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Durham University

Careers & Enterprise Centre

Becoming a Supervisor to a Laidlaw scholar

If you are approached by a student who is interested in the Laidlaw Programme please view this video we have created for you and read the information below.

All Laidlaw Scholars conduct one summer research project in their first year of the programme which lasts 6 weeks. In the second summer scholars can choose from a range of options and will participate in a project which will develop their leadership skills in an immersive environment. We have limited places for students wishing to continue their research into a second summer and therefore a second summer of research maybe subject to a competitive application process.

If you agree to work with a student as their Research Mentor, you will need to complete a statement of support as part of the student’s application process. There is no limit on how many Scholars your department can mentor. However we would not advise that you personally support more than one scholar per year.

If your student is selected as a Laidlaw Scholar, you will need to work with them to create clear project outcomes and timescales for their research period. Dates will need to be agreed with the Scholar according to the availability of facilities in the Department for the duration of the programme.

If you would like to read more about the wider Laidlaw programme please follow this link:

Q&A Drop in sessions

If you have any questions please come along to one of our drop in sessions below. Please click on the relevant links during the times stated.


Academic supervisors are responsible for overseeing the research project to be undertaken by the Scholar in order to ensure that the aims of the study are accomplished.

These responsibilities include:

Designing a detailed project brief in consultation with the student – setting out weekly targets, resources and milestones related to attending the research site each weekday throughout the six-week research project.

Ensuring the Scholar has a daily contact point, normally in the Department where the project is based. This might be a research postgraduate student, an academic colleague, a member of support staff, or equivalent if the project work is not campus based.

Providing appropriate levels of supervision. This should include a minimum of a formal face to face meeting at the start, middle and end of each period of research work, as well as weekly contact by telephone, email or Skype to check academic progress and personal wellbeing.

Setting clear tasks, deadlines or timelines for the Scholar over the summer research period.

Ensuring provision of appropriate campus-based working space and facilities for the duration of the research project and agree, in writing, any specific travel or resource arrangements with the Scholar.

• Signing-off the annual research reports from the Scholar.

It is worth being mindful, when discussing resarch projects with a student for summer 2021 that they should design a project that can be completed remotely should current restrictions remain in place.. However the inclusion of activities such as field work, visits, conferences and campus based research should still be encouraged if possible by next summer.


Some of the benefits of becoming a Research Mentor include

  • The opportunity to work with and support proactive, talented students as they undertake an original research project;
  • Being part of a network of UK-wide and international mentors, offering opportunities of working collaboratively with other universities
  • The chance for you, your students, and the Department to be featured in profile-raising opportunities throughout the duration of the programme.

If you have any questions about the Laidlaw Scholars Programme at Durham please email