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 as follows:

  1. Anonymised applications will be shortlisted with input from project supervisors;
  2. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to submit a short video outlining their motivations for applying;
  3. Shortlisted applications will be judged on merit by a panel including the programme's Academic Director. 
When will I find out if my application has been successful?

All applicants will receive an email by the end of February 2024 letting them know whether they have been shortlisted, and giving details of the further requirements.  The final selection from the shortlist will take place towards the end of March and all candidates will know the outcome of this by the end of March 2024.

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 should email the supervisor if you have any questions.  The email addresses of supervisors can be found on the project list.

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?

No.  Applications will only be judged on the information in the application form.

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

Please email the supervisor directly.  Email addresses can be found on the project list page.

Can I apply again if I'm unsuccessful first time?

The scheme is only open to first year undergraduates so you can only apply once, in your first year.

Can I apply for more than one project?

No.  You can only apply once, and for only one project.  If you apply more than once, your later applications will be disregarded.

Can I apply for any project - regardless of my main study subject?

Yes.  In fact, this is a great chance to try something new!  You can apply for any project which interests you.  You just need to demonstrate you meet the Essential Criteria, and make a good case for why you have chosen the project on your application 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 instalments 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 don't have any research and/or leadership experience.  Can I still apply?

Yes.  We are not expecting you to have experience at this stage.  We are looking for aptitude and enthusiasm, so you will need to make a good case for why you should be chosen for this award.

I can’t attend all 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 weekends. These usually take place in April, May and November.  You must attend these as part of the programme.
  • Ethical leadership training modules.  A commitment of around one day in total.
  • 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 (or online equivalent)
  • two six-week summer projects
  • Ethical leadership course.

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. 

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, but some students do.

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 individual project supervisor and the Programme Manager.

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

You are not automatically allocated any accommodation.  It will be up to you to sort out what suits you best.  It is usually possible to apply for accommodation in UCL Halls of Residence during the summer research period.

  • If you are already living in halls, you would 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 UCL 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