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Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme


The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme is an exciting opportunity designed to equip students with the skills and values to become leaders in their chosen occupations beyond University.  

The programme is generously sponsored by Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay.

The programme integrates two five-week summer research projects, undertaken during consecutive summers where scholars will pursue and report on a research question with a research supervisor from their chosen School, alongside a comprehensive leadership programme that runs across the academic year. Scholars are also be awarded a studying membership of the Institute of Leadership and Management.

The University will support up to 25 scholarships in summer 2019 and 2020.



  • Students on a St Andrews Honours programme (including UG Integrated Masters programmes) who, at the time of application, are in their antepenultimate year of study and whose final year of study will be based in St Andrews.
  • Students on the BA International programme (regardless of whether their final year of study is in St Andrews or William & Mary).
  • Part-time day-time students on an Honours pathway.
  • St Andrews students who, at the time of application, are on a semester/year study abroad but will be back in St Andrews to do the summer projects and then will be entering their final year of study at St Andrews (these students must attend the leadership weekends or make alternative arrangements with CAPOD). (NB Scholars must have a year of study remaining after their second research project is completed)


  • Students whose final year of study is not in St Andrews (with the exception of students on the BA International programme).
  • General degree (part time evening) students.
  • Incoming study abroad students.

Level of funding

Scholars will be supported by a generous stipend of £500 per week up to a maximum of 10 weeks across the two research periods.  If further support is required, it must be found from other sources: no extensions to the support given will be provided.  There will be a travel fund available to support scholars whose research requires travel outside St Andrews.

Length of scholarship

Scholarships will last for five weeks for each of the two summers of research.  All projects must take place during summer vacation 2019 and 2020 (between 3rd June and 13th September 2019, and 1st June and 14th September 2020).  Scholars are expected to work full-time on their project and may not simultaneously take holiday or undertake other paid work.

Attendance and Scholar Availability

Attendance at the four leadership weekend training courses in March and October 2019 /2020 is compulsory.  These are held either in St Andrews or at a residential venue organised by the University.


If a scholar's project is based in St Andrews, the expectation is that the scholar will be resident in St Andrews or within a commutable distance during their summer research project as part of the community of Laidlaw scholars. The University defines “commutable distance from St Andrews” as a distance from St Andrews which permits students to attend the University during core working hours on a daily basis if required to do so. Absences from St Andrews are permitted for research requirements or otherwise exceptional reasons only; these will be approved by the Judging Panel as part of the application process.


If a scholar's project contains an agreed period of research at another university, the scholar will be based at the partner institution for the research period.


Scholars are also expected to attend the summer leadership programme, unless research-related resons prevent them from attending.


Research at locations outside St Andrews will be subject to normal University procedures in relation to risk assessment.

Leadership Programme

As a condition of award, scholars will engage with an integrated leadership programme before, during and after their research scholarship. The programme is endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management. Prior to beginning the scholarship, participants will benefit from a personal Laidlaw mentor, and an intensive course including training and development in:


  • Introduction to Leadership – setting personal development goals
  • Leadership styles – managing situations and teams
  • Leadership skills – time management and project management
  • Research methods and ethics
  • Being an effective follower as well as a leader
  • Communication skills


During the scholarship, scholars will have access to online resources, networking events, and will be asked to contribute a blog post reflecting on their scholarship experience.


Between the two research projects, scholars will be asked to spend up to 10 hours undertaking a practical leadership project, and to act as a mentor to a Laidlaw scholar from the other cohort.


After the second research project, during their final year of undergraduate study, scholars will be offered an external coach to help them reflect on leadership in practice and build on their expereince with a view to fulfilling ambitions in the future.

Research project and supervision

Students must select or propose a research proposal with an academic [1] in their chosen School. Each scholar will follow a plan of work agreed and supervised by a permanent member of academic staff from St Andrews or one of the agreed international partner universities. For the second summer of research, it is expected that the scholars will contribute more fully to the research design.


Students can apply via the Scholarships and Funding tab in MySaint from 5th November 2018.  The online application will ask for the following information:

  • Name, School, ID number, St Andrews email address
  • Supervisor’s name, School and email address
  • Title of the research project (This can be selected from the pre-defined list, or can be suggested by the applicant with agreement from a supervisor)
  • Start and end date of the project (a five-week period between 3rd June to 13th September) - The preferred, primary start date for projects is the 3rd of June
  • Statement from the scholar on how they intend to develop academically and personally through research (300 words)
  • Statement from the scholar on how they would like to develop as a leader (300 words)
  • Supporting statement from the research Supervisor


 Applications will be assessed on:

  • The scholar's research development statement
  • The scholar's leadership statement
  • The Supervisor’s supporting statement
  • The scholar’s academic record


Please note, research projects must be entirely separate from any work submitted for credit counting towards the student’s degree.  While the experience should benefit a student’s studies, the actual work done is explicitly not part of an Undergraduate degree programme. 


Scholars must adhere to the University’s rules on ethical approval and applicants should discuss this with their potential Supervisors at an early stage.  Queries regarding the University's rules on ethics can be directed to the School Ethics Committee.


[1] Postgraduate research students may not supervise a project.  Academic employees who are not on standard permanent contracts can supervise Scholars only under licence from their Head of School who must counter-sign the statement the Supervisor writes in support of the student.


As a condition of their award, scholars will write a research report (up to 3000 words) as well as producing a poster explaining their research project, and a short video clip (up to five minutes) reflecting on their leadership development throughout their scholarship experience.  All scholar posters will be displayed at an annual Laidlaw Scholar Event hosted by the University in October.  A prize will be offered for the best Arts and best Science posters.  This will be a public event, open to staff, students and members of the wider St Andrews community.


The award of a Laidlaw Scholarship will feature on a student’s transcript.


An annual Programme Report will be sent to Lord Laidlaw detailing the scholarships awarded and highlighting particular successes. The report will also contain feedback from participating students.

Sharing Scholar Information

As part of participation in the Laidlaw programme, the University will share the following data about Laidlaw Scholars, which will be used for the purposes outlined, below:

  • Their names and project titles will be published on the University’s Laidlaw Scholars webpage.
  • Their names and emails will be forwarded to the Laidlaw Trust to allow them to be added to the Laidlaw Scholars intranet.
  • Participants will also be required to provide details of their work for this programme. This will allow Laidlaw scholars to see the project titles of each other’s research and make contact with one another regarding their participation on this programme.
  • Their names and dates of birth will be forwarded to the Institute of Leadership and Management to allow them to be registered as studying members of the Institute of Leadership and Management
  • Their email addresses will be shared with online personality profiling tool providers (EPIC DiSC, Belbin) to allow them to undertake personality profiling tools as part of the leadership development programme.
  • Their email addresses will be forwarded to Epigeum to allow them to have access to online workshops in research methods and ethics.
  • Their names and dietary requirements will be forwarded to any external venues used in the leadership development programme.

Further information

General enquiries should be directed to

November 2018

Laidlaw logo 2019 - new format

General enquiries 

Catriona Wilson
Head of student developement, CAPOD