The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


What's involved?

As a Laidlaw Scholar, you'll develop leadership and research skills which will help you stand out from the crowd

The mandatory elements of the programme are:

  • Six days of leadership training - in March, June and November
  • Two summer research periods of six weeks - usually at the start of your first and second year summer holidays
  • Attendance on the UCL Global Citizenship Programme, and acting as a Global Citizenship Ambassador.

You'll be expected to fully commit to these elements.  As you go through the programme, you'll develop leadership skills and research skills which will help you stand out from the crowd - and to get where you want to go.


During the course of the programme you'll spend three two-day Leadership Workshops with other Laidlaw Scholars learning about the key elements of leadership through a mixture of classes and practical exercises. You'll increase your understanding of practical leadership, of your own strengths and weaknesses, and how to lead and motivate a team. It's also a chance to support each other in your learning and bond as a group.

As you progress through the programme you'll be able to put this leadership learning into practice. During your second and third years, you'll be expected to use your leadership skills to make a contribution to life at UCL.  This could be an activity like setting up or running a student society or participating in a UCL committee.  There are many inventive ways to make a contribution.  In addition, you'll have the chance to mentor junior Laidlaw Scholars, act as an ambassador for the scheme at open days and training, or participate in other opportunities which arise.


All Laidlaw Scholars will undertake two independent pieces of academic research, each lasting approximately six weeks. This will be during the summers usually at the end of their first and second years.  You will either join an academic research team or propose your own summer project topic. 

If you choose to undertake a research project from the projects list, the title and details of the research need to be stated on your application form.  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.

Your time as a Laidlaw Scholar

The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme gives you a great opportunity to enhance your research and leadership skills.  However, your degree studies will be your main focus through your time at UCL.  For this reason, the Laidlaw programme has been timetabled to avoid conflicting with your main studies.

The research element of the programme will take place during the summer holidays - usually in the first six weeks of holidays in years 1 and 2. Mandatory leadership training and the Global Citizenship Programme take place at weekends or out of term time.  Other opportunities which arise from the programme are voluntary, and it is for you to judge when to engage with them so you get what you need out of the programme.

Year 1


Scheme opens

The scheme will open to new applicants on Monday 26th November 2018.  Weblinks to the application portal will be made live at this time.

You will have an opportunity to get help and information about your application before submitting it by attending the drop in event in January.


Drop In Event

A drop in event will take place on Tuesday 8th January 2019 in Room 642 IOE Building (20 Bedford Way) between 12.30pm - 2pm.  It is an opportunity to meet the supervisor for your chosen project and other key staff, to hear more about the programme and ask any questions.  We hope to see you there!

Scheme closes

The scheme will close to new applicants at 23.59 on Sunday 20th January 2018.  All applications must be received by this time.  Late applications will not be considered.


In February, the Grand  Challenges strands of the UCL Global Citizenship Programme will open for registration. You are required to register for this in order to be eligible for the Laidlaw Scholarship Programme.


New Scholars announced

Laidlaw Scholars will be selected by a panel on the basis of their application. Applicants may also be invited to attend an interview.

Once selected, new Laidlaw Scholars will be invited to a welcome reception on the evening of Friday 15th March prior to the start of their leadership training. 

First Leadership Workshop: 16/17th March 2019

The first leadership workshop will be a full weekend of activities. As well as learning about different aspects of leadership, the weekend will be an opportunity for new scholars from across UCL to get to know each other in an informal setting.


A mentoring event will give you an opportunity to find a mentor from the 2018 cohort of Laidlaw scholars.


Global Citizenship Programme: 28th May - 7th June

Laidlaw Scholars participate in the UCL Global Citizenship Programme on a Grand Challenges strand.

Second Leadership Workshop - Date to be confirmed

The second intensive leadership workshop will take place directly after the end of the UCL Global Citizenship Programme. This will build and extend your previous learning around leadership and prepare you for the research element of the programme.


Summer Projects: Monday 17th June - Friday 26th July 

For 6 weeks over the summer of 2018, scholars will work with UCL academics and researchers to undertake a research project. This will be a full time and exciting period of intensive research, allowing each scholar to delve into a topic of their choice. The project topic will have been chosen as part of the application process to become a Laidlaw Scholar.  The start and end dates of the project can be flexible where necessary.

By the end of the period each Laidlaw Scholar will have gained research skills and will have worked alongside experts in their chosen field.

Year 2


Third Leadership Workshop - Date to be confirmed

The third weekend of leadership training will complete the intensive leadership education.

Poster Presentations - Date to be confirmed

Laidlaw scholars will get the opportunity to present their work at a poster display event.

Terms 2 & 3

You will have the opportunity to become a mentor to a new Laidlaw scholar.

You will be encouraged to find opportunities for your to put your leadership skills into practice for the benefit of the UCL community or the wider community.


During the summer, scholars will have the opportunity to undertake a second period of fully funded intensive research, either continuing from the previous year or a new project. This second period will allow scholars to build on the research skills gained in their first year, consolidating learning and increasing their confidence and ability to undertake an independent piece of research at a high level.


Year 3

The Laidlaw scholarship will formally end at the end of Term 1.  However, we encourage you to take up opportunities to become involved with mentoring and ambassadorial activities where you can.