The Irvine Laidlaw Foundation

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The Irvine Laidlaw Foundation
The Laidlaw Foundation
FounderIrvine Laidlaw
TypeNon-profit organization
HeadquartersUnited Kingdom

The Irvine Laidlaw Foundation (simply known as The Laidlaw Foundation) is a non-profit charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom that invests in the education of underprivileged and underrepresented communities around the world.[1] It was set up and currently chaired by Lord Irvine Laidlaw to provide financial assistance to young people globally through scholarships, and funding a schools trust in the North East of England - one of the country's most deprived areas.[2]The Foundation operates through its three main programmes: the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship, the Laidlaw Women's Business Education Scholarship, and the Laidlaw Schools Trust.[3]

The laidlaw undergraduate research and leadership scholarship

The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship[1] funds undergraduate students in universities around the world to conduct academic research and undergo leadership training during two 6-week summer periods. As of May 2020, the scholarship programme operates in twelve higher education institutions: Columbia University, Durham University, National University of Singapore, Trinity College Dublin, Tufts University, University College London, University of Hong Kong, University of Leeds, University of St Andrews, University of Toronto, University of York, and University of Rwanda. The programme commenced at the University of St Andrews and the University of Leeds (both Lord Laidlaw's alma maters) in 2016, and the University of Toronto, the National University of Singapore, and the University of Rwanda are the most recent additions. The University of Oxford was part of the programme from 2017 to 2019.

Each year, every university selects a group of 25 students who are then funded by the Laidlaw Foundation to conduct research under academic supervision and develop their leadership skills by participating in leadership retreats and volunteering expeditions. To date, 1000+ undergraduate students around the world have completed the programme.[4]

The laidlaw women's business education scholarship

The Laidlaw Women's Business Education Scholarship[2] provides partial and full funding to women with financial constraints looking to pursue an MBA. The programme began with Lord Laidlaw's $2 million donation to Columbia Business School to form the Lord Irvine A.S. Laidlaw ’65 Scholarship Fund.[5] To date, nearly 300 students from 30 countries have received the Laidlaw Scholarship at CBS.[6] In September 2019, it was announced that Laidlaw will donate £3.69m to London Business School,[7] and in March 2020 the Foundation announced that another donation of £1.35m will be made to Saïd Business School.[8]

Through this scholarship programme, the Foundation aims to help achieve gender parity in leadership around the world by enabling underprivileged women to access business education from a world-leading institution and the professional networks that come with it.

The laidlaw schools trust

The Laidlaw Schools Trust (LST)[3] comprises of seven academies in the North East of England - Excelsior Academy, Academy 360, Atkinson Road Primary Academy, South Hylton Primary Academy, Thomas Walling Primary Academy, Westgate Hill Primary Academy, and Sedgefield Community College. In total, the Trust has 5500+ students and 850+ staff members.[9] It aims to support schools in the most disadvantaged areas of the UK.

The Trust was created in 2004 when Lord Laidlaw began to partially fund a school in the Academies programme. Together with the Department for Education, Laidlaw built Excelsior Academy in Newcastle upon Tyne which now educates children from 3 to 19 years of age.[10] One of LST's schools - Academy 360 in Sunderland - was named as the 3rd most improved academy in the whole country by the TES.[11]


The Foundation also invests in the construction of academic buildings, such as libraries and learning centres.[4] Lord Laidlaw donated £9m to the construction of the Laidlaw Library at the University of Leeds, which opened in 2015.[12] It contains over 1000 study spaces and won a RIBA Yorkshire Award 2016. Another building project at the University of Leeds is currently under construction - a new student learning hub, which was announced to be developed by a Dublin-based architectural practice, O'Donnell & Tuomey[13] The Laidlaw Music Centre at the University of St Andrews and the Laidlaw Teaching and Leadership Centre at Sedgefield Community College are also currently under construction.[14]


  1. Laidlaw Foundation: Home
  2. "England's most deprived areas named as Jaywick and Blackpool". BBC News.
  3. Laidlaw Foundation: Our Programmes
  4. Undergraduate Scholars
  5. "The Business of Giving". Columbia Business School.
  6. The Lord Irvine A.S. Laidlaw ’65 Scholarship
  7. "London Business School aims for ambitious 51% female representation". Gulf News.
  8. "Laidlaw Foundation funds Oxford MBA Scholarships for women with £1.35m donation". Saïd Business School.
  9. The Laidlaw Schools Trust
  10. Welcome to Excelsior Academy
  11. "Sunderland academy ranked as third 'most improved school' in the UK in national magazine". Sunderland Echo.
  12. One year anniversary of the Laidlaw Library
  13. "Award-winning architects to design new student hub on western campus". University of Leeds.
  14. Our Buildings

External links

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