Benefits of the Laidlaw Programme and How to Apply

The Laidlaw Leadership and Research Programme uniquely funds both a research experience and leadership development for undergraduates. It invests in talented and motivated undergraduate students, giving them the knowledge, skills and experience to become active global citizens and future leaders.

Applications for the 2022 programme have now CLOSED.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the Laidlaw Leadership and Research Programme 2022 please ensure that:

  1. You will be based at the University of Leeds during 2022-23
  2. You are a first year undergraduate student 

As the programme is merit-based, you are eligible to apply for it even if you are already in receipt of a scholarship from the University of Leeds.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for the programme, please email the Laidlaw Programme Administrator ( in the first instance.

Please note: students studying the following programmes are not eligible to apply for the Laidlaw Leadership and Research Programme:

Application Process

Support is available to help you with your application during the application period. If you were unable to attend the Information Sessions, please see the presentation slides.

Step One: Think about and decide what you would prefer your Leadership in Action period to be (this will help with identifying a research project)




Leadership Expedition 

via an organisation from the approved list of central projects. 



Fully funded. No direct payment to scholar. 

  • You will develop your leadership skills by working with a partner non-profit/NGO to help them fulfil their vision and mission. 
  • Bespoke leadership training as part of the programme. 
  • Living in a new and challenging environment, typically outside of your home country. 
  • Scholars are part of a Laidlaw scholars group with students from other participating universities 


Leadership Project 

with an NGO / Not-for-Profit, proposed by the Scholar or from a university provided list. 



Direct payment of £3k stipend  to the scholar to cover any programme costs and associated living, travel and subsistence expenses. Additional travel funding will also be available. 

  • 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 you;​ 
  • Working with/for a disadvantaged group or community, or a group suffering hardship e.g. terminally ill people; ​ 
  • Gaining different perspectives by being immersed in a new and challenging environment - the setting is outside of the academic environment and new to you. 


Research – Infield application 

of the Scholar’s research project putting the findings of the first year’s project into action with the aim of creating positive change in society. 




Direct payment of £3k stipend  to the scholar to cover all research costs and associated living, travel and subsistence expenses. Additional travel funding will also be available. 

  • The experience is new to the Scholar 
  • The experience has clearly defined  objectives and impacts which will be of benefit to society as a whole. 
  • This second phase of the research project will be identified directionally as part of the initial application process. 
  • The project will involve developing the  Laidlaw leadership attributes. 
  • This is NOT a simple continuation of research, clear Action objectives and goals need to be followed. 


Step Two: Identify a research project you would like to participate in. There are two options available:

Option 1

If you have an original research project proposal you need to discuss it with a potential academic supervisor who can support you through the project. You will need to design the project with consideration to your Leadership in Action Period. All projects should be designed to produce real world impact, beyond research outcomes; or begin a process of so-doing.

If you have defined a project yourself, you will need to write a short research project proposal explaining why the project interests you, why you are interested in the leadership programme, and what qualities and experience you have which will make you successful in completing both. You will also need to agree and confirm the support of your academic research project supervisor, who will need to complete a statement of support for the research project and your suitability for the scholarship.

You will also need to consider whether ethical review is needed for your proposed project. The university’s ethical review process takes around 6 weeks to be completed, so you will need to discuss the ethical issues with your supervisor and allow enough time for this process before your research period begins. Ethical review is needed for all research with ethical implications, for example research involving human participants or personal data. All relevant information and ethical review forms can be found here.

Option 2

Review the list of predefined research projects and decide which one you would like to participate in (you can only apply for the ones based in your faculty) and then discuss your potential application with the project supervisor.

There are options for applicants to apply to pre-defined projects in collaboration with the Laidlaw Foundation. These projects will be open to applications from all universities in the Laidlaw network and each offer distinct opportunities to engage with Laidlaw Foundation partner organisations in the UK. Some of these projects will also incorporate a built-in leadership in action option for Summer 2. Applicants will be competing with students from across the Laidlaw Network for these opportunities. If you are interested in one of these projects please contact Rebecca Shaw prior to your application.

If applying for a predefined project you will need to explain why the project interests you, why you are interested in the leadership programme, and what qualities and experience you have which will make you successful in completing both. You will also need a statement from your personal tutor or academic representative on your suitability for the programme.

Step three: Complete the online application form. Applications for 2022 are now CLOSED.

Step Four:

Create a short video, telling us which Laidlaw value you believe best describes you, and provide an example of when this has been impactful. The video should be up to two minutes in length and you should be creative!

Step Five: Submit the application

Shortlisted candidates will be asked to attend an interview.

Scholars will be selected based the strength of evidence/potential provided for the following:

  • The student’s potential and ambition for leadership roles in the future
  • The viability of the research project within given timescales
  • The extent to which the student can envisage how their research could be applied or what impact it can have
  • The Research Supervisor’s supporting statement