The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


Frequently asked questions

If your question is not listed here, you may be able to find the answer on another part of the website. This list will be expanded over time.

If you can't find an answer to your question, please email: laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk.


How will the applications be judged?

The judging will be a two stage process:

  1. Anonymised applications will be shortlisted by the project supervisor for the project applied for. 
  2. Shortlisted applications will be judged on merit by a panel including the programme's Academic Director. 

The application will be considered alongside the supervisor's comments and the academic reference.

Some students may be called to have a brief interview as part of the application process. This will be at the discretion of the panel.

When will I find out if my application has been successful?

The Laidlaw Judging Panel will meet to consider all applications in March 2019, and will contact all applicants to let them know the outcome of their application shortly afterwards.

Will I be given help to choose a topic for the project?

If you are proposing your own summer project, you will need to find an academic supervisor within UCL. That person should help you to refine the subject of your project.

If you are interested in one or more projects from the list, you can meet the supervisor at the informal drop in event in January.  Alternatively, you could email the supervisor if you have any questions. 

You could also consider discussing your options with your personal tutor or an academic member of staff on your programme. 

You can only apply for one project.

Do I need to attach a CV along with my application?

Your CV should not be a separate document, but should be included in the correct section of the application form. You could consider cutting and pasting from a document into this section. Remember that this needs to be concise. 

You MUST NOT identify yourself directly - please do NOT include your name, date of birth or any other identification (e.g. student number).

How can I contact the supervisor of the project I want to apply for?

Most project supervisors will be attending a drop in session in January. You are encouraged to attend this event if you have any questions about the project. Alternatively, you can email the project supervisor.

Who can I approach to be my academic referee?

You can approach a full time academic member of staff at UCL who is in some way involved in your studies. For example, this could be your personal tutor or one of your lecturers. However, this should NOT be a doctoral student: they should complete the online academic reference form.

Eligibility and funding

I am studying a four (or more) year degree, will I still need to undertake the programme in my first and second years?

Yes. The programme is designed for the first two years of an undergraduate degree. However, if parts of the programme clash with your course of study, please let us know via laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk. We are keen to be as flexible as possible.

Is the programme open to graduate students?

No. This programme is only open to first year undergraduate students.

Is the programme open to affiliate students?

No. Due to the long-term nature of the programme, it is not suitable for affiliates.

How will I receive the bursary money? When is it paid out?

The money will be paid direct into your bank account in two installments during the June prior to the start of your first and second periods of research. The exact timing of the payment will be confirmed during Term 3.

I cannot attend the UCL Global Citizenship programme. Will I still be able to apply?

In most cases, attendance on the Global Citizenship Programme is an essential part of the scholarship programme.

However, where there are exceptional circumstances (such as a clash with taught elements of your programme of study) it may be possible to waive attendance on the Global Citizenship Programme. This would be at the discretion of the programme's Academic Director. Please contact us via laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk.

I can’t attend other parts of the programme. Can I still apply?

This will depend on how much of the programme you would need to miss, and your reasons. We recommend that you check with us by email to laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk before you apply, giving us as much detail as possible.

How the programme works

What time commitment is involved?

The programme has been designed not to interfere with your core academic studies. The largest time commitment takes place during the summer holidays. However, you will be expected to undertake a small amount of activity during term time.

The commitment of time breaks down as follows:

  • Two research periods of six weeks each. These take place at the start of the summer holidays in your first and second years and will be full time during the week.  The aim of the generous bursary is that you can focus on the research without the need to do any part time work in this period.
  • Three leadership training workshops. These take place in March, June and November.
  • Ambassadorial, Mentoring and Leadership Activities in your second and third years. The time you devote to these activities is negotiable.

You can find out more about the timeline of a scholarship on What's involved?​​ 

Will the progamme take too much time away from my studies?

The research and leadership elements of the programme will take place during the summer holidays or at weekends. They should not interfere with your studies. The commitment of time to other opportunities is voluntary.

Do I have have to attend all the elements of the programme?

The core of the programme consist of:

  • three two-day leadership training workshops
  • two six-week summer projects. 

These are compulsory for all Laidlaw scholars, and you receive the bursary money on the basis that you will attend. 

The programme operates a "two strikes and you're out" policy, and may withhold your bursary for non-attendance. 

You will also be expected to attend the Global Citizenship Programme in your first year and become an Ambassador. 

Other opportunities from the Laidlaw programme are voluntary, and you will need to balance these with your main academic studies.

I have been offered a job/internship over the summer. Can I do the programme at the same time?

It is unlikely that you will be able to do both. 

The research project takes place over six weeks during the summer and will be full time - it is the reason for funding you through this period.  However, after your six week project, you will still have some weeks of summer holiday to spend as you wish. We encourage you to relax a little - but it's up to you!

Is there flexibility about when the project is undertaken over the summer period?

Yes, there is usually some flexibility. This will be at the discretion of the project supervisor and the programme's Academic Director.

Will I be provided with accommodation during the summer research period?

We recommend that all Laidlaw Scholars apply for accommodation in UCL Halls of Residence during the summer research period.

  • If you are already living in halls, you will need to apply for an extension to your contract to cover this period. 
  • If you are not living in halls, you can apply for accommodation over this period.

You will be expected to pay the extra cost from your bursary. Booking opens in March via the Accommodation Office.

If you would prefer not to stay in UCL Halls of Residence, you are free to find your own accommodation. This needs to be within commuting distance of UCL.

Who can I contact if I have a problem whilst on the scheme?

During the summer research project, your first point of contact will be your supervisor.

At other times, contact the programme manager in the first instance via laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk