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Laidlaw Leadership and Research Program

“The purpose of the scholarships is to encourage and develop future leaders in any field of activity. Looking around the world’s business and political leaders I can’t recall a time when better leaders were more urgently needed.” – Lord Laidlaw 

The Laidlaw Scholars Undergraduate Leadership and Research Programme, also known as the Laidlaw Scholars Program, provides students with funding to pursue research in any area of interest at U of T, or anywhere in the world. It aims to develop a new generation of leaders who are skilled researchers, and believe it is a moral imperative to lead with integrity. The program invests in talented and motivated undergraduate students, giving them the knowledge, skills, and experience to become active global citizens and future leaders. To date, more than one thousand passionate change-makers have completed the program all over the world. 

The Scholarship Program funds up to 25 academically strong and motivated undergraduate students per cycle and provides 16 months of programming that begins in the winter term of your first scholarship award year and ends in the fall term of your second scholarship award year. During the two summers of the program students have an opportunity to focus on Independent Research and Leadership-in-Action (LiA) components of the program.  

The Leadership component of the program has been significantly developed, and scholars now receive bespoke leadership training both during the semesters leading up to, as well as during the months of their summer research. Please note that it is also expected that all students have one global/overseas experience at some stage during the program. 

Benefits of becoming a Laidlaw Scholar

Students who participate in the program will: 

  • work alongside leading researchers to develop their academic potential 
  • receive a generous stipend to engage in summer research, as well as many opportunities to expand leadership abilities 
  • receive mentoring from a specialist supervisor 
  • actively learn from participants and teams while managing projects 
  • develop transferable skills pertaining to decision-making, planning, and communicating 
  • explore potential careers while building confidence and breadth of knowledge 
  • gain access to a network of like-minded peers across the University and beyond 
Summer 1: Research

Selected scholars will conduct research on a topic they propose for 6 weeks. The research period should begin on June 17th 2024 and conclude on July 29th 2024. This research will be carried out in Canada or internationally (if approved) with a research supervisor to supervise scholars from U of T or any international institution.

Information for students regarding Research Supervisor(s) eligibility

  • All research projects that require REB approval must be supervised by a U of T faculty member or a member outlined in the Principal investigators document. We are not able to accommodate projects that require REB approval with a research supervisor who is not affiliated with U of T or does not meet the guidelines laid out in the document listed.
  • If your research project doesn’t require REB approval, your research supervisor(s) are not required to be associated with U of T.
  • The Laidlaw Scholars Program is not able to accommodate research supervisor(s) switches once the research begins.
  • Teaching assistants and graduate students are not eligible research supervisors.
Fall/Winter following Summer 1: Leadership Development & Training

Scholars will receive leadership training in sessions held throughout the year including a leadership training retreat in the winter term, to develop problem-solving and communication skills. 

The program will focus on the importance of developing leadership skills, understanding teamwork, and applying lessons to day-to-day challenges. In addition, all scholars will also be required to participate in an online Ethical Leadership Masterclass led by a leading faculty member at the London Business School along with all other Laidlaw Scholars from other universities in the program. 

Please note that due to the fact that the Leadership component of the program extends through the entirety of the Fall and Winter terms, scholars are required to be available for in-person programming in Toronto and so, cannot participate in Exchange during this time.  

Summer 2: Leadership-in-Action (LiA) Experience

The LiA component is a 6-week immersive project that will take place in the second summer of the program. This, in a variety of different aspects, will be a key focus of the program and will encourage scholars to partake in an experience that is in a new and challenging environment, working with communities in need, and developing leadership skills. An international or global opportunity either through the Leadership in Action experience, or at a different point in the program is highly encouraged. There are three ways in which an LiA summer can be planned, and the planning for this will be discussed with program administrators as well.  

  • Implement your research findings (6 weeks long) 
  • Work with a university approved program (could be self-proposed) implementing your leadership skills, while ideally working with an NGO or organization on a project that may have impact in a community in need (6 weeks long) 
  • Participate in a Leadership-in-Action experience through a centrally offered partner project- more details on this will be available after your first summer in the program. 
Throughout the program

Network Building

  • Join and participate through the Laidlaw Scholars Network, an online community for scholars from all Laidlaw partnered institutions to learn from one another.

Global Experience

  • Establish a global mindset through Research or Leadership in Action summers to experience and learn from a global community

Ethical Leadership Workshops

  • Participate in an ethical leadership certificate offered through Oxford University. Scholars will participate in sessions offered throughout the year virtually which will allow them to work towards becoming an ethical and principled leader.

Laidlaw Scholars Annual Conference

  • Take part in this annual conference to connect and exchange ideas with fellow scholars from different institutions.


All scholars in the program will present their research findings to faculty and staff from across the university at a symposium organized by the Laidlaw Scholars Program. 

All scholars will also be required to write a final research paper outlining the findings of their work and produce a report on the work that they carried out in the second summer of the program.  

The history

Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay used his vision and commitment to create this program, which is now offered at 14 universities around the world. The long-term vision for the Laidlaw Scholarship is to create a wide-reaching and diverse international network of leaders who will reinvest their skills, knowledge and experience to help students, peers and colleagues. 

For more information about the history and vision of the program, please visit the Laidlaw Scholars website

Up to 25 academically strong, motivated students are selected annually. If you are selected as a Laidlaw Scholar, here is what to expect:

  • Summer 1: up to $5000
  • Summer 2: Funding will be determined based on the student’s opportunity during the Leadership-in-Action summer period, but no more than $5000. 

Extra funds: you are also eligible to apply for up to $2,500. This funding can be applied to travel expenses, which are dependent on global travel restrictions and all University of Toronto guidelines, as well as extra lab funding (up to $1000 out of the $2500 mentioned above) that cannot be covered by the main research amount. This extra fund covers the entirety of a scholars’ engagement in the program.


Applicants will be assessed for their passion, drive, enthusiasm, and ambition, while also keeping in mind their academic background and achievements.

You are eligible if you are:

  • A first or second-year undergraduate student in your first program of study at the University of Toronto
  • Maintain full-time status for the entire duration of your enrolment as a Laidlaw Scholar. You must inform the program of any change in your status if selected
  • Studying in any of our three campuses
  • Enrolled in any fields of study and from any background.

You are not eligible if you are:

  • A visiting student
  • A graduate student


Applications for the 2024 cohort will be available on October 10th 2023. Access the program and application by clicking on the Experiential Learning Module in CLNx . Select “View Available Programs/Courses” and apply to the 2024 Laidlaw Scholars Programme (program name: Laidlaw Scholars Programme Recruitment and Application).

Document Guidelines

For details on how to submit an application for the 2024 Laidlaw Scholars cohort, please read the application guidelines, which will be available in early October 2023. 

Important Dates

Please refer below for important dates related to the program. 

  • Tuesday, October 10th 2023 – Application Available
  • Thursday, October 26th 2023 – Information Session (4.00PM – 5.00PM EST)
    •Please register here.
  • Wednesday, November 1st 2023 – Information Session (12.00PM – 1.00PM EST)
    •Please register here.
  • Tuesday, November 7th 2023- Laidlaw Scholar Office Hours (12.00PM-1.00PM EST)
    •Please register here.
  • Wednesday, November 8th, 2023 – Laidlaw Scholar Office Hours (12.00PM-1.00PM EST)
    •Please register here.
  • Thursday, November 9th 2023- Laidlaw Scholar Office Hours (12.00PM-1.00PM EST)
    •Please register here.
  • Thursday, January 18th 2024- Laidlaw Scholar Office Hours (12.00PM-1.00PM EST)
    •Please register here.
  • Monday, January 29th 2024 – Application DUE by 9.00AM  
  • February 28th 2024 – March 11th 2024 (tentative) – Laidlaw Scholars Interviews  
  • Friday, March 14th 2024 (approximately) – Candidates notified of acceptance  
  • Wednesday, March 20th 2024 – 2024 Laidlaw Scholar Welcome Event
  • Saturday, March 23rd 2024 – Leadership Session 1
  • April 1st 2024 – April 20th 2024 – Individual Check-In meetings
  • June 17th 2024 – July 29th 2024 – Research Summer I  
  • September 2024 to April 2025 – Leadership Program
    (Finalized schedule will be released in September 2024)  
  • Summer 2025 – Leadership-in-Action (LiA) Summer 

All information sessions will be held online using Zoom.   
UTSG students should register through the CLNx link above.   
UTM and UTSC students – Please email to be added to the registration list.   

Laidlaw Scholars Bios

2023 Scholars

2022 Scholars

2021 Scholars

2020 Scholars

2019 Scholars

The work of current and former Laidlaw Scholars can be found on the Laidlaw Scholars Network. For more information, please visit:  

Laidlaw Scholarship – Laidlaw Scholars Network ( 

Arts & Humanities (  

Medicine & Health (  

Social Sciences (  

STEM (  

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the benefits of being a Laidlaw Scholar?
  • Work alongside leading researchers to develop their academic potential
  • Receive a generous stipend to engage in summer research, as well as many opportunities to expand leadership abilities
  • Receive mentoring from a specialist supervisor
  • Actively learn from participants and teams while managing projects
  • Develop transferable skills pertaining to decision-making, planning and communicating
  • Explore potential careers while building confidence and breadth of knowledge
  • Gain access to a network of like-minded peers across the University and beyond
  • Receive an Ethical Leadership Certificate from Oxford University
  • Gain global experiences through participation in either Research or Leadership in Action summers, and also by potentially attending the Laidlaw Scholars Conference
Can I apply and do PEY/another co-op at the same time?

It is possible to participate in PEY / another co-op at the same time as being a Laidlaw Scholar. However, one of the most important considerations is time over the summer. The Laidlaw Scholars Program requires that you reserve 6 weeks of the summer to conduct full time research. All scholars are required to carry out research from June 17th 2024 to July 29th 2024. If your co-op/PEY can work around this timeline, it is possible for you to do both.

Can I go on exchange/participate in learning abroad opportunities if selected to be a Laidlaw Scholar?

Due to the nature of the leadership program, it is not possible for selected scholars to engage in international exchange/learning abroad opportunities while participating in the Laidlaw Scholars Program.

Can I combine other scholarships or funding opportunities with the Laidlaw Scholars Programme Research funding?

No. The Laidlaw Scholars Program Research Funding is a standalone funding opportunity for summer research and cannot be combined with any other scholarships or funding during the program. If you receive more than one scholarship, you will need to choose which one to accept. 

For my summer research project, is it possible to have a research supervisor from an institution outside of U of T?

Yes. It is possible for you to reach out to a research supervisor from an institution other than U of T. You will still need to follow all U of T guidelines as it pertains to summer research as you begin planning your research proposal. Please note that you will not be able to work on research that requires REB approval if working with non U of T Research Supervisors only. Details about Research Supervisors can be found in 2023 – 2024 Laidlaw Scholars Program application guidelines. 

Do I need to have past research experience to apply to the Laidlaw Scholars Programme at U of T?

No. The program is designed to encourage students in their first and second years at U of T explore their interest in independent research. While some selected scholars may have some prior experience with research, within our program, most of our scholars are first-time researchers.

Where can I find examples of past research carried out by Laidlaw Scholars?

Laidlaw Scholars carry out research in a variety of academic disciplines. Past research examples can be found at the Laidlaw Scholars Network website.

For any questions about the scholarship or to discuss any specifics of your research idea, please contact us at to set up a meeting.