About Us

Message from FRO's director, Dr. Martyn Unsworth

Welcome to the Field Research Office!  Field research at the University of Alberta makes a major contribution to our core activities of academic research and student training.  Field research includes any of these activities taking place off-campus, and in recent years has covered the entire range from arts to science and engineering. Geographically, our researchers are active in the field from coast to coast to coast in Canada and internationally we have a presence on every continent.

As many field researchers are aware, the rules and regulations that cover field research are constantly changing, and it is challenging to keep up to date with them. At the Field Research Office, our mandate is to facilitate and support field research activities across the university, regardless of where it is being conducted. We can provide you with information and advice on your fieldwork, helping to ensure that it is both compliant with university policy and safe for you and your collaborators or students. In addition, our office can direct you to a variety of planning and training tools, ranging from instruction on emergency procedures, first aid, and proper equipment use. We also have field equipment for loan or rent to University field researchers, all outlined on our web pages. Please contact us with your questions or requests.

Martyn Unsworth, Antarctica, 2015

FRO’s Function/Mission

The Field Research Office aims to facilitate off-campus research activities, including all types of field, archival, library or other research, as well as field trips and field schools, carried out nationally or internationally. This will be achieved through the following activities:

  • To bring issues regarding the conduction of field research to the Field Research Activities Committee (FRAC) and to receive advice and direction from them.
  • To provide centralized access to all policies and regulations pertaining to field research that is conducted by faculty members, support staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, and volunteers.
  • To provide information regarding permits (for fieldwork in Canada and abroad), field safety, vehicle operation, collection of samples, risk management and other issues of concern for field researchers.
  • To help researchers better understand their own responsibilities with respect to the fieldwork that they and their students undertake and to encourage and facilitate compliance with applicable policies, regulations and best practices.
  • To develop and maintain a web-site that provides a “one-stop” centre for information pertaining to field research.
  • To provide centralized access to information on training requirements and on how to obtain training for field researchers.
  • To assist field researchers with problems that they may encounter in obtaining training and/or field permits or during the conduction of field research.

Governance: The Field Research Office reports to Risk Management Services (Environment, Health and Safety).

Field Research Activities Committee (FRAC)

FRAC was created as an ad-hoc committee, with endorsement of the VP (Research) and VP (Finance and Administration).  Its purpose is to provide a channel of communication between field researchers and senior administration in matters concerning Field Research activities (as defined above). FRAC’s responsibilities are as follows:

  • To work towards resolution and advancement of issues identified by the Field Research Office and the community of field researchers at the University.
  • To provide expertise as needed to the Field Research Office in formulating and addressing issues arising from the field research community.
  • To provide direction, scope and advice for the activities and responsibilities of the Field Research Office.
  • To assist with development of process(es) for facilitating and assisting departments, faculties and university personnel and students in managing field research activities.
  • To provide representation or advice to groups developing university policy that may impact field research activities.

List of FRAC Members for 2016-2017 Academic Year