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Fieldwork, working away, risk assessment and insurance

Many graduate students will want to carry out some fieldwork at some point which will involve undertaking an essential piece of research away from Cambridge (archival work, fieldwork or data collection).

Students planning to be away for more than two weeks – whether during term time or in the vacation periods – will need to discuss this with their supervisor and apply for leave to work away. MPhil students should only undertake fieldwork during vacations. Students granted permission to work away are considered still to be under the active supervision of their Cambridge supervisor (unless alternative arrangements have been approved), and should remain in regular contact with the supervisor and follow any guidance provided on safety and wellbeing. It is very important that the University has a record of where students are when they are not in Cambridge. For students sponsored under Tier 4 it is absolutely essential.

Leave to work away must be planned well in advance in order to allow time for applications to be reviewed. Students conducting research in locations that have an amber Foreign and Commonwealth Office warning are required to check in weekly with the Department. However, students who are nationals of the country they are conducting fieldwork in, and who have either family or friends in that country, will not be required to check in. Occasionally, students may be asked to complete further training in fieldwork safety and security.

Before leaving Cambridge on research, you must:

  1. Consult your supervisor.
  2. Complete a fieldwork risk assessment. The completed risk assessment should be signed by your supervisor and uploaded with your leave to work away application. A copy should be sent to the Departmental Administrator.
  3. Apply for any ethical approval necessary.
  4. Apply for leave to work away.
  5. Arrange travel insurance.
  6. Read the Safety Office guidance on fieldwork and working away.

You must be in receipt of an email confirming the approval of your application to work away before you leave Cambridge. Retrospective applications will not be considered.

Fieldwork data security