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Our Impact 

Our impact has been significant. We have played a key role in advancing knowledge, fostering collaboration among researchers, and promoting the exploration of new frontiers: providing platforms for explorers and scientists to share findings, exchange ideas, and network with peers, leading to breakthrough discoveries  and innovations across various fields.

SES funds and supports research expeditions, helping to shape scientific policy and priorities. Through our publications and outreach efforts, we have contributed to public understanding of science, and have inspired future generations
of explorers and researchers.

Pioneering Leadership Training

Under the patronage of the then Prince of Wales, SES initiated the first ever global youth expeditions; Operation Drake in 1976 and Operation Raleigh in 1982, taking 4,500 young adventurers on worldwide expeditions. This pioneering concept initiated what the world now knows as ‘the Gap Year’.

One of the greatest legacies of SES is in developing leadership skills in young adventurers worldwide, which we believe to be absolutely crucial in today’s uncertain political and economic climate, where these skills are much in demand.

This work continues today in many forms, two of the most tangible being…

The Drake Fellowship was formed after Operation Drake specifically to carry on helping underprivileged young people; it ran from centres based in the heart of inner cities within the UK. The work of this invaluable organisation over the past 40 years was recognised by The Princes’ Trust, which went on to absorb The Drake Fellowship (which had joined with the charity Fairbridge) in 2011.

Raleigh International was set up to continue the work of Operation Raleigh. It is a charity which aims to encourage young people to volunteer for scientific, community and environmental programmes around the world. Adventurers work on projects designed to protect the environment and enhance community life whilst developing their personal skills, knowledge, leadership, and sense of environmental awareness. To date, Operation Raleigh and Raleigh International have been responsible for encouraging over 36,000 youngsters worldwide.

These institutions echo the pioneering spirit underlying the ethos of SES, which is that today’s youngsters are tomorrow’s future. Teach, guide, and mentor them well - they are our legacy.

SES Raleigh Explorer Award

In collaboration with Raleigh International and Operation Raleigh Alumni, we have launched the SES Raleigh Explorer Award, an initiative that will provide opportunities for young individuals from less advantaged backgrounds in the UK to embark on transformative volunteering opportunities abroad. With the Society's historical ties to Raleigh International through Operation Raleigh, SES joins forces to break barriers, foster diversity, and continue the journey with the Raleigh community.
Scientific Exploration Society, Expedition Base, Motcombe, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 9PB +44 (0)1747 853353 
(Registered Charity No 267410)
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