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Laidlaw Information for Supervisors

Dear Laidlaw supervisors and potential supervisors,

In line with the wishes by the Laidlaw Foundation, the Scholarship is currently undergoing changes in how it is being delivered. The main aspect is an increased emphasis on Leadership. As a result the project in the second summer will be focussing on providing a "leadership in action" component. This does not have to exclude the possibility of doing research during the second year however it requires more of a practical approach and focus on leadership. Examples of this may include dissemination or application of research in an unfamilar context or environment.

We will give a full update once all the implications of changes have been reviewed against the way the Scholarship currently runs. Existing Laidlaw Scholars will continue with the Scholarship they signed up to but may be given additional oportunities to participate in pilot studies for new components. Scholars currently applying for a Scholarship have a confirmed first year research project and will be updated on the detailed requirements for the second summer (i.e. how the leadership in action component is implemented in practice) before being asked to accept a Scholarship offer in February 2020. Until that time the below details are still fairly represenative of many of the Scholarship requirements.

Please feel free to contact the Laidlaw Team if you have any questions about the changes. You will receive an e-mail once this section has been updated to fully explain the upcoming changes.


Below you can find further information and a video recording of the briefing session presented at the launch event.


About Laidlaw:

Aim: to “equip self-motivated and ambitious undergraduate students with the knowledge and skills to become future leaders”

  • Gift to the University by Lord Laidlaw since 2014
  • Scholarships are offered by Leeds, UCL, York, Oxford, Durham, Hong Kong, Trinity, Columbia, Tufts, Singapore
  • 25 Scholarships are awarded per year. Every year there are an average of 2-3 applicants per available place.


The Supervisor’s role

In terms of what’s involved in the supervision process, your role includes the following:

  • To provide support and advice, ensuing the scholar is working towards a realistic research question which is appropriate in scope for a 5-week project and helping the student develop this further for the second summer project
  • To advise and guide the scholar through any necessary processes ahead of their research e.g. school ethics committees, risk assessments etc.
  • Encouraging the scholar to produce a research plan at the start of the project and to meet with them regularly to review their progress (this could also include other forms of communication such as e-mail or skype)
  • To provide ongoing guidance and encouragement to the scholar throughout their project
  • To provide a short report at the end of the project on the standard of the scholar’s work


Expectations of students

Attend all aspects of the Programme

  • Complete two summer research and development sessions
  • Report on the research findings (poster, essay, video, other? [optional, e.g. conferences])
  • Participate in the Laidlaw network


The leadership component

Further information about the leadership component of the Laidlaw Scholarships can be found here: The St Andrews Laidlaw Scholars Leadership Programme (PDF, 1,104 KB)

  • Develop self-awareness
  • Understand leadership theory
  • Link research and leadership
  • Practicing leadership
  • Becoming a reflective leader

The leadership component is a substantial aspect of the Scholarship. During the summer research sessions, students are expected to attend a lunchtime leadership session every Monday between 12 noon and 2pm. In addition the Scholars will have additional talks and several all day / weekend leadership workshops. Any additional leadership development support you can give your Scholar - for example by sharing information from your own leadership experience with them - is much appreciated.


Minor Expenses Allocation to Supervisors for Scholars

We provide £300 per scholar each year, paid to Supervisors/Schools to administer, to be used for minor expenses, books and materials.

Purchases should be receipted and charged through your School account in the usual way and scholar expenses processed as per the University Expense Policy.  Any items such as books or bench materials that are purchased in this way should be retained where they will contribute the most to research – so for example, they may be kept by the student or Supervisor, or donated to the Library or lab. 


Ethics Approval

We would expect Supervisors to assist Scholars in identifying if their research project has any ethical implications and help them receive any necessary approvals from the appropriate University ethics committee, where relevant, as soon as possible. Scholars are required to have obtained ethical approval for their research prior to starting the summer research period. Applications to the Travel Fund require prior receipt of any neccessary ethical approval!


Laidlaw Travel Fund

There are three dates throughout the year at which the Scholars can apply for money from their own travel fund. This should be used to cover travel costs in connection with their research (this may also include attending training sessions or conferences). All Scholars who intend to travel are required to confirm that you support their travel as a necessary part of their research.

All applicants must complete a risk assessment prior to travel; applicants to the Fund and will be asked to confirm they have completed the process. Any travel outside of the UK requires the risk assessment to be signed off on by EHSS prior to application. Further guidance and relevant forms can be found within the Laidlaw Scholars' Travel Fund module on Moodle (



n.B. Scholars currently applying for 2020 Scholarships will receive an updated reporting requirement when available.

At the end of each research summer we ask supervisors to complete a short report on their Laidlaw Scholar. In addition each Laidlaw Scholar (student) is required to complete several pieces of work. As the Laidlaw Programe changes these differ from year to year. At present the following is required of our Scholars:

All Scholars in the first year of Scholarship

- 3-5 minute video about your leadership development (Include things like your reasons for undertaking the Laidlaw programme, what you gained from the overall programme- the research experience, leadership training, networking, international experience and any other aspect you wish to comment on, how the programme will help you in the future, if there are aspects of the programme that you think can be improved-and if so how, how you intend to "give back" to the programme in the future by being an active alumni)

- 2-3000 word essay about your research (This should be an academic essay aimed at someone who is a non-specialist in your field of research - so make sure you explain any specialist terminology used. The main focus should be on the content of what you researched (this may well include a literature review) and what the findings of your project are. You may also wish to include additional things such as: some of the research challenges that presented themselves along the way, if the research has had (or will have) any further reaching impact - e.g. conference presentations or journal articles). 


All Scholars in the second year of Scholarship

- A poster OR a 3-5 minute video about your leadership project 

- 2000 word reflective essay focussing on your leadership development (look at where you were when you applied for the Scholarship, think back to the first leadership weekend and also include some things you may have picked up on over the summer - including the leadership lunches you attended, look to the future in terms of what you want to achieve as a Laidlaw Scholar and beyond and how you intend going about doing so)


Questions and contact

If you have any questions please contact the Laidlaw team at

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