The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


How to apply

We received 341 applications for 2021. All applicants will be sent an email by the end of February 2021 with the results of the first round.

Application Routes

There are two application routes for a Laidlaw Scholarship.  You can either choose a project from the list, or propose your own project.

Stage 1

Application Form

The link to the application form will appear here in November 2021.


You also need to find an academic referee. This should be a UCL academic who knows or has taught you personally (but should not be the supervisor of the Laidlaw project you're applying for).  They should submit the online reference form below.

Academic Reference Form 2021

The academic reference form is available here

An academic member of staff should complete this online form as part of the student's application. 

The student's number and UCL email address will be needed to submit an academic reference.

Guidance on Completing the Application Form

Project essential skills

Each project supervisor has supplied up to three essential skills which you should aim to demonstrate in this section. 

This is so that the supervisor and Judging Panel can see that you are a good match for the project you have chosen. 

You should aim to keep your answer concise and specific. Try to give concrete examples.

Application Questions

The application questions are divided into two sections:

  1. Leadership and motivation: the panel will want to understand what has driven you to apply for the scholarship and how you intend to use it for future success.
  2. The research project: the panel will be looking for enthusiasm for your chosen project, and a well considered understanding of the research and its potential impact.

Try to keep your answers concise and specific as there is a limited word count for each answer.  Places on the Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme are awarded on the basis of:

  • leadership potential
  • motivation, and
  • academic merit. 

You should aim to demonstrate these elements in your application form.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

You have been asked to include a brief CV to help the panel put your answers to the application questions into context. Please include the following:

  • Education from age 11: include institutions (name and country only), subjects studied, examinations passed and grades awarded.
  • Any additional duties undertaken whilst at school (e.g. if you were a prefect).
  • Any extra-curricular activities which you have undertaken. This could include being involved in a student society, undertaking your own independent research, being in an orchestra, work experience etc. State briefly what you did, when you did it, and what you learned from the experience.


Stage 2: Short Film

Shortlisted candidates will be required to submit a short 90 second film telling the panel about their motivations for applying. If you are shortlisted, you will receive further details about this by email.  You do not need to submit a film unless invited to do so.


Self-proposed projects

If you are proposing your own project, you will be asked a number of questions about your project proposal. 

You should consider these questions together with your project supervisor. Please give as much detail as you can. 

The panel will be looking for a convincing, logical and well-considered project which fits well into a six-week period. However, the panel will not expect you to have worked out every detail at this stage.

If your proposal would require ethics approval, you should factor in additional time for this (it can take months to obtain this). You must have approval in advance of your start date.


How applications are judged

Once you have submitted your application, it will be considered as follows:

  • Applications are shortlisted using the application form
  • Shortlisted applicants are invited to submit a short film
  • The final selection is made by a Selection Panel which considers the application form, academic reference, feedback from project supervisors and short film.


How you will be contacted

We will contact all applicants via email with the result of their application. This will happen in the middle of March 2021.


Your data and privacy

All personal data required by this programme is collected and held in accordance with UCL's Student Privacy Notice.

For further information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.