LSE Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Programme

What is this programme about?

This programme, available to first-year undergraduate students, is about you and your development and preparation for the future. It’s your unique opportunity to develop leadership and research experience and skills beyond your academic studies through practical training and reflection.

Building on LSE’s expertise in social sciences, you will learn to analyse and address wicked problems while reflecting on leadership as a complex and multi-faceted concept. You will have the opportunity to think about and discuss questions of ethical leadership and integrity, explore your individual understanding of leadership, and reflect on the contributions you would like to make as a graduate.

The LSE Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Programme will help you develop the following competencies: leadership abilities; self-knowledge and awareness; effective communication; critical and creative thinking; collaboration and team working; social and cultural intelligence and awareness; resilience and determination; and research and project management.

How does it work?

The programme takes place over the first two years of your undergraduate degree and is fully funded. Each year has a specific focus:

First year

In the first year, you will complete a fully-funded six-week immersive Leadership-in-Action project which will take place in summer between your first and second year of study. This work-based learning placement will allow you to gain valuable experience and develop relevant leadership skills beyond your programme of study. The project you will be working on will focus on work with a community in need, will take you out of your comfort zone, and will have an international aspect. Appropriate work placements will be provided either by LSE Careers or by the Laidlaw Foundation.

Examples of placements from other institutions include

  • Tufts Laidlaw Scholar Eleanor Cheung worked with the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing to host vaccine clinics and provide educational outreach in immigrant communities across Massachusetts in an effort to reduce disparities in vaccination rates.

  • St Andrews Laidlaw Scholar Yukiko Braun worked with Youth Champs 4 Mental Health, a Fijian organisation advocating for mental health and suicide prevention, through Foundation partner Think Pacific. Yukiko and her team led projects to help foster young Fijians’ wellbeing and raise awareness about taking care of one’s mental health.

Second year

In the second year, you will conduct a fully-funded six-week interdisciplinary group research project that will explore one specific aspect of leadership. This project will take place in summer between your second and third year of study and you will have a supervisor to support you and your peers. You will gain first-hand research experience while deepening your knowledge and reflection in the field of leadership. Working with other Laidlaw Scholars, you will also develop your ability to work in teams towards a shared goal.


In addition to these two six-week projects, you will be attending two residential weekends where you will develop valuable skills and your own thinking about leadership. There will also be plenty of opportunities to meet your fellow scholars during our programme-related evening seminars and events which are designed to help you become part of this dedicated learning community.

Finally, for both, your work placement and the research project you will receive a stipend of £500 per week (that is, a stipend worth £6,000 for the entire programme).

Why should you join?

LSE is a place where you will develop skills and knowledge in the social sciences, but also a place that offers you opportunities to engage beyond your coursework. This programme is a unique opportunity to develop competencies and gain experience that complement your academic studies and that will help you not only while studying at LSE, but well beyond your time at university as you progress in your personal and professional life.

The LSE Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Programme offers you unparalleled opportunities for both your summer breaks in your first and second year; it will take you out of your comfort zone and offer you the opportunity to work with a community in need. You will strengthen your reflective skills and your ability to think about complex problems in a critical and interdisciplinary way, thus complementing the work you will be doing both in your programme of study and in LSE100. You will be part of an engaging leadership learning community at LSE as well as part of the Laidlaw Scholars Network that reaches across many universities around the world.

This programme is designed for first-year undergraduate students and we very much welcome applications from candidates from a diversity of backgrounds and identities and with a wide range of skills and qualifications from all departments across LSE.

How can you apply?

The application period is now closed. The next round of applications will take place in Michaelmas term of the academic year 2022/23.

Important dates

Selection process

  • Friday, 14 January 2022:  Shortlisted candidates notified
  • Wednesday, 19 January 2022 and Wednesday, 26 January 2022:  interviews (between 1pm and 6pm)
  • Wednesday, 2 February 2022:  Final selection announced

Programme for Lent and Summer Term 2022

  • 9 February: Welcome Event: 5-7pm
  • 19 February: Training Day 1: 9.30am – 8.30pm
  • 20 February: Training Day 2: 9.30am – 4.00pm
  • 26 March: Training Day 1: 9.30am – 8.30pm
  • 4 April: Visit Lord Laidlaw & lunch: 11am – 2pm (time: TBC)
  • 4 May, 1-4pm: Briefing and development event (please note the change in time: 1-4pm, not 1-3pm)
  • 9 May: Applications open for Leadership in Action project
  • 29 May: Applications close for Leadership in Action project
  • Between 30 May and 17 June: Interviews and selection process
  • No later than 21 June: Communication of outcomes
  • 4 July - 16 September: 6-week internships completed during these dates (exact dates to be agreed agreed with organisation and LSE Careers at offer stage)
  • New date to be announced: Social get-together with UCL and HKU Laidlaw scholars, 5-8pm (TBC)
  • * 14 Oct - 16 Oct: Laidlaw Conference (location: TBC)

    * More information to follow.