Seriously smart. Never ordinary. Always ambitious.


Seriously smart. Never ordinary. Always ambitious.

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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 AMBITIOUS, she is BRAVE, he is CURIOUS


They are all very SMART. 

Meet the NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS #laidlawscholars

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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.

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

See More


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. To date, more than one thousand passionate change-makers have completed the programme all over the world. 


The programme uniquely funds both a research experience and leadership development for the 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

In their second summer, Scholars put their newly developed leadership knowledge into practice in challenging environments. Over approximately six weeks, Scholars choose from a variety of testing options including joining a charity expedition in a developing country with peers from each of the partner universities, and putting their research into action by planning and leading a change project based on their research findings.

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, can 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

Learning about leadership in the peace and quiet of a leafy quad is very different than living it outside of one’s comfort zone: far from home, tired, stressed and wondering if one is up to the challenge.

The Leadership-in-Action component of the programme takes place over a 5-6 week period in the second summer. It gives scholars an opportunity to put into practice what they have learnt about purpose, strategy, planning, execution, communication and influencing skills, teamwork, resilience and being a global citizen.

Scholars can choose from leadership expeditions such as volunteering work with bespoke leadership training; social enterprise and NGO internships in challenging environments with clearly defined goals and deliverables; and continuing their research by taking it into the field.


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. 


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.


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 undergraduate 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 Scholars 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!