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

Laidlaw summer projects will usually run for six consecutive weeks from the week after the end of term – although this is very flexible and some projects may have a timescale which is more spread out.  The standard six week period for summer 2021 will be Monday 14 June to Friday 23 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.

"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 Experience).

  • 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


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 2021.

Your input into the selection process

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

  • Answering questions by email from prospective applicants to your project / the scheme.
  • Choosing the three key criteria for the project which must be demonstrated on the scholar’s application form.
  • Shortlisting the applications received in February 2021 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
  • hiring a research student to assist with supervision.

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).
  • Answering questions via email from potential applicants (who cannot get to the drop in session).
  • Shortlisting applications (The maximum number of applications was 35 for one project, but most receivee between 5 – 10).
  • If allocated a Laidlaw Scholar, working with the scholar to produce a full project plan before summer 2021.
  • 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 where appropriate. Some Laidlaw scholars may with to continue their research in their second summer.  Whilst most scholars will be expected to do a leadership placement then, there may be some opportunity for this to happen in a few cases.