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The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme

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What's involved?

Become a Future Leader

Do you have the drive to become one of the leaders of the future?  Are you excited by the opportunity to help tackle world problems?  If so, this programme is for you!  

It's a chance for you to:

  • develop your leadership skills through training and practical work
  • undertake research with academic staff on questions of global significance
  • be part of a high-performing group of students from across UCL
  • join a global network of scholars
  • enhance your CV and employability

The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme runs at 14 leading universities across the globe, creating a large network of past and present scholars.  It is generously funded by the Laidlaw Foundation.

Each year UCL recruits around 25 of the best applicants to become UCL Laidlaw Scholars.  Gaining a place on the Laidlaw Programme is widely regarded as an indicator of exceptional academic and leadership promise. 

The programme of activities runs from Term 2 of your first year to the Term 1 of your third year.  The main elements of the programme are:

  • Six days of leadership training - weekend activities with your cohort, plus two ethical leadership sessions from the London Business School
  • Six weeks research project - in your first summer
  • Six weeks "Leadership in Action" project - in your second summer

You'll receive a generous bursary to cover your living costs for the two summer projects, and in exchange you'll be expected to fully commit and work full time on the projects.

Leadership

The Laidlaw programme is all about making you a better leader.  The two key elements are Leadership Training and the Leadership In Action project.

Leadership Training

Taught at weekends and spread through the year, this specially tailored programme will introduce you to key concepts in leadership.

You will work with your cohort in depth to learn about

  • Yourself as a leader - finding your leadership style
  • Leading teams - adapting your style to others
  • Leading in different workplace cultures
  • Ethical leadership - understand the principles that underpin all good leadership

Key workshop Dates: you must be able to attend this training as part of your award

  • Friday 28 April - Sunday 30 April 2023 - Residential Weekend outside London (see below)
  • Friday 9 and Saturday 10 June 2023 - Leadership Workshop 2: Day attendance on Bloomsbury Campus
  • Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November 2023 - Leadership Workshop 3: Day attendance on Bloomsbury Campus

The April residential leadership weekend is a great way to start your leadership training in a fully immersive environment.  You will have the chance to get to know your cohort of Laidlaw Scholars in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.  We will leave London on the Friday afternoon (28 April), and stay at the venue on Friday and Saturday night, returning to London on the Sunday afternoon (30 April).
 

Leadership In Action Project

The project in your second summer gives you the chance to build on skills and knowledge gained in the first year of the scheme.  This is also a chance to give back to society.  You will be working with communities in need, doing something to make the world a better place.  Most Laidlaw Scholars will be expected to undertake the Leadership in Action project outside the UK.  All projects are fully funded through the Laidlaw programme.

There are three types of project you could consider:

  • Leadership Expedition - Choose an expedition from the list provided to you after your first year, and you will get the chance to work with Laidlaw Scholars from across the UK in challenging settings abroad, putting your leadership skills to the test.  
  • Leadership Project with a Not-for-Profit or similar organisation -  If you have your own idea about a Leadership Project, we will assist you to make it happen.  The project will need to fit the ethos of the scheme, and you'll need to be a self-starter to get it off the ground.  However, the satisfaction will make it all worth it.
  • Infield Application of your research - Sometimes a great first year research project can be developed to work in practice as second year project - enhancing your leadership skills whilst bringing benefit to society.  Not a continuation of research, but an application of it in a practical setting.

Research: Summer One

All Laidlaw Scholars will undertake an independent piece of academic research lasting six weeks in their first summer.  This is a chance to work with leading academic researchers, and enhance your research leadership skills.

When undertaking your research project, you will either

  1. Join an academic research team from the projects list - the list is updated with new projects in November each year.
  2. Propose your own summer project topic - you will need to find an academic member of staff who agrees to supervise your project before you apply.

Other opportunities

Other opportunities can arise from your involvement in the Laidlaw Programme such as:

  • Mentoring - As a mentor or mentee
  • Leading the UCL Laidlaw Society
  • Opportunities to present your research work or leadership experiences