Developing the next generation of leaders


Developing the next generation of leaders

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We aim to create an international network of diverse, passionate and ethical leaders who will reinvest their skills, knowledge and experience to help others succeed.


Who Laidlaw Scholars are, what they believe and how they act.


To achieve

More than you thought was possible:

• Subverting norms

• Beating records

• Finding solutions

• Challenging yourselves


To take risks

And reap the rewards:

• Being innovative 

• Bold 

• Forging new paths 

• Learning from failure


To question everything

And  learn through exploration: 

• Re-examining the past 

• Rigorously analysing data 

• Experimenting 

• Imagining the impossible


To overcome obstacles

With an unwavering sense of purpose:

• Committed 

• Focused 

• Resilient 

• Insistent


Remarkable in every way

You are everything but ordinary: 

• Talented 

• Individual 

• Multi-faceted

• Already a leader


Because life is too short to dawdle:

There are: 

• Places to be 

• Questions to ask 

• Things to try

• Wrongs to right


He is EXTRAORDINARY, she is FAST, they are GOOD

Integrity is the touchstone of the Laidlaw Scholar: treating others with respect, collaborating, being decent and truthful. 

We partner with only the top universities in the world. All of our scholars are exceptionally smart.

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Georgina Sánchez Moles

How the 4th Industrial Revolution is impacting the livelihoods of fashion workers in East London

I am a soon to be third year BSc Social Sciences student at UCL and this is my second year doing the Laidlaw scholarship.

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Bao-Chau Pham

Multiple Speakers, Competing Discourses: The Construction of Security in the 2016 Austrian Presidential Election

I’m currently studying international relations in my final year at the University of St. Andrews.

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Georgiana Epure

The Responsibility to Protect Populations from Mass Atrocities

I feel like I’ve grown in the two years how others would in maybe five years. The entire experience is played on fast forward from a professional point of view.

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Francisco Salema Oom de Sacadura

Neuro-Mechanisms of Pain Perception and the Human Experimental Model

I am a Second year neuroscience student at UCL and second year Laidlaw Scholar. This experience has made me more certain than ever that I want to be an academic.

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The Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Programme aims to develop a new generation of leaders who are skilled researchers, embrace data-based decision making, and believe it is a moral imperative to lead with integrity. It invests in talented and motivated undergraduate students, giving them the knowledge, skills and experience to become active global citizens and future leaders.


The programme uniquely funds both a research experience and leadership development for undergraduate students.

There are four core components to the programme:

1. A research project

Taking place over approximately six weeks during a summer vacation. Working with an academic supervisor and/or an experienced research team, scholars develop their abilities in investigative study, analysis, problem solving and data management. The research topic can be selected from a list provided by the university, or be self-proposed if the student has confirmation that an academic will supervise the research.

2. Leadership training

Scholars begin their Laidlaw experience with a leadership training retreat. In a group, immersive environment, they discover their own innate leadership preferences, learn core leadership attributes, explore leadership values and develop their leadership skills through exercises and applied learning. Their leadership development continues through the academic year, after their research summer, with guest speakers, coaching and more.

3. Leadership-in-Action experience

The Leadership-in-Action component is a 6-week immersive project that usually takes place in the second summer of the programme.
The programme gives scholars the chance to take ownership of a project which demonstrably makes the world a better place. Learning through service, scholars test their leadership skills, expand their understanding of what it means to be a global citizen, and challenge themselves to grow.

4. Networking

Scholars join a global network of fellow Laidlaw Scholars. This online community provides a dedicated space for scholars to contribute and collaborate. Undergraduate scholars publish their research here, test their thinking, partner on projects and continue their leadership development. MBA scholars and alumni share career questions, advice and opportunities. Leading academics post their latest papers and thought leadership.


A research project gives scholars the chance to pursue in-depth an area of interest with the support of one or more academic supervisors. Either selected from a list of topics provided by the university, or self-proposed, the scholar has the overall responsibility to manage and deliver the project. The discipline of research develops intellectual rigour, project-management skills, critical thinking and the ability to communicate conclusions clearly. 

The Research Supervisor supports scholars in designing a project that is meaningful and robust, which allows them to work independently and with others. Scholars will achieve an in-depth understanding of a subject of their choice and will develop behaviours and skills that will be invaluable throughout university and in their future careers.

Research projects usually take place over one summer and last around six weeks. Students apply directly to their own universities who manage the application process for their own students

The research project allows scholars to:

• Find answers to some of the world’s most intractable problems.

• Experience what it is like to work alongside high performing scholars and academics.

• Actively learn from people in their team as they manage and lead projects.

• Build confidence and the ability to work independently.

• Understand the importance of primary research.

• Develop transferable skills and behaviours such as self-motivation, critical thinking, organisation, planning, commitment and decision making.

• Enhance professional communication skills.

• Receive one-to-one mentoring from a specialist supervisor.


Our scholars conduct research within a range of different fields alongside a leading academic supervisor. Below are eight examples of research papers, which cover topics as varied as ice-rafted debris to urban life in contemporary Chinese animation. To see more research papers, please visit the Laidlaw Scholars Network


The Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Programme was established to help develop leadership potential in the world’s top students. By bringing together a group of international scholars, the programme creates an exciting, diverse and inspirational learning environment. Those taking part in the programme will gain knowledge in a chosen field while developing the skills needed to become a leader.

The Leadership Model:

In businesses, academia, charities, social enterprises and the public sector, we need leaders at every level of the organisation who understand purpose, strategy, planning , execution, and ethical leadership. Successful leaders demonstrate these skills individually, when managing others, and in different types of situations. 

Our intensive training will help develop the skills that are essential to a scholar’s future career, whatever that may be, with a programme based on the Laidlaw Scholar attributes. Each university delivers a carefully curated programme which includes activities such as experiential learning, team working exercises, action learning sets, critical self reflection, intercultural understanding and global citizenship. Most programmes have a residential element/retreat and there is access to online learning on the expert Network. 

All scholars will improve their self-knowledge and awareness, communication and presentation skills,  critical and creative thinking, social and intercultural understanding, collaboration and team working expertise, problem solving, resilience, determination  and decision making, research and project management skills. 

They will become better global citizens and strong next generation leaders.


Laidlaw Scholars on a Think Pacific expedition

Lord Laidlaw with Laidlaw Scholars in Tanzania 

Laidlaw Scholars on a mission in Fiji

“We need a new generation of leaders who have the research brilliance to help solve intractable problems, who behave with integrity and are determined to make the world a better place”– Susanna V. Kempe

This component enables Scholars to own a project and stress-test their leadership skills; enhance their understanding of what it means to be a global citizen by experiencing different cultures; and do something which demonstrably makes the world a better place, either through applying their own research or working in partnership with a NGO, not-for-profit or social enterprise.

The core criteria for the experience are:

• A project with a defined objective and at least three SMART goals which will enable application of the leadership attributes taught earlier, owned and delivered by the Scholar;

• Working with/for a disadvantaged group or community, or a group suffering hardship e.g. refugees;

• Gaining different perspectives by being immersed in a new and challenging environment.


We are looking to partner with impactful organisations. Please see the document below to find out how our outstanding Laidlaw Scholars can help to advance your mission through research and Leadership-in-Action programmes at no cost to you.

If you are interested in becoming a Partner, please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly. 


We partner with the highest performing universities; those known for their research excellence and who share our vision and passion to support and develop the leaders of tomorrow.

The Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Programme is available at the following leading universities. If your university is not listed and you would like to be involved in the programme, please have your President or Vice Chancellor contact us about applying to be a partner university.


Please see the eligibility criteria for each university. Typically, undergraduate students in their first year of a 3-year programme and their second year of a 4-year programme may apply to the Laidlaw Undergraduate Leadership and Research Programme. Participating Universities accept applications from students of all backgrounds and disciplines to create a diverse and vibrant community of scholars. Application windows differ between Universities, but generally fall between November and February each year; for exact application dates please visit your University’s website.

Once the application window is closed, applications are reviewed by experts in various fields. The selection process not only takes account of the research topic and the applicant’s academic background and achievements, but also their passion, drive, enthusiasm, ambition, and leadership potential.

Outstanding students are shortlisted and interviews are then conducted by a panel at each University. Many candidates, whether successful or not, find the selection process to be both challenging and rewarding. This disciplined process gives every candidate the opportunity to reflect on their life goals and to think about potential career opportunities and choices. 

Students will find out if they have been successful by April.

How to Apply

You must be an undergraduate at one of our partner universities in order to apply.
Please click on the university’s logo above to see contact details and their full application process. 

We wish you the best of luck!


“Understanding the link between women’s empowerment and the wealth and health of societies is crucial for humanity…If you want to lift up humanity, empower women. It is the most comprehensive, pervasive, high-leverage investment you can make in human beings.” – Melinda Gates

Women are still woefully under-represented in C-Suites and Boardrooms across the world. By investing in extraordinary women to gain their MBAs, the Foundation intends to give women the education and networks to achieve equal representation and power. To date, we have helped over 300 women earn their MBA from Columbia Business School and have started a Women’s Movement programme with London Business School and Oxford’s Saïd Business School, providing full and half scholarships to women who would not otherwise be in a position to reap the benefits of attending these outstanding schools.


Our aim is to achieve gender parity on executive and non-executive boards. 

We believe that by funding scholarships for exceptional women to gain their MBAs at leading business schools, we can help build the pipeline of future women leaders through access to best-in-class education, resources and global networks.



London Business School and the Laidlaw Foundation share a commitment to women in business and women’s initiatives. We also share a joint vision – to help exceptional females to excel in their careers, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. 

The Laidlaw Women’s Leadership Fund at London Business School supports 20 outstanding female MBA, EMBA and Masters in Management scholars per year from 2019 – 2022.

By arming cohorts of women to aim higher and achieve more through education and in their careers, the LBS and Laidlaw Foundation partnership intends to inspire and encourage the drive for change by promoting women’s leadership on boards and in businesses around the globe.

Together we aim to build and develop a diverse community of passionate and exceptional female leaders, from a wide range of backgrounds.

Full and half scholarships available.


London Business School’s vision is to have a profound impact on the way the world does business and the way business impacts the world. The School is consistently ranked among the best business schools globally and is widely acknowledged as a centre for outstanding research.

As well as its highly ranked degree programmes, the School offers award-winning Executive Education programmes to business leaders from around the world.

London Business School has campuses in London and Dubai, and a presence in three additional international cities – New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The School equips its diverse student body with the tools needed to tackle today’s business challenges and connects them with many of the world’s leading thinkers.

The School has more than 44,000 alumni working in over 155 countries. Together, they are a community defined by a wealth of knowledge, business experience and worldwide networking opportunities.

London Business School’s 174 faculty members come from over 30 countries. They cover seven subject areas: accounting, economics, finance, management science and operations, marketing, organisational behaviour, and strategy and entrepreneurship.

François Ortalo-Magné, Dean, London Business School, discusses our joint vision – to help exceptional women excel in their careers and take positions of leadership around the world.



Oxford Laidlaw Scholars, supported by £1.35m in funding from the Laidlaw Foundation, join over 300 Laidlaw Scholars from Columbia Business School and London Business School whom the Laidlaw Foundation has supported to earn their MBAs.

The Laidlaw Scholarships are intended to encourage extraordinary women with clear leadership potential to enrol onto the Oxford MBA programme when they would not have previously considered the qualification due to financial constraints.

The Laidlaw Foundation’s gift currently enables Oxford Saïd to support up to eight outstanding women per year and build upon its current position as Europe’s most gender-balanced MBA, with currently a 47% female class. Exceptional individuals who demonstrate that they share the Foundation’s commitments will benefit from a scholarship that covers their MBA course fees in full.

As part of the scholarship, recipients have the unique opportunity to benefit from a range of on-course activities and priority access to School events. They also enjoy an annual dinner with Laidlaw Foundation representatives, Oxford Saïd faculty and scholars from previous years, helping build a sense of community. Through fostering a positive and stimulating community, they are encouraged to share ideas, experiences, skills, as well as create new initiatives.

Learn more about our eight inaugural scholars here.


Embedded in the oldest university in the English-speaking world, the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School is a young and innovative school that seeks to develop the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. Oxford Saïd offers a broad range of business-related degree programmes and executive education taught courses. The school uses its academic strengths and global network to address long-term transformations such as climate change and the impact of new technology.



The Laidlaw Foundation, HEC Paris, and the HEC Foundation recently launched the Laidlaw Scholars Program at HEC Paris, targeting exceptional women facing financial barriers to pursuing an MBA. This program offers 10 full scholarships annually, aligning with HEC Paris’s mission to enable talented women from diverse backgrounds to achieve their academic and professional ambitions.

The scholarship is designed to empower women to reach their full potential, bridging the gender gap in business leadership and promoting inclusivity. Laidlaw Scholars at HEC Paris will benefit from an alumni mentoring program, connecting them with accomplished female alumni for guidance and networking opportunities.


Founded in 1881, HEC Paris is a leading European Business School. Its ambition is to positively impact both businesses and society thanks to its three-pronged approach “Think, Teach, Act” and thus to contribute to a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world.

With 160 research professors from all around the world producing and teaching unique knowledge to more than 4,500 students from 135 different countries, the HEC Paris campus serves as a real laboratory for innovation and exchange which is open to the world’s diversity and challenges.

Inspired by its 5 core values -Excellence, Curiosity, Entrepreneurial spirit, Diversity and Responsibility- HEC Paris offers a complete range of training courses for the leaders of tomorrow: the Pre-Experience Program, specialized masters, MSc, the Summer School, the MBA, the Executive MBA, the TRIUM Global Executive MBA, the PhD, as well as a wide variety of programs targeted to leaders and managers.



The Laidlaw Foundation and Trinity College Dublin have announced a new scholarship programme entitled Pathways for Women in Business – Empowering women in business through higher education.

In partnership with the Trinity Access Programmes (TAP), these scholarships will enable 30 diverse and exceptional women, from lower socio-economic groups to study in Trinity College Dublin. As well as strengthening its scholarships for women, TAP will develop, build, and embed initiatives to support female leadership, including skills development programmes and career workshops over a three-year period. The programme will empower these women to access higher education and to progress to successful careers in business.

Susanna V. Kempe, CEO of the Laidlaw Foundation, commented: “This programme extends our successful Women in Business Scholarships at London Business School and Oxford’s Saïd Business School to undergraduates. Trinity’s fantastic track record in addressing educational disadvantage makes them the perfect partner for us as we strive to transform lives through providing world class education and propel more women into leadership roles.”

Lord Laidlaw added: “I have been a strong supporter of Trinity College Dublin for many years. Adding these Scholarships builds on my commitment to the University and the community. I am delighted that we are able to invest in this programme and the futures that it will create.”


Established in 1993, Trinity Access Programmes (TAP) forms a key element of the social mission of Trinity College Dublin and has a highly successful track record of working with schools, teachers, and communities to increase participation in third-level education by people from under-represented groups. TAP is acknowledged as a world leader in addressing educational disadvantage.


Outstanding women who can demonstrate economic need, exceptional academic merit and true leadership potential should apply directly to either Saïd Business School or London Business School.

Please note that you must apply for your intended programme and be granted admission separately to the scholarship application.


Technology and globalisation have changed the way we live and work. Tomorrow’s leaders need to be cross culturally aware and astute; as comfortable in London and New York as in Hong Kong or Rwanda.

The rich cultural diversity of the students on the Laidlaw Scholarship programmes gives members a world of networking opportunities – meeting and collaborating, both virtually and in person, with students and supervisors from universities as far apart as St. Andrews, Dublin, Toronto and Hong Kong.  

As our scholars and alumni interact with each other, exchanging ideas, sharing problems and suggesting solutions; our aim is to facilitate a network of  ambitious, brave, curious and smart young people who can support each other as they become the next generation of leaders and committed global citizens.

Because to be a global citizen categorically does not mean being a citizen of nowhere. We reject this as dangerous, and errant nonsense. It means that humanity has global responsibilities, obligations and of course shared interests. We are better when we experience other cultures and norms. We are better when we open ourselves up to learn new things.  It is when we think we have all the answers in our own closed space, and experience, that we limit what we are able to achieve.

The Laidlaw Foundation encourages networking through global research teams, cross university leadership training and small group work, leadership-in-action expeditions made up of scholars from different universities around the world and through our on-line expert network:

This social utility tool enables undergraduate scholars, business school scholars, the faculty and partners who support them, and Laidlaw alumni to share their expertise, meet ambitious peers, collaborate on research projects, mentor their successors and inspire change for a better present.