Accessibility statement

A photo of students learning to work together as a team

The Programme

The Laidlaw Scholarship builds on Lord Laidlaw’s inspiring vision to create an international network of diverse, passionate and ethical future leaders. 

2020-2022 have been extraordinary years and have 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 will continue to work closely with the Laidlaw Foundation to respond to any challenges presented by COVID-19, but our aim is to move to a hybrid model of delivery of the scholarship which will include both face to face and online delivery.

The scholarship comprises two main elements: leadership development and a research project.

Leadership Programme

A fundamental element of the scholarship is to provide students with the knowledge and skills vital to becoming future leaders in their chosen fields. Laidlaw Scholars will attend a number of leadership development activities.

This will include a tailored development plan based on observation and feedback on your leadership skills and an online leadership diagnostic.

A three-day residential leadership programme will take place on 26, 27 and 28 June 2023. This will focus on:

  • Exploring personal values and preferences
  • Leadership styles
  • Personal development planning
  • Research methods and project management.

A second three-day programme will take place in March/April 2024 and will include engagement with the local community and team and organisational learning.

Additional leadership activities will be incorporated throughout the programme.

You can see a group of Laidlaw Scholars on some of their community project work:

Research Project and Leadership in Action

Students selected for the 2023 Laidlaw Scholarship will undertake a period of funded research, for 5-6 weeks. The research period will take place in the summer of 2023.

Students must identify a unique research theme and discuss it with an academic supervisor who can mentor them through the project.

The idea should be original and not be part of an existing or ongoing research project at the University, nor part of any work submitted towards the student’s degree. Ideally such projects will relate in some way to the York Research Themes and may contain cross disciplinary elements.

The research project proposal must be submitted as part of the student’s application along with a statement of support submitted by the chosen academic mentor. This information will be verified so please make sure that you have spoken to your academic mentor in advance of submitting your application.

Please indicate in your proposal how your project could be carried out remotely to the University, if required due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Leadership in Action

In the second summer scholars will have the opportunity to put their leadership skills and attributes into practice. Scholars can apply for three options: 

  • Leadership expedition via an organisation from the approved list of central projects. A stipend will apply but costs of the programme, such as living and delivery costs may be deducted. (For central projects there is an application process in order to be selected).
  • Leadership Project with an NGO / Not-for-Profit proposed by the Scholar or from a University provided list. This has a stipend applied.
  • Implementing Scholar's Research Findings in a Community of Need putting the findings of the first year’s project into action with the aim of creating positive change in society. This will be for 6 weeks and the stipend will apply with a further fund available for project expenses

Scholars will develop and apply their leadership skills, cultural awareness, resilience and see the power of team effort. As a truly global citizen, scholars will experience remote cultures in stunning environments and learn more about themselves in four weeks than they would have thought possible.

The programme will closely connect with the Laidlaw Attributes Framework.

Please note that the delivery of these experiences is dependent upon travel restrictions and if not available we will work with the Foundation to offer alternative programmes.


Successful applicants will be asked to write up their research in the form of a research essay and poster and complete a final report for Lord Laidlaw on their experience of the programme and the impact it has had on them.

Scholars will also be expected to showcase their work at a bespoke celebration event and will have the opportunity to present their research at a public event.

We ask scholars to act as ambassadors for the programme, which may involve mentoring future scholars and promoting the programme to peers and to keep us updated on what they go on to achieve.

Find further information regarding the scholar commitments required for the 2023 cohort.