The Leadership-in-Action (LiA) component is a six- to eight-week immersive and hands-on project that takes place in the second summer of the Laidlaw Scholars Leadership and Research Program.

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Community engagement and positive impact on society lie at the core of the LiA experience. This project gives scholars the opportunity to engage in an initiative beneficial to unprivileged communities or groups.

Throughout the LiA summer, scholars will learn new skills and challenge existing ones. Planning, execution, communication, collaboration and resilience in a new and international environment will help them grow into responsible global citizens.

What type of project can you choose?

There are three different types of projects:

A centrally organized expedition that you select from the Laidlaw Foundation’s approved list. You will experience a new and challenging environment alongside scholars from the Laidlaw partner universities. Here are the available projects for 2024.

Please note that scholars who participate in a central LiA project will have to deduct a part of their scholarship (exact amount tbc in due time) toward the organizing institution for accommodation and full board services provided during the internship.

A placement with a non-profit, social or humanitarian organization that takes you out of your comfort zone. A list of approved projects will be shared with scholars in due course.

Alternatively, you can also come up with a proposal in line with your values and interests. In this case, the EPFL Laidlaw Program team will ask for safety and due diligence check to make sure that the project is appropriate and in conformity with the LiA requirements.

You can choose to pursue your first summer research work with a practical and in-field application with communities or groups in need (the LiA project cannot be a simple extension of your research internship). This experience should aim to create positive change by putting your findings into action while developing your leadership skills.

In this case, you are encouraged to discuss with your research laboratory to assess the feasibility of this option at an early stage. You will also need to submit clearly defined objectives and impacts of your work to the EPFL Laidlaw Program team for approval.

Dan-Thi Nguyen

Scholars are expected to learn through service and foster social change using the transversal skills they have acquired in the Laidlaw Program. The LiA experience is not about managing a project or a team in the strict conception of leadership.

Dan-Thi Nguyen, Program Manager

The following requirements must be met for the LiA experience:

  •  Clear and sustainable objective related to an engagement work that contributes to a disadvantaged or minority group, or a community in need (e.g., refugees, a rural population, a group of patients, etc.) 
  • Field application to allow you to work closely with people on the ground and to practice your newly acquired leadership skills
  • New and unfamiliar environment to get out of your comfort zone and gain different perspectives

The Leadership-in-Action internship entails…

…experimenting a new and challenging environment

…working with communities in need

…doing something with a positive impact

…developing and demonstrating your scientific and leadership skills

…learning through service overseas

Scholars’ testimonials to come soon…

Partner Institutions

We would like to thank our partners for their support and precious collaboration within the framework of the Laidlaw Program.



For further information on the Laidlaw Program, please contact us:

[email protected]

Centre Midi – CM2 348
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