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Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship Program

Laidlaw Scholars in Tanzania stand with Lord Laidlaw

Application Deadline: January 21, 2021

The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship Program promotes ethical leadership and international research around the world—starting with the passionate leaders and learners found on campuses like Cornell.

With generous support for your research, leadership training, and a summer putting leadership into action, this two-year program for emerging leaders lays out a path for you to invest your skills, knowledge, and experience to help others. As a Laidlaw Scholar, your talent and motivation are cultivated through research, leadership training and experiences, and networking with like-minded peers.

In two years, Laidlaw Scholars become skilled researchers, embrace data-based decision-making, and learn to lead with integrity. Hear how Laidlaw Scholars across the globe have benefited from the program.

The Program's Key Components


You will spend your first summer as a Laidlaw Scholar working on an internationally-focused research project—one that you have proposed or selected from our list of projects. All projects must be supervised by an academic supervisor or an experienced research team. The Laidlaw program supports you with a weekly stipend while you develop skills of analysis, investigative study, problem-solving, and data management.

Leadership Training

Leadership training is an essential component of the program. All Laidlaw Scholars will engage in leadership development that continues throughout their time in the program, learning core leadership values and skills that prioritize collective action and the practice of critical reflection. This programming will be led by the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

You will earn a certificate in engaged leadership and participate in ongoing opportunities for development throughout your two years. 

Leadership-in-Action Experience

Spend your second summer abroad, putting your knowledge to use in the real world. You will be able to choose from a variety of options:

  • A leadership-intensive organized program, such as charity work abroad
  • A community-engaged leadership experience with a nonprofit, community organization, or social enterprise that takes you outside of your comfort zone
  • A continuation of your research from your first summer that incorporates a significant leadership component

These skills are directly transferable to future work across disciplines, while also introducing you to different life experiences and expanding your perspective.


Over your two years in the program, you will get to know like-minded scholars who are passionate about Laidlaw's shared values. The international network of Laidlaw Scholars extends beyond Cornell University to a global community that shares an online space for continued collaboration. 

You can learn more about the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship Program on the Laidlaw Foundation website.


Summer 1: Up to $3,750 stipend while you conduct full-time research.
Summer 2: Program fees or stipend while you engage in a leadership-in-action experience. Additional support is available for travel or research-related expenses. 


First- and second-year students from any college or major with an international focus may apply. You should have a strong academic background and must be able to commit to full participation in the program. U.S. citizenship is not required. 

Integrity is the touchstone of the Laidlaw Scholar: treating others with respect, collaborating, and being decent and truthful. See if your values align with those of Laidlaw Scholars.

How to Apply

Fill out the online application at the link below. Applications are due January 21, 2020. Students who are selected to become Laidlaw Scholars are notified in April.

Documents to Submit with Your Application

  • Resume/CV
  • Personal leadership statement
  • Transcript (can be unofficial)
  • Proposed research plan
  • References

Contact our Laidlaw coordinator, Kristin Ramsay, with any questions. 

Additional Information