The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship equips self-motivated and ambitious undergraduate students with the knowledge, skills and values to become future leaders in their chosen fields.

Made possible through Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay’s passionate commitment to the development of young people, the Laidlaw Scholarship was established in 2014 and is currently being delivered through 6 high ranking UK-based universities.

The scholarship comprises two key elements:

  1. A research project of between 8-12 weeks duration supervised by a research mentor.
  2. A leadership development programme.

Did you know?

The scholarship has reached an impressive 275 scholars since its inception and there are ambitious growth plans in the pipeline as we look to bring on board a number of international universities from 2018.

To find out which universities are currently delivering the Laidlaw Scholarship see Applying and selection

The Vision

In today’s challenging world the future depends on a new breed of leader ready to address some of the issues with which we are faced. Whilst passion and purpose can take you so far, future leaders need to be equipped with the right blend of values, skills and experience in order to meet their true potential in whatever career they undertake.

The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship was established to build a community of leaders who can contribute effectively in all facets of society and positively benefit others.

The creation of the Laidlaw Scholarship was made possible by Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay’s forward-thinking vision and unswerving commitment to student development. Following a £9 million investment into the Laidlaw Library at the University of Leeds, where Lord Laidlaw was an undergraduate student in the 1960s, the university became the first to deliver the Laidlaw Scholarship in 2014.

The scholarship has grown considerably since its inception and is now being delivered at the University of St Andrews, the University of Oxford, Durham University, University College London and the University of York.

The scholarship will become truly international from 2018 as the programme is likely to be delivered at the Universities of Hong Kong, Dublin, Cape Town and Columbia New York.

The long term vision for the Laidlaw Scholarship is to create a wide-reaching and diverse network of international scholars who will reinvest their knowledge, skills and experiences amongst their peers, colleagues and networks.

Our aim is for the Laidlaw Scholarship to be regarded as an international indicator of exceptional academic and leadership achievement with Laidlaw Scholars positioned as the leaders of tomorrow in their chosen occupations.

Message from Lord Laidlaw

Education facilitates change and improvement and I am committed to providing through the Laidlaw Scholarships a unique opportunity for gifted students – irrespective of their background – to have an intensive development programme that will enable and prepare them to take up leadership roles in whatever field they work in.

Our scholars come from many countries and as we expand the programme there will be many more international universities involved; in three years time it is expected that at any one time there will be more than 450 students in the scholarship.

The Laidlaw Scholars are selected on grounds of academic ability and leadership potential and through scholarship we will create a network of future leaders who will then give back by taking a lead in addressing global issues and contributing in their chosen area or profession.

Lord Laidlaw


Working in partnership with children, their families and the wider community, we will provide a safe and nurturing environment for each child, irrespective of ability or background.  We will empower them to believe in themselves and to embrace the future as active, respectful and responsible citizens.