personal contributions and fundraising there are a number of organisations who might be willing to help fund your research.

Depending on the size and scope of your expedition it’s normal that you’ll have to raise £15-20,000. You’ve got a whole year to get the funds in, but it won’t just happen without some seriously hard work. Each member of the team contributes a personal contribution (usually somewhere between £600-900 per person) which will account for around 30-40% of your budget. The rest you’ll have to raise through a combination of active fundraising and grant applications. It is often sensible to set up a fund-raising team, to share out tasks.


There are loads of ways you can start to raise money as a team. Here are a few suggestions to get you started but the more original, creative and outside-the-box the better!

  • Bag packing.
  • Bake sales.
  • Band nights / ceilidhs / club nights.
  • Expedition merchandise (hoodies, t-shirts etc for all your friends and family).
  • Fancy dress bucket collections.
  • Sponsored runs / silences / baths of beans / waxing.
  • Raffles.
  • Quizzes.

If you’re planning on asking businesses to contribute through donations (e.g. prizes for a raffle, sponsorship etc) it is good practice to take with you a letter showing your status as an official activity of the University. Dr. White or Prof. Downie can provide this for you.

When organising fund-raising events, it can be helpful to work with another expedition – to share out the work (though you also have to share out any profits!). Try to pay attention to what other groups are doing too – it’s usually better to organise one large joint event than dozens of smaller ones on the same night. Think about heading out of the West End too – you’ll often have greater success by targeting areas off the usual student route.

Grant Applications

As well as stretching your legs around Glasgow there are a number of charitable organisations who support student expedition teams. For grant applications, there is generally a deadline: make sure you don’t  miss them – they will NOT listen to excuses and you’ll only have one chance.

You often need one or two referees to write supporting letters. Approach members of staff who know you well and ask if they are willing to write references for you. Identify these referees early and give them a) plenty of information about your expedition and b) plenty of time before your application is due.

For every funding organisation you approach make sure you read guidelines very carefully. Consider:

  • Is there an application form? How many copies need to be sent?
  • Do you need referees? How many?
  • Should you send a prospectus? Does it need to be modified?
  • Are there specific conditions attached to the grant that you have considered in your application? E.g. some grants won’t give money for honours projects, or if there are no accompanying members of staff.

Please check the websites carefully for updates before you send applications to ensure that you have the most up to date info, addresses and particularly deadlines. Make sure you know what you’re applying for and when. Plan who in your team has responsibility for writing each application and be sure not to leave it too late.

Some organisations who have supported recent expeditions are listed below to get you started (if you know of any more which should be added please let us know- email

A further long list of potential funders, provided by the RGS, can be downloaded by clicking here.