Leadership & Research

Good leaders make confident researchers and good researchers make innovative leaders. Laidlaw Scholars receive generous funding in the form of two summer stipends and benefit from a host of workshops and development opportunities designed to hone both Leadership and Research skills. 

Leadership Development Programme

Each cohort of Laidlaw Scholars undertakes an intensive and rewarding eighteen-month leadership development programme organised around the Laidlaw Programme’s 3Cs: Change Maker Values, Capacities, and Character.

This includes the equivalent of six days of core leadership training with a focus on developing valuable and transferable skills including project management, ethical behaviour, communications, teamwork, resilience, cultural and social awareness, and community building. 

The leadership development component of the programme gives Scholars a range of opportunities to develop experience and practise the skills they will need to become a next generation leader. 

Activities include group development training days and residential weekends, guided reflective exercises, one-to-one coaching, and opportunities to connect across the Laidlaw Scholars Network

Summer One: Research Project

Laidlaw Scholars propose and undertake a six-week, student-led research project in their first summer of the programme. They do this with the support and guidance of a Cambridge-based academic who acts as their research supervisor. Scholars receive a stipend of £3000 during the first summer.

Research projects that are interdisciplinary or have an international dimension are encouraged. Sharing the outcomes of your research through conference presentations or publication is also encouraged. The project must be original and distinct from any existing and ongoing project. Scholars should take this opportunity to build on the interests, knowledge, and experience already developed through their studies, but please note that the project must be entirely separate from any work submitted as part of their undergraduate degree. 

The six-week summer research period will take place over six weeks following the end of Easter term, usually after the end of May Week. Scholars are permitted to conduct their research abroad.

Having trouble defining your research question? This guide can help.

Examples of previous research projects by Laidlaw Scholars can be found here

Summer Two: Leadership in Action

The Leadership in Action experience takes place in the second summer and provides Laidlaw Scholars with an opportunity to use their leadership skills in a practical setting by engaging with different cultures, challenging themselves personally, and serving communities in need. 

The Leadership in Action experience can take one of three forms:

Central Laidlaw Foundation Project: These are immersive experiences offered by organisations partnered with the Laidlaw Foundation. As part of a Central Laidlaw project, you will join a cohort of Scholars from other participating universities to deliver leadership projects that address key social issues. Past partners have included:

Leadership Placement: Scholars identify and approach their own external organisation and partner with them to deliver a project that is designed by the Scholar to make a positive impact on the communities the organisation serves. Potential partner organisations can include charities, NGOs, or not-for-profit community-based organisations. This placement can be tied to the Scholar’s research project or can explore new areas of interest. 

In-field Application of Research: This option allows Scholars to implement the findings of their summer research projects with a focus on using leadership and research skills to make positive change in society. This should not constitute a second summer of research, but rather expand upon the scope and objectives of the first summer to include practical, leadership-based applications. Scholars should also explore a new and challenging environment, away from their more familiar research environment and might include working in partnership with an international university, charity, or NGO. In-field applications of research are normally supervised by the same academic who supervised the summer research project, and the second summer’s Leadership in Action experience should feature in the overall planning of the project. 

All three options for the Leadership in Action experience should have clear goals and aim towards specific outputs. They should also adhere to the Laidlaw Foundation’s criteria stating that each experience comprise:

  • A learning experience of six-weeks duration in a new and personally challenging environment
  • Working to support communities in need
  • Developing and demonstrating the Laidlaw leadership skills, attributes, and values
  • Clearly defined objectives and deliverables owned by the Scholar
  • Learning through service internationally/overseas

Scholars receive a stipend of £3000 during the second summer and can apply for additional project and travel funding to cover expenses in excess of the stipend.

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The Laidlaw Leadership and Research Programme at Newnham, Murray Edwards, Fitzwilliam, and Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge  
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