The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


How to apply

Applications for 2024 will open in November 2023

Application Routes

This programme is only open to first year undergraduates

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

Stage 1: Application Form

Project essential skills

In their project description, each 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 where appropriate.

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.

Stage 2: Interview

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a short interview.  If you are shortlisted, you will receive further details about this by email.

Self-proposed projects

If you are proposing your own project, you will need to find a member of academic staff to be your supervisor before you apply. You will be asked a number of questions about your project proposal on the application form. 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.

Check whether your proposal would require ethical approval - you should factor in additional time for this (it can take months to obtain approval). You must have approval in advance of your start date, as a project without ethical approval (where required) cannot go ahead.

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 an online interview
  • The final selection is made by a Selection Panel which considers the application form, feedback from project supervisors and interview.

Applications are all judged together after the closing date.  We do not operate a "rolling application" system.

How you will be contacted

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted in early February and invited to undertake an interview.

We will contact all applicants via email in the middle of March 2023 with the result of their application.

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.