Laidlaw Scholars Program

The Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Program is an innovative scholarship which aims to develop a new generation of leaders who are skilled researchers, embrace data-based decision making, and believe it is a moral imperative to lead with integrity. It invests in talented and motivated undergraduate students giving them the knowledge, skills, and experience to become active global citizens and future leaders.

The Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Program is a two-year scaffolded learning experience. Undergraduate students will be admitted into the program in the spring of their first or second years at Brown; conduct independent research in the first summer; take part in a yearlong leadership development training series between their first and second summer; and complete a leadership-in-action experience in their second summer (ideally building on insights from their research or related priorities identified with their faculty advisor). 


Laidlaw Scholars undertake an intensive and rewarding 18-month leadership development program which includes opportunities for funded research and leadership experiences over two summers, workshops and training from expert facilitators, personal coaching, and a range of learning resources. In their first summer, scholars will work under the direct mentorship of faculty research supervisors, who will help Scholars to design and conduct a substantive community-engaged research project that facilitates a meaningful intellectual relationship. 

Research/ Community Engagement Project (Summer 2023)

Applicants may select a pre-defined research project from the list included in this year's call for applications or design their own research project, to take place over approximately six weeks in Summer 2023. We especially encourage self-defined research projects that examine a topic related to community engagement in a global context (e.g., environmental conservation, immigration, healthcare access, comparative models of race, gender, indigeneity, disability, etc.). If you propose a self-defined research project, your faculty mentor will be required to confirm their availability to advise you in Summer 2023.

Leadership Training (AY 2023-2024)

Laidlaw Scholars will kick off the academic year with a leadership training retreat. In an immersive group environment, scholars will discover their own leadership strengths, learn core leadership attributes, explore leadership values, and develop their leadership skills through exercises and applied learning. Laidlaw scholars’ leadership development continues through the academic year following their research summer with guest speakers, coaching, and more. 

Leadership-in-Action (Summer 2024)

The Leadership-in-Action component of the Laidlaw Scholars Program is a six-week summer abroad experience that will take place in Summer 2024. The Leadership-in-Action program gives scholars the chance to take ownership of a project with measurable community impact. Scholars can choose to conduct a Leadership-in-Action project with fellow scholars at a Laidlaw partner site or undertake a six-week Leadership-in-Action project abroad independently.


Scholars must commit to completion of both 6-week summer experiences, as well as full participation in leadership development training and cohort activities. Each Scholar’s project will result in an intellectual output that aligns with the interdisciplinary conventions of the project and/or the priorities of community partners for the project. These can include the production of a journal article, poster, presentation or talk, portfolio of work, or other scholarly pursuits.


Students, from all disciplines and backgrounds, in their first and second years at Brown are eligible to participate. 15 students will join the 2023-24 cohort, conducting research/ completing engaged projects under the guidance of scholars. The duration of the research experience will be 6 weeks, for which Scholars will receive a base stipend of $2,500. Aided students may receive up to an additional $1,400 (for a total of $3,900). A summer earnings waiver is available for eligible students.


Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are closed.


For further information, please email [email protected].

meet the Laidlaw Scholars Program Cohorts