Challenger 150: The Challenger Society Conference 2022 in London

Learning from 150 years of scientific progress to become the pioneers of tomorrow

Conference: 6, 7, 8 September, 2022
Side events: 5 & 9 September 2022

Hosted by: The Natural History Museum and Imperial College, London, UK
Venues: The meeting will be held in person at the Royal Geographical Society, Natural History Museum & Imperial College in South Kensington, London.

On 7th December 1872, the HMS Challenger departed Sheerness, the location of the Royal Navy Dockyard in Kent, England on a four-year global scientific expedition across the world’s oceans. It was the first truly interdisciplinary grand scientific project, international in scope and involving the study of the physics, chemistry, biology and geology of the global ocean. The UK Challenger Society and the Challenger Conferences are named after this pioneering expedition and exist to bring together UK marine scientists and international colleagues to discuss the latest science and inspire new generations of ocean researchers.

The Challenger Society Conference 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Challenger Expedition and celebrate the birth of international, interdisciplinary oceanography. Challenger 150 will be the opportunity to take stock of where we have come in our science, in the way we do science, and will also be the opportunity to discuss, imagine and design the future of open, international, collaborative, inclusive and diverse marine science.

Call for Sessions

We invite the UK and the international marine science community to propose scientific or discussion sessions for Challenger 150. There are no predefined themes, but the Science Programme Committee looks forward to receiving innovative session proposals that are interdisciplinary and international in scope to honour the pioneering scientific spirit and global nature of the Challenger Expedition.

We must not forget that we live in a time of planetary emergency, and anthropogenic pressures on our oceans are greater than ever. Ocean science is critical to the understanding of issues related to climate, food security, health, energy, industrial innovation and global sustainability. We hope for sessions that reflect these societal issues and seek to address sustainable and technological solutions to global problems over the next 150 years.

To propose a session, please email with your proposed session title, session chairs (list up to 4), at least 5 potential speakers as examples of talks and any potential keynote speakers. We reemphasize our vision for a diverse and inclusive conference and therefore ask you to consider this in your session proposals. The deadline for session proposals is 31 January 2022.

Keynote Speakers

Speakers are to be confirmed and we look forward to drawing these from our session proposals, we are also keen to hear from the community on suggestions for keynote speakers.

Venues and Accommodations

The main venue for the meeting will be the Royal Geographical Society, a world-class conference venue with huge historic significance, located next to Hyde Park and just a short walk from many London attractions. The Ondaatje Lecture Hall seats up to 700 and will be the main venue for Plenaries, plus several smaller rooms provide break-out spaces for the scientific sessions. This will also be the location for the majority of poster sessions and catering spaces. In addition, we have the use of the 200 seat Flett Theatre in the Natural History Museum and spaces in the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, which will be used for science sessions. These venues will also be available for side-events for the Challenger Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and are available on the 5th and 9th of September.

The South Kensington area is home to accommodation choices to suit every budget from youth hostels to 5-star hotels, and has multiple public transport links to anywhere in the UK and world, from the London train termini and airports.

Conference Banquet

The Conference Banquet will be held on Wednesday 7 September 2022 in a venue to be confirmed.

Exhibitor Space and Sponsorship

This meeting is expected to attract >400 marine scientists from across the UK and international sphere. Exhibitor Space will be available at the Royal Geographical Society, Natural History Museum and Imperial College. Please contact if you are interested in sponsoring this conference, showcasing technology, presenting data solutions, or advertising career opportunities


We welcome proposals for Side Events on 5 and 9 September 2022. For example from the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of the UK Challenger Society, but we also strongly encourage proposals from early-career researchers and under-represented groups. Please contact if you are interested in hosting a Side Event. A set deadline for these calls will be advertised later in 2022.


Registration is not yet open for the Conference, but will be advertised in early 2022. We anticipate registration fees to be similar to previous Challenger Conferences with significant discounts for students and those in financial need. Our goal is to enable a low-cost registration fee in a location that is easy and cheap to get to, thus making this a very cost-effective meeting.

Local Organising Committee (LOC)

The LOC is the executive body of the Conference and reports to the Challenger Council:
Chair: Prof Richard Herrington, Natural History Museum
Committee: Dr Adrian Glover (NHM), Prof Jenny Collier, Dr Yves Plancherel (Imperial College), Prof Ros Rickaby (Challenger Society and University of Oxford).

Science Programme Committee (SPC)

The SPC is responsible for the Science Programme for the main conference 6, 7, 8 September and reports to LOC.

Chair: To be confirmed
Committee: Prof Richard Herrington, Dr Adrian Glover, Dr Steve Stukins (NHM), Dr Yves Plancherel, Prof Jenny Collier (Imperial College), Prof Alessandro Tagliabue (University of Liverpool), Dr Helen Czerski (UCL), Dr Judith Wolf (NOC), Dr Heather Koldewey (ZSL), Prof Rachael James (University Southampton).

Covid-19 Policy
As an in-person meeting, the Challenger 150 event will be held in line with the advice and policy from the UK Government and UK Health Security Agency. In the event that it is not safe to hold the conference, it will be cancelled. There will be a refund policy for registrations.

Any questions: email

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