About the Laidlaw Programme

Generously funded by Lord Laidlaw and the Irvine Laidlaw Foundation, the Laidlaw Leadership and Research Programme provides undergraduates with hands-on experience of research, bespoke leadership development and mentoring, as well as an immersive leadership experience to prepare and develop them as global citizens and future leaders who believe in evidence-based decision making and ethical leadership. Laidlaw Scholars and their research supervisors are part of an international network of leading research-intensive universities which deliver the Programme.

The Programme has three main components: 

  • An original, student-led six-week research project in the first long vacation 
  • An immersive six-week Leadership-in-Action experience in the second long vacation where students put their leadership training into practice to create a positive impact in society 
  • An intensive leadership development programme which takes place over the eighteen-month duration of the programme. 

Laidlaw Scholars also benefit from a global masterclass in Ethical Leadership produced by the London Business School, and participate in the Laidlaw Conference alongside cohorts from the other member universities.  

The Laidlaw Programme is currently run through Newnham College, Murray Edwards College, Fitzwilliam College, and Trinity Hall. Only members of these colleges are currently eligible to apply. 

About the Laidlaw Foundation

The Laidlaw Foundation invests in the education of the underprivileged and underrepresented in order to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality and develop a new generation of leaders.


We believe that education is the single most powerful tool to break the cycle of poverty and reduce inequality in the world. We invest in the education of the underprivileged and the underrepresented in order to create systemic change.

Our goal is to develop a new generation of engaged global citizens and leaders; who embrace research, make data-driven decisions and believe that there is a moral imperative to act with integrity.  


The Foundation currently supports 4 programmes:

  1. Laidlaw Schools Trust – a growing multi-academy trust founded to transform the lives of children and communities in the North of England, through inspirational education.  http://laidlawschoolstrust.com/
  2. Leadership and Research Laidlaw Scholars – an international programme supporting undergraduates in 14 top universities around the world, designed to develop a new generation of leaders who are skilled researchers, embrace data-based decision making, and believe it is a moral imperative to lead with integrity. https://laidlawscholars.network/
  3. Women’s Business Education Laidlaw Scholars – an initiative to ensure that we have more women on executive and non-executive boards globally. By investing in extraordinary women to gain their MBAs, the Foundation intends to give women the education and networks to achieve equal representation and power. To date, we have helped over 300 women earn their MBA from Columbia Business School and are beginning a Women’s Movement programme with both London Business School and Oxford’s Saïd Business School, providing full and half scholarships to women who would not otherwise be in a position to reap the benefits of attending this outstanding school. https://laidlawfoundation.com/women-in-leadership/
  4. Buildings at schools and universities designed to help students excel – the Foundation has funded the Laidlaw Music Centre at the University of St. Andrews, built the Laidlaw Library at Leeds University and is exploring a new campus space there which will bring together academics and entrepreneurs. At Sedgefield Community College, the Foundation is building a state-of-the-art new Teaching and Leadership Centre.  https://laidlawfoundation.com/buildings/