Oxford Character Project collaborates on project to support future world leaders


DPIR’S Oxford Character Project is a key partner in a new joint programme to support a new generation of ambitious leaders eager to make a positive impact on society.

The University of Oxford is partnering with the Laidlaw Foundation for the initiative, with the Oxford Character Project –  which puts character at the heart of responsible leadership and boasts a global community of over 50 nationalities –  playing a major role.

Based at Oxford’s SDG Impact Lab, the Laidlaw Undergraduate Scholarship Programme will facilitate Oxford undergraduates working with businesses and non-academic organisations to develop innovative, research-based solutions and initiatives to the mounting challenge of sustainability and social responsibility.

Starting in April 2024, the Foundation will fund up to 20 undergraduate scholars annually. The programme includes two six-week summer projects. Scholars will spend the first summer in Oxford, working on community impact research to address local challenges and inequalities. For the second summer, they will test their leadership skills and engage in global projects. With an online community of over 2,000 Laidlaw Scholars and events such as the Laidlaw Scholars Conference, the programme boasts an energetic and collaborative worldwide community.

An integral part of this fully funded programme is training in ethical leadership, which seeks to support students to become leaders of good character who are able to apply judgement, make ethical decisions, and act with integrity. In order to develop these qualities and prepare Laidlaw Scholars for their leadership journey ahead, the Oxford Character Project will deliver a six-month long ethical leadership training programme. 

The workshops and training sessions will cover a wide range of topics focusing on character qualities that are essential for becoming ethical leaders, such as purpose, growth, love, integrity, and practical wisdom, so they become lifelong practitioners of ethical leadership and, eventually, the leaders we want to see in the world.

Susanna Kempe, Chief Executive of the Laidlaw Foundation, stated:

“Oxford produces more world leaders than any other university. By launching the Laidlaw Scholarship here, our aim is to ensure that those alumni lead with ingrained integrity, decency and a commitment to being a positive global force for good.”

If you are a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Oxford, consider applying to the programme to develop your leadership skills and be part of a wonderful community of like-minded scholars. The deadline to submit your application is 25 March 2024. 

Learn more about the Laidlaw Scholarship Programme

“At the University of Oxford, we are working to develop a generation of good leaders and wise thinkers. This partnership with the Laidlaw Foundation will present new opportunities to help an incredibly talented group of future leaders to develop their character and serve their communities.”
Dr Edward Brooks, Co-Founder of the Oxford SDG Impact Lab and Executive Director of the Oxford Character Project