The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme

The Laidlaw Programme aims to create the leaders of the future through a mix of training and intensive summer research periods. It is open to current first year undergraduate students in any discipline.

Applications for 2019 have now closed.

The scheme will open for applications for 2020 in late 2019.

This prestigious UCL programme makes available 25 generous bursaries as part of its package of training and research opportunities. It is open to ambitious high-performing first year undergraduate students in any discipline who have a desire to undertake research at a high level.

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

The scholarship is a programme of activities which runs from the second term of your first year to the first term of your third year. It's a chance for you to:

  • make a contribution to UCL’s research, working with academic staff on questions of global significance;
  • develop and practise leadership skills through training and put your skills into practice at UCL;
  • be part of a high-performing group of students from across UCL;
  • enhance your CV and employability for the future.

The programme provides:

  • Six days of leadership training spread across your first and second years' of study at UCL,
  • Two fully-funded six-week periods of intensive research in the summer holidays of the first and second years of study, and
  • Numerous opportunities to put your skills into practice.

The programme is generously funded by Baron Laidlaw of Rothiemay.

The UCL Laidlaw Scholars for 2018 group photo

Meet the Laidlaw Scholars of 2018

From 170 applications, the current cohort of Laidlaw Scholars was announced in March 2018.

UCL Laidlaw Scholarship flyer

Frequently asked questions

Find out more about the scholarship programme.

There are two application routes:

Each Laidlaw Scholar will undertake a supervised research project in their first and second summer holiday, and your application will be based around the project you choose in your first year.  Each application route - listed project or self-proposed project-  has its own online application form which will be made available from November 2018.

Choosing a summer project from the list

list of projects will be published in November 2018 prior to the opening of the scheme for applications.  The listed projects usually form part of a larger research project the supervisors are running, working at the forefront of their disciplines to push forward the boundaries of knowledge.  You can apply for any project which interests you from this list.  It does not have to relate to your current studies. However, as part of your application, you will need to demonstrate that you meet the key criteria for that project.  These are listed on the website under each project.  There is a box on the online form for you to demonstrate that you meet these criteria.

Submitting a summer project which you have devised yourself

Do you have a burning desire to do your own research into something that really interests you?  If so - here's your chance!  You do not need to choose a project from the list, you can devise one yourself.  You will need to find a suitable member of academic staff within UCL who agrees to supervise you.  They should also assist you with the project-related element of your application.  The project needs to be:

  • something you’re really interested in, 
  • at an appropriate academic level, and 
  • realistically achievable within six weeks.

    Bear in mind that undertaking your own devised project will demand a lot of self-reliance – you’ll need to organise your own work and your own time, negotiate with others as needed, and try to find a way through any setbacks.  Having said that, it can be immensely satisfying to complete your own piece of research at a high level.