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Safeguarding Work Away

Staff and students planning to travel on University-related business

In light of the UK Government starting to reduce travel restrictions from 17 May 2021 and following an internal review, travel overseas for the purpose of carrying out research or studying away (including fieldwork) will now normally be regarded as sufficient reason to travel by the University if evidence of necessity is included in the risk assessment and provided the following criteria are met:

  1. evidence that you have consulted in detail any FCDO advice
  2. evidence that you have researched the pandemic effects in the overseas country and checked any restrictions in place in the overseas country due to the pandemic and your ability to return to either UK or other country is not affected.  You are advised to contact the University COVID helpdesk for further information and guidance with this

  3. you have in place COVID 19 risk contingency plans for medical care and travel arrangements

  4. you have considered other risk factors relevant to your destination country e.g. the political or military situation, the impact of your research on locals, internal travel and accommodation

  5. you have submitted these to your Department in line with the current guidance document HSD089M

  6. you have provided evidence as to why your research/studies is necessary and why your physical presence is required overseas within your risk assessment

  7. you have taken into account the need for any Covid-19 imposed quarantines or testing and subsequent additional costs as these will not be covered by University Travel Insurance.  The University COVID helpdesk should be contacted for help with this

  8. you have valid insurance. The University holds Travel Insurance that is suitable and appropriate for trips and includes professional medical and security support to individuals and groups.  One of the key risk issues is in travel to countries which sit on the Government’s ‘Red’ list and the FCDO guidance is against travel for ‘all but essential’ reasons.  Please also be aware that cover for Cancellation/Curtailment costs to such territories WILL NOT be covered.  For further information please visit the Insurance website.

    Please note that if the risk is high due to travel restrictions relating to COVID-19 then the traveller is strongly advised to contact the COVID helpdesk and seek advice on testing and quarantine requirements and other control measures that maybe necessary.  As long as the department is satisfied that the traveller has and will take all necessary steps to comply with these then the risk assessment can be approved at Departmental level, with no requirement to refer to SARAC.  If however the risk is high due to other reasons the assessment must be referred to SARAC in the usual way as described in the guidance document HSD089M.


    Year abroad students should continue to liaise with the Year Abroad co-ordinator in your Faculty or Department and your Director of Studies in your College to discuss your situation taking into consideration the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance and any relevant international travel restrictions. Plans for year abroad activity will need to be approved in advance of travel.

    The SharePoint site will have background information for updates and decisions post 17 May.

Travel Risk

These pages have been designed to assist students, staff and others who are required to complete a risk assessment as part of an application to study or work away from Cambridge and, therefore, focus specifically on the safety aspects of study or work away. For more information about how working away may impact on course requirements students are advised to check departmental guidelines (for example, for undergraduate work away) or the Graduate Students page. Staff travelling on University business may also find the information in these pages useful in meeting safety requirements.

Additional information for those who authorise work away can be found in this section.  

Work or study away undertaken by members of the University is varied and wide-ranging. This has included trips all across Europe as well as to Afghanistan, India, Panama, South Africa and Vietnam with students studying in other institutions, working on excavations, with indigenous peoples, in remote locations, with animals, conducting archival research, interviewing a diverse range of people and in working or studying in war torn countries. It is not practical to try and produce guidance to cover the diverse nature of the University, but we can point you in the right direction with the underlying principle that a detailed risk assessment must be completed and this must reflect the nature of the work, the individual and the location.