Field Research

Field Research Safety

Field Research/Travel Operations Planning

Field work can create unique hazards, even for activities that may be routine in a laboratory setting. This page includes information that will help you conduct your field work safely, whether you are a few miles from your office or on other side of the globe.

Field Research is defined as work activities conducted primarily for the purpose of research, undertaken by employees or students of UCSC beyond the geographic boundaries of UC Santa Cruz property (e.g., Campus and Younger Lagoon Reserve) and the engineered (urban) environment and/or outside of the United States. It also includes service and research activities undertaken by agreement on behalf of other agencies, including government and private organizations. Field research activities can pose levels of risk to research team members, which may range from low to high and potentially lethal.

Field Safety/Travel Operations Planner (FSTOP)

The Field Safety/Travel Operations Planner (FSTOP) tool is a web-based system intended to address possible risks specifically associated with field research, teaching and foreign operations. The system was developed to assist you in the creation of your own customized field/foreign operations plan, helping to be safe and better prepare you and your staff for potential issues or complications.

Accessing the System

  1. Anyone with a UC single sign on account can access the system:  Access the FSTOP System
  2. Responsible Faculty and Principal Investigators may also designate Scribes, individuals who can create and modify Field Safety/Travel Operations Plans on your behalf. While the scribes can edit individual Plans, the Plans are not complete until they have been approved and only the person responsible for the trip can approve a completed Field Safety/Travel Operations Plan.

 To successfully complete your plan, you will need to know the answers to questions such as:

  • Who is going on the trip, their contact information and their emergency contact person
  • Where you are going, who are the local contacts and where is the nearest hospital
  • The diseases endemic at your field locations
  • Is there civil unrest along your travel route?
  • Is the country, region or city on the State Department list of countries and regions with current travel warnings? (Special Travel Insurance may be required. Contact the Risk Services Office.)
  • How will people travel to the field site(s); and between or around the field locations? (Who will drive, what is the vehicle insurance coverage?)
  • What kind of transportation will you be using? Will you be flying and/or using a boat or other watercraft?
  • What are the activities that will be taking place, do they require any special precautions, training or insurance?      


UC Resources

UCSC Scientific Diving & Boating Safety Program

UC Berkeley Safety Guidelines for Field Research

International Travel Information

US State Department Travel Site

Library of Congress Country Studies

CIA Country Profile - World Factbook

Health and Medical Considerations

WHO Food Safety Guide

Healthy Drinking Water

CDC Travel Guide

WHO Travel and Health

World Hospital Directory

International Hospital Guide

Promed Emerging Diseases

Global Travel Clinic Directory

Worldwide Hospital and Clinic Guide

Plan Creation Assistance/Questions

If you need assistance with creating a Field Safety/Travel Operations Plan or have questions about the program, contact your local campus Field Plan Administrator at (831) 459-5182 or