Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme Welcome Event

Knowledge Exchange, 2nd Floor, TBSI

22nd May 2018


Good afternoon, everyone,

And a particular welcome to our Laidlaw scholars and their supervisors.

Trinity is absolutely delighted to join the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership programme with prestigious universities worldwide, including Columbia University in New York, University of Toronto, Tufts University in Boston and Hong Kong University, as well as the leading UK universities.

The Laidlaw Scholarship was established in 2014, thanks to Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay’s commitment to the development of young people. The scholarship is designed to assist undergraduates to become leaders in academia or other sectors; it supports self-motivated and ambitious students to gain the knowledge and skills to become future leaders.

The long-term vision for the programme is to create a wide-reaching and diverse network of scholars who will reinvest their knowledge, skills and experiences amongst their peers, colleagues and networks. The scholarship comprises a research project and a leadership development programme. The research will be carried out across two consecutive summers, with leadership activities taking place throughout the year. 

The leadership programme will support the scholars’ personal development with modules on leadership styles, group dynamics, and communication skills. Scholars will improve their employability by participating in workshops designed to develop self-awareness, initiative, motivation and creativity.

Trinity is of course honoured to be one of just eleven universities worldwide included in this far-reaching and creative programme which will be invaluable to the participating scholars and, through their contribution, to society at large.

We feel particularly fortunate that this opportunity arose as we are entering the final phase of the Trinity Education Project, which is what we’re calling the ambitious renewal of the undergraduate curriculum.

Much about the Laidlaw Programme aligns with the Trinity Education Project. Specifically, the four graduate attributes, which are:

  • to think independently,
  • to communicate effectively,
  • to develop continuously, and
  • to act responsibly.

These attributes tie in closely with the goals of the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme which, as I’ve mentioned, are about gaining valuable skills in research, communication and leadership and improving employability through developing self-awareness, initiative, motivation and creativity.

Such alignment in aims comes, I think, from a global sense that higher education and, with it, society and the workplace, are changing so rapidly that all of us involved in the education need to take steps to reflect and anticipate change in our programmes and curricula in order to better prepare young people to achieve their potential and make a contribution to the changing world.

Both the Trinity Education Project and the Laidlaw Programme are focussed on fostering in young people the skills and attributes they will need to build successful 21st century careers and useful lives as active citizens.

The key to remaining positive about the future is to feel well-prepared. This is what we hope to offer our students. I know that the application process for the Laidlaw Scholarships was highly competitive. 50 applications were received from across all disciplines. All applicants are to be congratulated for the efforts they made with their application submissions. The scholarships are limited to 18 and the standard was exceptionally high.

I would like to thank the Review panel for your time and commitment:

  • the chair, Gillian Martin;

the members of the panel,

  • Linda Doyle,
  • Gerard McHugh,
  • Kevin Mitchell,
  • Mark Bell,
  • Rose-Anne Kenny and
  • Orla Bannon,

and the secretary to the panel,

  • Joel McKeever.

I thank also Patricia Callaghan, the academic secretary, and of course Lord Laidlaw himself and the Laidlaw Foundation.

My sincerest congratulations to the scholars. You have come through a stringent selection process to be awarded. Your research projects are of the greatest value and interest. I congratulate also your supervisors who I know are very proud and excited on your behalf. Ideally, one’s undergraduate years are among the most exciting years that any of us lives through. I am delighted that through this programme and your own creativity and commitment, you are getting the opportunity to do something exceptional.  You are in the vanguard of Laidlaw scholars. I look forward to hearing from you how it works out.

Congratulations and my thanks again to all who made this possible.

Thank you.

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