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A photo of a group of York Laidlaw Scholars

The Laidlaw Scholarship

Listen to the Programme Lead, Penny Foster, and a group of Laidlaw Scholars talk about the Laidlaw Scholarship.

The 2021 Laidlaw Scholarship equips self-motivated and ambitious undergraduate students with the knowledge, skills and experience to become leaders in their chosen fields.

The scholarship combines the opportunity for students to undertake a unique research project and an innovative and accredited leadership development programme.

The scholarship will offer the opportunity to conduct an independent research project in summer 1 (2021) and a Leadership In Action project in summer 2 (2022) in which scholars will develop, enhance and apply leadership skills developed in the first year of the programme. Scholars can choose from a number of options including a charity expedition in a developing country, a leadership placement or in-field application of their research to bring about positive change to the area of study. Funding is available during the research project and for the leadership experience. The programme is generously sponsored by Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay.

A high-quality leadership development programme is also provided to the selected students over an 18-month period, enabling scholars to develop strong leadership skills and greater self-awareness, and resulting in a Chartered Management Institute qualification at Level 5, a highly desirable qualification for future employers.

We are looking for 25 proactive and motivated undergraduate students to participate in the 2021 programme.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Programme Changes for 2021-22

2020 has been an extraordinary year and has highlighted the immense global challenges we face, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the impact of climate change and ongoing inequalities and divisions in our society.  We are committed to delivering the Laidlaw Scholarship as we see the potential in developing a new generation of diverse, inclusive leaders who will meet these challenges and play an important role in the economic, social and cultural recovery from the pandemic.

We are working closely with the Laidlaw Foundation to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and we can confirm the following changes for the programme in 2021-22. See also this video which gives a scholar perspective on their 2020 experience.

  • We will hold interviews for the Laidlaw Scholarship online
  • Either all or partial delivery of leadership events online - delivering face to face events where we can
  • An online global induction session for all 300 new scholars in Spring 2021
  • An online Global Buddies platform where scholars can connect with one or two other scholars from different universities/countries
  • A scholars conference in 2021, which will be in person or virtual depending upon the COVID-19 restrictions in place at that time
  • When selecting a research project, please consider how you would carry this out remotely, if required, during Summer 2020
  • With regards to Leadership in Action in Summer 2022 we will work closely with the Foundation to offer opportunities to put leadership into practice, delivered remotely if required


University of York undergraduate students must be in their first year of a three year degree or in the first or second year of a four year degree in order to apply for the Laidlaw Scholarship 2021.

Selected students must be available to undertake a funded research project during the Summer of 2021 and the Leadership In Action project during the summer of 2022.

There are no restrictions on discipline, division, nationality or fee status.

I am a mentor to a Laidlaw Scholar