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Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme

The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme is an innovative scholarship designed to help undergraduate students from all disciplines and walks of life to develop strong research and leadership skills which will allow them to excel in both their degree programmes and their future careers.

Trinity Laidlaw Scholars 2018

Are you ambitious, self-motivated and keen to grow academically and personally beyond the classroom? You could be a Laidlaw Scholar at Trinity!

This webpage will give you everything you need to know about applying to, and participating in the Laidlaw Programme.

If you have any questions after reading, please contact the Student Employability Officer, Trinity Careers Service:

Joel McKeever | | 01 896 1227

Laidlaw Programme information session video

The PowerPoint slides from this presentation can be downloaded here.

Eligibility criteria

You are eligible to apply if you are currently in the:

  • 2nd year of a 4-year undergraduate degree programme


  • 2nd or 3rd year of a 5-year undergraduate degree programme


  • 2nd or 3rd year of a 5-year integrated masters degree programme (e.g. MAI, Pharmacy)


Applications are encouraged from all undergraduate programmes.

EU and Non-EU students are eligible to apply.

Applications are not open to one term or one year visiting students due to the length of the programme.

Application requirements

Applications will reopen in 2019/20.

You need to submit the following in your application:

  • A research project title

    You should propose a research question of your choice, in an area you’re interested in and which isn’t part of your core curriculum. It can build upon topics you’ve studied as part of your programme. You should approach an academic staff member whose research interests are in the area of your research topic and ask them if they’d be willing to support your project as a supervisor.

  • Project summary

    A short summary of the research question, objectives, and impact in simple terms which can be understood by a non-expert. There is no set length for the project summary - it should be succinct, and as long as required to explain your proposal in sufficient detail for the application stage.

  • A statement of support from your project supervisor(s)

  • A statement on how you wish to develop as a leader (300 words max.)

  • A statement on how you intend to develop academically and personally through research (300 words max.)

Projects of an interdisciplinary nature or an international dimension are encouraged.

Required time commitment

The 2019 cycle of the Laidlaw Programme runs from March 2019 to October 2020. During that time all Laidlaw Scholars are required to engage in the following compulsory activities:

  • Ten weeks full-time research (five weeks each Summer 2019 and 2020)
  • A minimum of 6 full days of leadership training
  • Scheduled mentoring sessions
  • Produce and submit a 3 minute video (October 2019)
  • Produce and submit a 3,000 word report and project poster (September 2020)
  • Final poster presentation and celebration event (October 2020)

You will need to work full-time on your research project during the weeks for which you will receive a stipend; you will not be able to travel on holidays or undertake other paid work during these periods. We will not be able to provide any extensions to these five week research periods.

Students who fail to attend all compulsory activities may be asked to discontinue with the Laidlaw Programme. In addition to these compulsory sessions, all Scholars are expected to fully engage with as many other scheduled Laidlaw events as possible.

Research proposal resources

You can check out the following resources to help you define your research question:

An Overview of Trinity’s Research Themes
Trinity’s Policy on Good Research Practice
Guidelines on writing a Laidlaw research proposal
Trinity’s Research Homepage

You can use the keyword search facility on the research homepage to identity experienced members of the academic staff and their research interests.

What is involved?

Leadership development

The leadership section of Programme is made up of development days, online reflection modules, and mentoring with an emphasis on personal development, self-awareness, and communication. Two leadership sessions will be full weekends, with a focus on interactive learning and team activities. There will also be ongoing mentoring and online learning activities, in addition to opportunities for networking and reflection. Combined with a focus on the Trinity Graduate Attributes, the Programme will give you the skills to develop, reflect on your learnings, and integrate your leadership abilities with your academic skills.

Research project

A research project made up of two periods of research of 5 weeks each carried out over 2 consecutive summers during which time you will pursue and report on a research question, with the help of your research supervisor.

If you are successful in becoming a Laidlaw Scholar, you will receive a stipend of €550 per week for the 10 weeks of your research project. There will also be a travel fund available which you can apply to if you feel your research requires travel outside Trinity.

There are a range of benefits to taking part in the Laidlaw Programme such as:

  • You will increase your employability by developing your skills and confidence in research, designing a project, and leadership situations.
  • You will gain valuable transferable skills in project management, leadership, communications, and team working.
  • You will undertake a unique research project with funding provided.
  • You will have the opportunity to become part of the prestigious Laidlaw Scholars community and to become involved in profile raising opportunities during the Programme.

Laidlaw Programme timeline (2019 cycle)

The below timeline outlines the provisional dates for the 2019 cycle of Laidlaw Scholars. At times it may be necessary to amend these dates, any alteration will be communicated as soon as possible.

Laidlaw Scholars need to complete two 5 week blocks of research, one in Summer 2019 and one in Summer 2020. They also need to be available for scheduled mentoring sessions, a minimum of 6 days compulsory leadership training (two full weekends and two Saturday sessions), and a final poster event in October 2020. They are expected to attend as many other scheduled Laidlaw events as possible.

15th November 2018 Applications open
22nd November 2018 Information session - Maxwell Theatre,
Hamilton Building [6-8pm]
1st February 2019 Applications close [5pm]
Mid-March 2019 All applicants will be contacted with feedback
March/April 2019 Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview (provisional)
April 2019 Laidlaw Scholars announced and welcome event
Summer 2019 Research Period 1
10th and 11th May 2019 Leadership Training 1 (two full days)
Early September 2019 Submission of video summary for showcase
19th September 2019 Laidlaw Showcase 2019
9th November 2019 Leadership Training 2 (full day)
23rd January 2020 Laidlaw networking event
28th February - 1st March 2020 Leadership Training 3 (two full days)
Summer 2020 Research Period 2
25th September 2020 Submission of final report and project poster
3rd October 2020 Leadership Training 4 (1 full day)
15th October 2020 Final presentation event and celebration

Learn more about our Laidlaw Scholars

Many of our Laidlaw Scholars are happy to chat informally to students applying to the programme about their experience - if you'd like to connect with a current Scholar just send us an email!

Laidlaw research projects at Trinity (2018 cycle)

Laidlaw Scholar


Research Project Title


Andrew Cleary

Theoretical Physics

Leaking Exoplanets: Understanding how Stars affect Atmospheric Escape in Exoplanets

Professor Aline Vidotto

Chee Cheng
Koay (Aaron Koay)


Impact of the antioxidant vitamin ergothioneine on the development of idiopathic pulmonary

Dr Carsten Ehrhardt

Colin Wilburn


Waste Heat Harvesting Using Thermally Charged Capacitors

Professor David McCloskey

Conor Fitzmaurice


Advances in Nanotherapy in Dermatology

Professor Alan Irvine

Deirdre Power

English Studies

Ireland's Empowered Girls: The Pollard Collection of Children's Books and its Contemporary

Dr Jane Carroll

Elle Loughran


The impact of codon usage on gene expression variation in human copy number variants and

Professor Aoife McLysaght

Kate Johnston


Comparison of patient experiences of chronic arthropathy in severe haemophilia before and
after the switch over to extended half-life factor VIII and factor IX concentrates

Dr Niamh O’ Connell

Luke Fehily


Atom-by-atom structural characterization of nano-materials using aberration-corrected
electron microscopy

Professor Valeria Nicolosi

Mollie O’Neill


Investigating the potential of resveratrol synthase inhibition in management of Japanese

Dr Joanna McGouran

Philip Smyth


Characteristics of patients presenting with traumatic brain injuries to an urban university
department of emergency medicine

Dr Geraldine McMahon

Robert Clampett


Helium Ion Beam Defects in the Creation of Silicon Waveguides

Professor David McCloskey/ Professor Hongzhou
Zhang/Professor James Lunney

Robert Power


Examining the characteristics and germline mutations of upper gastrointestinal cancers in the
Irish population

Professor Maeve Lowery

Samuel Bateman

Theoretical Physics

Helium-Ion microscopy of tumour cell-platelet interactions

Professor Hongzhou Zhang/Professor Maria Santos-

Sarah Honan


Justice After Destruction? Legal Avenues and Obstacles for Prosecution of the Yazidi Genocide

Professor Rosemary Byrne

Seán McMahon


The synthesis of electromechanical strain sensors based on graphene/polymer nano-
composites: Measuring the cyclical defection of bike frames for performance analysis

Professor Jonathan Coleman

Seán O’Neill


The value of outcomes: the intersection of Population and Animal Ethics

Dr Kenneth Pearce

Stefan Nixon

Theoretical Physics

Luminous Supernovae across the Universe

Professor Jose Groh

Susan Yi Yang


Parasites and pigs: Inflammatory and permeabilisation markers in blood brain barrier disruption
and neovascularisation in a porcine model of neurocysticercosis

Professor Celia Holland

What do Laidlaw Scholars at Trinity say?


Laidlaw projects at partner universities

Below are examples of the varied projects completed at other Laidlaw partner universities.

Tufts University University of Leeds University of St Andrews

About the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme

The Laidlaw Programme is sponsored by Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay and is in two parts - an integrated leadership development programme, and a research project comprised of two periods of research of five weeks each carried out over two consecutive summers. Activities for the 2019 session will take place from May 2019 until October 2020 and will also include regular networking events, online support, and mentoring sessions.

The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme was established in 2014; the long-term vision is to create a wide-reaching and diverse network of Laidlaw Scholars who will reinvest their knowledge, skills and experience in their communities. Laidlaw Scholars will gain valuable skills in research, communication and leadership and improve their employability by participating in workshops designed to develop self-awareness, initiative, motivation and creativity.

The programme has already been introduced in universities across the UK - Oxford, Durham, Leeds, York, St Andrews and UCL - and Trinity joined Columbia University, Tufts, and the University of Hong Kong in introducing the Laidlaw scholarship in 2018.

Laidlaw Supervisors Additional information for current and prospective supervisors of Laidlaw Scholars

Laidlaw Network Overall information on the Laidlaw partnership universities


Frequently asked questions

How will your application be assessed?

A review panel will assess the applications in these areas:

  • The student's research proposal
  • The student’s research and leadership statement
  • The supervisor’s supporting statement
  • The student’s academic record

The panel will decide on the strongest applications, taking into consideration the quality of the candidate, research project content and leadership potential. Interviews with shortlisted applicants will be used as part of the selection process. The decision of the Review Panel is final.

Who can I ask to be my supervisor?

You can ask any member of Trinity’s academic staff who is on a permanent contract, or a contract which extends beyond the duration of the Laidlaw Programme, to support your application. This staff member would ideally have research interests in the same area as your proposed project. They will need to be available to support you for the duration of the programme; this will include regular meetings with you as you progress through your schedule of work, providing needed resources in the department and advising you on any requirements in terms of ethical approval and risk assessment, if required.

You can ask more than one supervisor to support your project, they will both need to sign a letter of support. You can also search the Trinity research pages to search for academics who have research interests which overlap with your project.

Any questions on supervisor eligibility should be directed to

Laidlaw Research Supervisors Click here for more information for current and prospective Laidlaw Research Supervisors

What happens if my supervisor leaves Trinity during the Programme?

Supervisors and students should discuss the length of the programme as part of the initial proposal meeting and it is expected that the supervisor commits to supporting you for the entire length of the programme. If your supervisor leaves their post in Trinity due to unforeseen circumstances we will support you and your department in identifying an alternative academic in Trinity who can replace your supervisor for the remainder of your project.

What format is required for the supervisor's letter of support?

There is no set format required for the letter of support. Your supervisor should outline their support for your project, that the resources of the department will be made available, and their availability to supervise for the duration (and any factors relevant at this time). Any additional pertinent details of support from the supervisor, e.g. if your research project requires ethical approval, should be included in this letter.

What funding is provided to students?

If you are successful in becoming a Laidlaw Scholar, you will receive a stipend of €550 per week for the 10 weeks of your research project. There will also be a travel fund available to which you can apply if you feel your research requires travel outside Trinity, or for attendance at conferences. A stipend of €700 will be provided to your supervisor for any consumables, or other project related expenses.

What is included in the travel fund?

You can apply to the travel fund if your research would be best supported by travel outside Trinity - you must have the written support of your supervisor for any proposed trips. This can also apply to conferences. This fund is primarily to cover the cost of travel abroad (flights, visas, inoculation, transport in-country). Subsistence and conference fees are not included and accommodation costs should normally be paid from your research stipend. For more information on the travel fund see:

Laidlaw Travel Fund Application Form

Laidlaw Travel Fund Application Form (Notes)

Laidlaw Travel Fund Risk Assessment Form

I'm an international student - will I be able to take part in this Programme under my visa?

Students from the European Economic Area (EEA) and students from outside the EEA who have been granted a Stamp 2 visa are able to take part in the Laidlaw Programme.

Students from the European Economic Area (EEA) may take up employment in Ireland while studying. If you are unsure about your status, please contact the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

Students from outside the EEA attending a full-time course of at least one year's duration leading to a qualification recognised by the Minister for Education and Skills are granted a Stamp 2. If you have a Stamp 2 you are entitled to take up employment in Ireland during your studies. Stamp 2 entitles you to undertake casual part-time work for up to 20 hours per week during term time, and up to 40 hours casual full-time work per week from 15th December to 15th January and during June, July, August and September.
In order to work in Ireland you will need to get a Personal Public Service Number (PPS Number), but you need to have evidence of a job offer to secure one. The first step is to find work, and then apply for a PPS number. Find out more at the Citizens Information Board website.

What other activities will I be able to take part in to support the Laidlaw Programme?

As a Laidlaw Scholar you will have the opportunity to take part in social and networking events, lunch-time skills sessions, and contribute to ongoing activities such as blogs, social media, and marketing activities.

What happens in leadership development?

The leadership sessions of the Programme is made up of development days, residential weekends, online reflection modules, and mentoring, with an emphasis on personal development, self-awareness and communication skills. Two leadership workshops will be full weekends and may be run off-campus, with a focus on interactive learning and team activities. There will also be ongoing mentoring and online learning activities, in addition to opportunities for networking and reflection. There will be modules to help you develop your research skills and to train you to use video to report on your research findings.

What reporting is required?

You will be asked to write a report on your project (up to 3000 words) as well as producing a poster summarising your research project, and a short video (up to three minutes) reflecting on your experience. All posters will be displayed at the final Laidlaw Scholar Celebration Event, which will be a public event open to staff, students and members of the wider Trinity community.

The award of a Laidlaw Scholarship will also be included on your official final Trinity transcript.

An annual programme report will be sent to Lord Laidlaw detailing the scholarships awarded and highlighting particular successes. The report will also contain feedback from participating students.

What happens to my data if I am selected for the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme?

Click here to read the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme Data Protection Statement

As part of participation in the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme, the University will share the following data about Laidlaw Scholars, which will be used for the purposes outlined, below:

  • Your name and project title will be published on the University’s Laidlaw webpage.
  • Your name and email will be forwarded to the Laidlaw organisation to allow them to be added to the Laidlaw Scholars intranet.
  • You will be required to provide details of your research project; this will allow Laidlaw scholars to see the project titles of each other’s research and make contact with one another.
  • Your name and dietary requirements will be forwarded to any external venues used in the leadership development programme.