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Planning a field expedition may require a significant amount of time for acquiring permits, registrations, visas, accommodations, equipment, and other logistics. We recommend starting the planning process at least 6 months ahead of your date of departure (and at least 8 months if you are traveling internationally).

Principal investigators are required to identify hazards that researchers may encounter, assign appropriate safety measures to control those hazards, and develop a plan detailing how field researchers should respond to emergency situations. Our Field Safety and Emergency Management Plan can assist with this process. Use the information in our hazard fact sheets to help identify safety measures and controls for general hazards found in the field environment.

Note: the first section of the Field Safety and Emergency Management Plan (i.e., Safe and Inclusive Work Environment) can be used as a template to fulfill new NSF PAPPG requirements in addition to the ORA Certification Form. You do NOT have to fill out the entire plan for proposal submission, just the first section. The Field Plan, Field Hazard Identification and Management, and Emergency Response Procedures sections can be completed at a later date, when travel details are finalized. For more information about the new requirements please see ORA's NSF Safety & Inclusion Plan for Off-campus and Off-Site Research Activities page. 

Comprehensive international travel insurance, including medical and security evacuation, is provided by Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) to all UMD travelers, at no charge to the traveler or the traveler's department. Travel Approval Requests (TARs) must be approved by 6:30 p.m. three days before the trip departure date to be covered. Covered travelers will receive a CISI Identification Card via email prior to their departure date. A summary of coverage and information about how to use CISI services are available on the CISI website. For questions regarding coverage and services please contact the Director of International Risk Management, at (301) 314-7748.

Assess if any pre-emptive vaccinations or health screenings are required or recommended before you travel. Keep in mind some immunizations require several weeks before they become effective. The UMD International Travel Clinic at the UMD University Health Center offers travel consultations and recommendations for vaccinations. Contact the Health Center at (301) 314-8184 to schedule an appointment.

Principal investigators can use our Pre-trip Orientation Discussion Checklist as a guide to establish realistic expectations for field researchers, especially researchers with limited field experience in the intended field location.

If you need to hire a guide, driver, or other professional, follow the guidelines defined in the Vetting External Associates Checklist.

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