UCL Department of Geography


Training leaders of the future

13 December 2019

Maciej develops regional expertise through the UCL Laidlaw Programme

Training leaders of the future

In the latest UCL News, Maciej Respekta, now in his final year of the UCL BSc Economics and Geography Joint Degree course, shares his experience of being a UCL Laidlaw Scholar for the past two summers.

The Laidlaw Programme is open to undergraduates in any discipline and aims to support leaders of the future by financing a mix of summer training and intensive research.

Scholars may propose their own projects or choose from those suggested by UCL departments. In Maciej’s case, he chose his project, investigating regional policy-making in Poland.

Under the scheme, £3,300 for each year supports six weeks of full-time research early in the summer vacations. Three leadership training workshops are also provided in March, June and November, and there are other ambassadorial, mentoring and leadership opportunities.

Maciej praises his Joint Economics/Geography course as combining the complex problem-solving methods of economics with the comprehensiveness of geography in addressing the problems faced by society.

He has become most interested in policy-making and economic development strategy. The Laidlaw Scholarship allowed him to meet the people who designed regional decentralisation reform in Poland, to attend conferences in Warsaw and  Poznań and to study the practice of regional policy-making in the mountainous Muczne area of SE Poland. He was also inspired by a visit to the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Maciej plans to work for an international economic agency such as the OECD, applying economic research and regional policy analysis, and to continue with the Jagiellonian Foundation on educational projects in his home region in Poland.