Applications Open: Wallace Watson Award

Applications are invited for the Wallace Watson Award 2022. The Wallace Watson Award provides the opportunity for a student or group of students to undertake an expedition of a challenging nature in a remote and/or mountainous region anywhere in the world. Please read the further particulars below for more information.

The awards are open to undergraduate and graduate students of St Catherine’s College.

These are prestigious travel awards and the winners will give a lecture in Hilary Term 2023. The deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 14 February 2022.

Applications should be submitted to – and any questions you have about the award may be sent here too.


Further Particulars

At the time of his death in 2001 Wallace Watson was an undergraduate in his first year at St Catherine’s studying for a Masters in Chemistry.

He had achieved much in his short life through combining determination with consideration for others, and success with modesty and humour. He had an inner strength of character and an innate wisdom, both developed through his life in all manner of ways. Of particular note were the challenges he set himself academically and in the mountains, where he discovered strengths well beyond what he imagined. Those strengths were not lost: indeed, they were applied in many aspects of his life.

In his travels he had started down the road that brings an appreciation of other cultures and ways of life that broadens the mind and outlook on life. The Wallace Watson Award was established just after his death to give others the opportunities that Wallace grasped with both hands.

To encourage and assist undergraduate and graduate members of St Catherine’s College, Oxford to undertake expeditions or travel of a challenging nature and thereby foster an inner strength of character and a broadening of the mind.

Any individual or group of individuals, who are undergraduate or graduate members of St Catherine’s at the time of application.

The expedition/travel to be undertaken should be in a mountainous and/or remote region anywhere in the world and take place by 31 January 2023. In considering applications the selection panel will take into account the current constraints on travel.

Amount awarded
The amount to be awarded will take account of the quality of the winning application and the costs associated with proposed expedition.  In previous years between £750 and £3000 has been awarded to individual winning applicants.

The winner(s) will be selected by a panel and be measured against:

  • the challenge associated with the expedition or travel
  • the ability of the individual applicant(s)
  • the extent to which the applicant(s) would gain a greater ability and self confidence in handling physical and mental adversity
  • the extent to which the applicant(s) would gain a better appreciation of other cultures and ways of life

The Selection Panel that will interview shortlisted candidates will consist of the Master, the Dean and members of Wallace Watson’s family, including his parents, Teddy and Ruthie Watson.

Report and lecture
The winner of the Award will be expected to write a report for the Master within six months of return and give a lecture in the Hilary term 2023. You can read about last year’s lecture here.

Application process
Applications should be submitted to the Master by 9am on Monday 14 February 2022 with details of the:

  • objectives and plans for the expedition/travel
  • costs
  • timings
  • equipment requirements
  • participants.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on Friday 25 February 2022. It is hoped that the winner will be announced at the Wallace Watson Award Lecture which is currently planned for Tuesday 8 March 2022.

Please note that the Wallace Watson Career Scholarship will not be awarded this year.

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