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Applications to the Laidlaw Programme

Click to download the Laidlaw Application Guide 2021

How to submit an application

Please read the Laidlaw Application Guide 2021 before beginning your application. You may also find the recording of our online Laidlaw Information Session useful to watch. You will need to log into Office365 when prompted with your usual Trinity log in details in order to submit the Application Form.

Laidlaw Programme Application Form 2021

You need to submit the following in your application:

  • Application form
  • Research project proposal
  • Leadership Statement including ‘Leadership in Action’ experience proposal and leadership development goals
  • Personal motivation video
  • Letter of support from academic supervisor(s)

Applications are assessed by a Selection Panel chaired by the Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies, including senior academics and Laidlaw Programme staff in the Careers Service. The Selection Panel will assess and review the applications in terms of the leadership potential and personal motivation of the applicant, as well as the feasibility and academic merit of their research proposal.
Applications will be assessed in these areas:

  • The viability of the research project within the 6 week period in Summer 1
  • The student’s potential and ambition for leadership roles in the future
  • The student's goals for developing their learning in the'leadership in action' experience in Summer 2
  • The letter of support from the academic supervisor(s)
  • The student’s academic record

Interviews with shortlisted applicants will be used as part of the selection process. The decision of the Selection Panel is final.

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)

There are no restrictions on discipline, School, or EU/Non-EU fee status. Visiting students are not eligible to apply.

We recognise that a positive contribution to society requires diversity of experience, and a platform for meaningful inclusion of that diversity at all levels. We aim to enable students from all backgrounds to participate and develop in the Laidlaw Programme and we particularly welcome applications from students in demographics often under-represented in specialist programmes. This includes but is not limited to: students from ethnic minorities in Ireland, students with disabilities, LGBTQ students, students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and students who have participated in alternative admissions routes such as TAP (Trinity Access Programme).

If you have additional accessibility requirements and would like support in completing an application we encourage you to contact us at

Self-defined research projects and finding a supervisor

To begin developing your self-defined research project proposal, please read through the Laidlaw Application Guide. You can also view examples of projects from previous Laidlaw Scholars below:

Laidlaw Research Projects at Trinity (2018 - 2021)

You can ask any member of Trinity’s academic staff who is available to supervise you for the duration of the 18 month period of the Laidlaw Programme to support your application. This staff member must have a contract with Trinity which extends beyond the duration of the Programme and they would ideally have research interests in the same area as your proposed project. You can also ask more than one supervisor to support your project, either from another department in Trinity or an external supervisor e.g. an academic at another institution. Your Trinity supervisor will be your primary supervisor and they will both need to sign a letter of support.

The Trinity research pages can be used to search for academics who have research interests which overlap with your project. Each department will also have an academic staff page which will include the research interests of the staff member. If you don't already have someone in mind, the best place to start is with a short and polite email!

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 duration of the Programme. Your supervisor should also make their Head of School or equivalent aware of their role in regards to your project so appropriate support can be put in place if required. 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.

Uncertainty and change is an unavoidable factor in the research process. Throughout your time in the Programme your research project will likely encounter setbacks and unexpected developments. You should discuss this in detail with your supervisor in the first instance - be open about the challenges involved and decide on a future direction for the project. You can also contact the Student Employability Officer who will be able to discuss and advise on any concerns.

For more information on the role and responsibilities of your Trinity supervisor, please refer to the Laidlaw Programme Application Guide 2021.

If your supervisor wishes to know more about the Laidlaw Programme and their role as supervisor to a Laidlaw Scholar, please refer them to the staff webpage where they will find more information and the Laidlaw 2020 Supervisor Guidance document.

Any questions on supervisor eligibility should be directed to

Pre-defined project opportunities via the Laidlaw Foundation

For the 2021 cohort of Laidlaw Scholars there will be options for applicants to apply to pre-defined projects in collaboration with the Laidlaw Foundation. These projects will be open to applications from all universities in the Laidlaw network and each offer unique opportunities to engage with research and leadership projects supported by Laidlaw Foundation partner organisations in the UK. If you are interested in applying to a pre-defined project, please read through the below information carefully as the format, requirements, and application process for each has differences from a self-defined application to the Laidlaw Programme at Trinity. Some of these projects will also incorporate a built-in leadership in action option for Summer 2.

Applicants will be competing with students from across the Laidlaw Network for these opportunities and in some cases you will be required to identify a Trinity academic supervisor in addition to the partner organisation. In the event that these places are oversubscribed you may be asked for additional information by the Laidlaw Foundation as part of a secondary selection process. Unless otherwise noted, all other application guidance and Scholar requirements apply.

Students interested in one of the opportunities below should express their interest by email to the Laidlaw Programme team at prior to submitting an application.

Research with Maggie's Centres cancer charity

Up to 3 placements are available for Scholars across the Laidlaw Network to work with Maggie's Centres cancer charity on a research project during Summer 1 and a potential leadership placement in Summer 2 based in a centre in Dundee, Leeds or London.

The role will be to work as an integrated member of the centre multidisciplinary teams contributing to the provision of our holistic programme of cancer support with supervision from the Centre Head and their team. Maggie’s offers all four levels of psychological care (NICE Guidance on Oncology and Palliative Care, 2004), and the student will contribute at level one and where appropriate level two (e.g. helping to facilitate our Where Now? course,). They will also each be asked, using a systematic review protocol, to review and refresh the evidence base for one aspect of our psychosocial cancer support programme (e.g. Nutrition course, Managing Stress Course). The initial year placement can be continued the following year with the focus on the evaluation of one aspect of the Maggie’s programme, or another aspect of the Maggie’s unique cancer care model, and the provision of a summary report.

The placement will suit anyone studying a social sciences, psychology, allied health profession, nursing or medical degree.

Maggies Centres (further information)

Research with Durham University on Multi-Academy Trusts (MATS)

Several projects are available in collaboration with Professor Chris Brown in the Durham University School of Education and the Laidlaw Schools Programme.

Durham University - MATS (further information)

Topic area 1: Achieving effective home school relationships

Subtopic 1: home schooling
• Year 1 question: What does it take to make home schooling effective?
• Year 1 or Year 2 question: What support is required to help families engage in home learning effectively?
• Year 2 question: Which strategies are most effective at enlisting parents to support literacy

Subtopic 2: connecting with hard to reach parents
• Year 1 question: What are hard to reach parent’s views on school and schooling?
• Year 2 question: How can we engage more effectively with hard to reach parents (including the role of peers/peer groups and communities)?
• Year 2 question: what are the social networks of hard to reach parents – who are the opinion formers?

Subtopic 3: building effective networks that can aid learning
• Year 1 question: What are the cultural and social capital networks of children and parents in disadvantaged households?
• Year 2 question: What are the barriers and enablers to building broader cultural and social capital networks that can lead to improved family and student outcomes?

Subtopic 4: transition
• Year 1 question: How can parents help with effective primary to secondary transition?

Topic area 2: MATs and the wider community

Subtopic 1: Area-based (and multi-service) approaches to enhancing children’s outcomes
• Year 1 question: What are the needs of the wider communities (being served by Laidlaw Foundation MATs)? Which agencies do or might potentially address these needs?
• Year 1 question: How can the MAT catalyse wider community service providers to support children improve their educational outcomes (barriers and enablers to working together effectively)?
• Year 2 question: What is the role of other service-provider leaders in ensuring area based approaches can operate, sustain and deliver change?

Topic area 3: MAT networks, leadership and approaches to improvement

Subtopic 1: Network based approaches to school improvement
• Year 1 question: How might Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) be used to improve teaching and learning across MAT schools?
• Year 1 question: What is the role of school leadership in ensuring PLNS can operate, sustain and deliver change?
• Year 2 question: What is the role of teachers as change agents in their schools?
• Year 2 question: How do social networks operate within schools and which teachers are most influential?

Subtopic 2: Evidence-informed school improvement
• Year 1 question: What is the view of MAT leaders and teachers on using research and data to improve teaching and learning? What are the barriers and what are the enablers?
• Year 1 question: To what extent should MAT’s embrace a consistent approach to T&L and a standardised curriculum through their schools?
• Year 2 question: How might approaches such as lesson study and joint practice development be used to generate continuous and evidence-informed approaches improvements in teaching and learning?
• Year 2 question: How can we ascertain impact most effectively and use impact tools to ensure MAT schools are employing the most effective practices?

Topic area: 4: Digital Learning

Subtopic 1: Learning from home
• Year 1 question: What are the digital lives of students? How might we use social media, and video games as a way of enhancing teaching and learning?
• Year 1 question: How do we create a seamless blend of in-class and at-home learning?
• Year 1 question: The relative merits of synchronous and asynchronous teaching

Subtopic 2: Digital Pedagogy
• Year 1 question: How can the gamification of learning produce behaviour change?
• Year 1 question: What is the impact of AI on learning acquisition, differentiation and retention?
• Year 1 question: Whose content delivers the best results? How do schools choose from third party content providers and teacher produced lessons?

Other topic areas for students to propose research on:
• Mental health and well-being
• Aspiration and careers
• Values based assessment
• Sport and nutrition

Research with BiteBack

Research opportunities are available in Summer 1with the organisation Biteback. Initial proposals on the topics available below should be sent to the research contact at Biteback prior to submission and will also require the support of a Trinity academic.

Bite Back 2030 is building a youth-led movement for a healthier, fairer food system. Their goal is to halve childhood obesity by 2030. They are seeking a group of exceptional Laidlaw Scholars to help us research new issue areas, prepare future campaigns and review our strategy

Biteback Laidlaw Projects (further information)

Research topic areas (further information)

Research with Change the Code

Research opportunities are available in Summer 1 with the organisation Change the Code. There are also potential opportunities for Leadership in Action projects in Summer 2.

The goal behind Change the Code is to bridge the gender gap in STEM fields. The team at CTC is dedicated towards providing exposure to girls at a young age and encourage them to pursue subjects related to science, technology and engineering. They want female students to gain scientific/technical skills, receive mentorship and guidance and become a part of a strong positive encouraging network.

Change The Code (further information)

Erasmus/Non-EU Exchange Students

Students interested in an Erasmus/Non-EU Exchange are eligible to apply and participate in the Programme. If you are considering this you must mention it in your initial application and include details of how you will ensure your research project and leadership development will be continue as normal. If you are accepted to the Programme and are later successful in your exchange application you must notify the Student Employability Officer.

Students on exchange are required to make and fund their own arrangements to ensure they are available for all in-person core Programme activities and are strongly encouraged to consider how they will engage with any other additional in-person events in the Laidlaw community throughout the duration of their exchange.

International Students

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.