The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


What's involved?

You'll develop Leadership and Research skills which will help you stand out from the crowd

The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme runs at a number of leading UK Russell Group universities and internationally, creating a large network of past and present scholars. Gaining a place on the Laidlaw Programme is widely regarded as an indicator of exceptional academic and leadership promise. 

Each year we recruit around 25 of the best applicants to become UCL Laidlaw Scholars.

The programme of activities runs from Term 2 of your first year to the Term 1 of your third year. It's a chance for you to:

  • develop your leadership skills
  • work with academic staff on questions of global significance
  • be part of a high-performing group of students from across UCL
  • enhance your CV and employability.

The main elements of the programme are:

  • Eight days of leadership training - weekend activities with your cohort
  • Six weeks research project - in your first summer
  • Six weeks "Leadership in Action" project - in your second summer

You'll be expected to fully commit to these elements.


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 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

26/27 March 2022 (Weekend): In Person
25 June 2022 (Saturday) - Online
2 July 2022 (Saturday) - Online
12/13 November 2022 (Weekend): In Person

Leadership In Action Project

The project in your second summer gives you the chance to build on skills 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.  This can be in the UK or overseas.

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 whilst putting your leadership skills to the test
  • Leadership Project with a Not-for-Profit or similar organisation - You will be given help to find a project within an organisation working with disadvantaged communities.
  • 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.


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 leadership skills.

When undertaking you research project, you will either

  1. Join an academic research team from the projects list - the title and details of the research need to be stated on your application form.
  2. Propose your own summer project topic. If you propose your own topic of research, you will need to find an academic member of staff who agrees to supervise your project before your 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
  • Presenting opportunities at UCL and other venues

Two Year Overview

For an overview of the key elements of the programme,