The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


Information for Supervisors

The summer projects are at the core of the Laidlaw programme. They offer Scholars a chance to experience the excitement of research, to work alongside UCL academics, and gain new skills and knowledge.

If you have a project which would suit a high performing first year undergraduate

We are now looking for project proposals for summer 2020.  You can propose a project using the online form.

Laidlaw summer projects will usually run for six consecutive weeks from the week after the end of the Global Citizenship Programme (roughly mid-June until the end of July) – although some projects may have a timescale which is more spread out.  The standard six week period for summer 2020 will be Monday 15 June to Friday 24 July.

Supervisors gain a fully-paid-for junior researcher chosen from amongst the brightest of UCL’s first year undergraduates. It is a great opportunity to pass on your knowledge and enthusiasm, whilst helping the next generation of high performing students.

Drop In Session

If you're interesting in finding out more about supervising a Laidlaw Scholar, join us at 1pm on Tuesday 29th October in Room 130 Foster Court to hear more about the scheme and have your questions answered.  No need to book.

"It reconnected me with what I most value about UCL as an academic institution."
Prof Patrick Haggard, Laidlaw Project Supervisor

Key contacts

The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme is run by the Office of the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs).

  • Programme Manager: Christopher Cullen
  • Academic Director: Dr Ruth Siddall

Email: laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk 

This is an excellent programme that benefits both students and research staff running projects."
Katie Hollingworth, Laidlaw Project Supervisor


How to propose a project

Each year between September and November we try to recruit a good variety of research projects running at UCL which could offer a place to a Laidlaw Scholar for six weeks the following summer. 

At this stage, we are only asking for an outline proposal and do not expect you to spend too much time developing it.  If a student is allocated to your project (in late March 2020) then we will ask them to work with you to develop this outline into a full project plan for the summer.  If you would like to propose a project please use the online proposal form here.

If you have any questions, you can contact us via the scheme email address: laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk.

Project guidance

We aim to offer as wide a range of projects as possible to prospective scholars. 

In general, a suitable a project should:

  • Offer an interesting challenge to a first year undergraduate whilst being sensitive to their current level of knowledge and skills
  • Be of the appropriate scope for a project which needs to be successfully completed within six weeks
  • Have a good definition in relation to the wider project you are running, so that the contribution of the scholar can be clearly identified at the end of the six weeks
  • Have clear success criteria including concrete outcomes produced by the scholar
  • Be completed within the six week summer period, and
  • Be available to be published in full on the Laidlaw Foundation website. Projects with proprietary research outcomes may not be suitable. If in doubt, contact us via laidlaw.scholarships@ucl.ac.uk

Laidlaw projects usually run for one summer in the first instance. However, there is always the option for you to work with the same scholar(s) in the second summer by agreement. 

Most projects will be allocated one Laidlaw scholar. Where numbers permit, we can occasionally offer you a second scholar. The online proposal form will ask you about your preference.

As part of the selection process, you have the opportunity to identify up to three key criteria which the applicant must meet to be selected for your project. This is a way for you to ensure, where necessary, that the successful student will have the baseline skills needed. However, the fewer criteria you specify, the wider range of students will be able to apply for your project - so please only specify skills or knowledge which are essential and cannot be learned during the project.

The level of the tasks set to us was perfect. They were challenging so that we pushed against our own limits, but at the same time such that we did not feel overwhelmed by them. The tasks were also varied, and they never got repetitive or boring."
UCL Laidlaw Scholar, Summer 2017


How scholars are selected

Potential scholars will have the option of either proposing their own project or choosing a project from the list on the website.  

Scholars will apply via an online form which will ask them a number of questions including about their choice of project, the academic questions raised and how they meet the essential criteria.

You will be asked to provide at least three essential criteria which the scholars must demonstrate on their application form.

You will then be asked to shortlist all the applications for your project. 

The final choice of scholar will be made by the Judging Panel considering:

  1. the scholar’s application form
  2. your feedback on their application form
  3. an academic reference.

Although the Judging Panel will attempt to allocate students to all advertised projects, please note this cannot be guaranteed. It will depend largely on the mix of student applications in that particular year.  For this reason, we only ask you for an outline project proposal at this stage.  If a scholar is allocated to you, we will expect them to work with you to produce a full project proposal before summer 2020.

Your input into the selection process

You, as project supervisor, will input into the selection process in the following ways:

  • Meeting potential applicants at the briefing session (12.30 - 2pm on Tues 3rd December in the South Cloisters) and answering questions by email.
  • Choosing the three key criteria for the project which must be demonstrated on the scholar’s application form.
  • Shortlisting the applications received and making comments.

The Judging Panel will make the final allocation of scholars to projects, taking into account feedback from the project supervisor.

Cost reimbursement for successful projects

If your project is selected and a scholar is allocated to it, you will have up to £625 available to you per student on a reimbursement basis to cover any costs such as:

  • travel
  • accommodation at conferences
  • fees
  • equipment or any other reasonable cost. 

Scholars receive a bursary which covers their accommodation and living costs, so they will not place any additional costs on your project.

How much time you're expected to commit

Each project is different, but you will need to allow time for:

  • Proposing an outline project for a scholar to undertake (this can be notes towards a project at this stage).
  • Attending the drop in session on Tuesday 3rd December at 12.30pm in the South Cloisters, if possible.
  • Answering questions via email from potential applicants (who cannot get to the drop in session).
  • Shortlisting applications (In 2017 the maximum number of applications was 35 for one project, but most received between 5 – 10).
  • If allocated a Laidlaw Scholar, working with the scholar to produce a full project plan before summer 2020.
  • Supervising the scholar over the summer project.  We ask that you undertake a minimum of three supervisions – at the start, middle and end.
  • Advising the scholar concerning their second year's project. Laidlaw scholars will be expected to propose their own projects in their second research summer, and would greatly value a discussion with you around how to develop the skills or knowledge gained from your project.