Special issue


The ability to work effectively in a diverse team is a valuable skill which is transferable to many contexts. As such, it is important to build this skill through deliberate, targeted, and meaningful learning activities in higher education. The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) model enhances team diversity by combining students from different disciplines and years of study to work together on a research project within the curriculum. Additionally, VIP provides the option to remain on the project for an extended period over several semesters and gain team leadership experience. Our research investigates the recent implementation of VIP at the University of St Andrews. Using a survey of student perceptions and analysis of student reflective writing, this case study reports evidence that the VIP model adds value to the development of teamwork skills.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Collaborative research in diverse teams is perceived by students to generate value added relative to more traditional team assignments.
  2. Students find it useful to collaborate across different years of study and different disciplines.
  3. Teamwork skills take time to develop, therefore facilitating team projects over longer periods is likely to be beneficial.
  4. Team based activities designed to deliver research outputs are perceived by students as more desirable than team assignments designed primarily for assessment purposes.
  5. Research based learning in teams provides students with opportunities to be creative, exercise agency and develop their interpersonal skills.