Embedding interdisciplinarity through vertically integrated projects for sustainable development

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Interdisciplinarity is an essential component when developing solutions to long term wicked problems such as those related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Vertically Integrated Projects for Sustainable Development (VIP4SD) Program [1] provides a mechanism for students to embed themselves in an interdisciplinary project.
A VIP4SD project is an ongoing research project led by an academic supervisor and made up of a team of students from a mix of study levels – hence ‘vertical’. Students come from whichever subjects are required to address the problem. This may be from Arts, Business. Science or Engineering. Students remain on the project for several semesters and earn academic credits.
At the conclusion of each academic year, the team members move up a level.
The benefit for academic staff is that a ‘critical mass’ of students carry forward each year and help to integrate the incoming students through peer learning.
Experience suggests that the best time to introduce students to work in interdisciplinary projects is in the second year of study, though some prior awareness raising in the first year is desirable. Also, the leadership skills developed in interdisciplinary projects are related more closely to the length of time spent on the project rather than level of study.
These findings will be discussed in the presentation along with examples of VIP4SD projects in Sub Saharan Africa (Energy) and Glasgow’s East End (STEM).
The Strathclyde VIP4SD program is a founder member of the international VIP Consortium [2] active on six continents.
[1] https://www.strath.ac.uk/studywithus/verticallyintegratedprojectsforsustainabledevelopment/
[2] https://www.vip-consortium.org/
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Feb 2023
EventInterdisciplinary Conference IDC - Chelmsford
Duration: 20 Apr 202320 Apr 2023


ConferenceInterdisciplinary Conference IDC


  • interdisciplinarity
  • sustainability
  • educational success


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