Foreign Travel

The University is responsible for the welfare and safety of its employees and students when they undertake 'university activities' away from Oxford as well as within Oxford. The Safety Office requires a formal risk assessment and approval from the Head of Department in advance whenever such activities involve a significant element of risk, although the circumstances that trigger the requirement arise very infrequently in mathematics, if at all. Nonetheless everyone should be aware of their existence.

Travel Insurance for University Staff and Students

The University has a scheme to provide cover for the employee/student and their personal belongings while travelling on University business. Full details of the scheme can be found on the University insurance web site.

Cover under the policy is subject to the following conditions:

  • All cover is granted for travel on University business only
  • Cover is based on departure from and return to the UK
  • Cover can also apply for travel within the UK
  • All travellers must meet the requirements of the University Safety Office
  • In some circumstances a full risk assessment must be completed by the traveller and approved by Head of Department in accordance with the Safety Office requirements

Cover is also dependent on complying with the advice given on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel website.

If you wish to apply for insurance cover under the scheme please complete the travel insurance application form (available at and return it to the Head of Administration ( via Sally Mullins. Students need to have the risk assessment section countersigned by their supervisor.

Further Information on Risk Assessments

Field work

The rules are drafted to cover such activities as geological field trips, and they exclude (as being 'low risk') visits to other universities, conferences, and placements with employers who have their own functioning health and safety regimes. It is unlikely, but not inconceivable, that anyone in the department would organise an activity that fell outside the scope of these exclusions.

Travel to 'unsafe regions'

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to certain countries and to certain regions within countries.

Travel against Foreign Office advice involves a significant element of risk.

It is not always entirely clear whether a journey is being undertaken on behalf of the University, a college, some other organization, or for purely personal reasons. Often it involves a mixture. However, it should certainly be regarded as being for a 'university purpose' if it is undertaken on the advice, for example, of a graduate's supervisor or at the direction of someone in the University with managerial responsibilities (this would arise when a post-doc is sent to a conference); it is also a `university activity' if it is funded by the University or from money that passes through university accounts. Otherwise there is an element of choice. If you are planning to travel to a region on the Foreign Office list, then you should be clear about whether or not the journey is for a university purpose. If it is not, then it will not be covered by any university insurance policy. If it is, then you must carry out a risk assessment, to be approved by the departmental safety officer and the university safety office, and then approved by the Head of Department.