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Written by:
Paul Holland
15 May 2023

Congratulations to four first-year undergraduates who have been awarded places on the inaugural Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Programme at Cambridge. They will join seven other Scholars from Newnham, Murray Edwards and Fitzwilliam.

Founded by Lord Laidlaw, the Programme invests in talented and motivated undergraduates, aiming to create an international network of diverse, passionate and ethical leaders who will reinvest their skills, knowledge and experience to help others succeed.

Open to students of any discipline at the participating colleges, the Programme runs over 18 months during which the Scholars receive bespoke leadership training designed and led by Cambridge facilitators, mentoring and generous funding from the Laidlaw Foundation to complete two summer projects.

In the first summer, they will complete a self-devised research project, supervised by a Cambridge academic. In the second their project will be centred on applying their leadership training in practice in a new and challenging environment, usually overseas.

It is exciting that the subjects of research are so varied. Ahmed Khan (Computer Science) intends to “Investigate the Notion of Mental Health in Artificial General Intelligence.”; Lucia Laffan (HSPS) is passionate about sustainability and fashion – her title is “Redress: A business proposal that seeks to revolutionise second-hand clothing for the good of the planet and in support of charities worldwide.”; Jack Millar (HSPS) will spend his research time exploring ethno-religious and political identities in Fiji and Lucas Wolman (Engineering) will spend their time “Rethinking Retrofit to hit Climate Goals: What information is needed to develop a Data Analysis Tool?”

Jack comments: “The leaders I most admire are those who are extraordinarily efficient and capable but prioritise uplifting the community around them. This is why I applied to the Laidlaw Programme, because of its prioritisation of ethical, research and compassion-based leadership.”

The Scholars will network with other Scholars at universities around the world and participate in the Laidlaw Conference where they will have the opportunity to present their research.

Mary Hockaday, Master of Trinity Hall, said: “It is wonderful to see our students not only embracing this research and leadership programme but doing so in a way that reflects Trinity Hall’s commitment to contributing to society globally. I look forward to seeing how the Laidlaw Scholars benefit from the generous support these scholarships provide.”