The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


How to apply

Applications for 2020 have now closed. The academic reference form for 2020 applicants is still open - follow the link below.


There are two application routes for a Laidlaw Scholarship.

  1. Choosing a summer project from the listThe list of projects is published in late November each year. 
  2. Submitting a summer project which you have devised yourself: a self-proposed project

Requirements for all applications

  1. Find an academic referee. This should be a UCL academic who knows you personally (but cannot be one of the Laidlaw project supervisors). They should use the online form to submit a reference in support of your application. 
  2. Complete the online application form and submit it by the deadline. You can save and return to your form as many times as you like before the closing date.
  3. Make a short film (maximum 90 seconds / 10 MB size) of yourself telling us your motivations for applying for a Laidlaw scholarship.  Send the finished film to laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk with the subject header "Film: <your name>, <your student number>".
  4. Register for the UCL Global Citizenship Programme (GCP). Registrations open in December 2019.  You will be expected to attend the Summer School on 8 - 12 June 2020 as a minimum, but you are strongly encouraged to attend more programme events where you can.

Academic Reference Form

You must ask an academic member of staff to complete this online form as part of your application. 

Your student number and UCL email address will be needed to submit an academic reference.



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.

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.

Short Film

You should submit a short film as part of your application. This should be maximum 90 seconds long, and no larger than 10MB. It should be sent to laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk with the subject header "Film: <Your name> <Your Student Number>". Please follow these guidelines:

  • The film should be of you talking about your motivations for applying for the scholarship.  Give this some thought before you start filming.  You may wish to make some notes to refer to whilst making the film. 

  • State clearly your name and student number at the start of the film.

  • Do not worry about production values / lighting / camera angles etc. Please just dress as you would ordinarily (you don't have to be super smart).  Please do not include any special effects.  Do not include any other person in the film. The panel will only pay attention to what you say, although you must be visible and audible.

  • You can make this film in any convenient way. We suggest using a mobile phone.

  • The film must be playable on Windows Media Player. Please check this prior to submission. If it is not in a correct format to be played via WMP your application may be rejected.

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.

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 processed/judged

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

  • Project supervisors will consider applications to their projects, and produce a shortlist.
  • Self-proposed projects will be added to the shortlist with supervisor comments.
  • The Laidlaw Judging Panel will meet in early March to make the final choice of 25 Laidlaw Scholars from the shortlist.

We reserve the right to invite applicants to an interview.

How you will be contacted

We will contact all applicants via email with the result of their application. This will happen on Monday 9 March 2020.

Please ensure that you keep the following dates free in your diary in case your application is successful:

  • Thursday 12 March 2020 - Evening reception for new Scholars
  • Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March 2020: 9am - 5pm - First leadership training weekend
  • Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June 2020: 9am - 5pm - Second leadership training weekend
  • Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 November 2020: 9am - 5pm - Third leadership training weekend

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.