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I-DE-ES Project

Project overview

The proposed project builds on the flagship undergraduate ‘Innovation; Thinking and Practice’ module, which enhances employability skills through student-centred, interactive learning. Interdisciplinary teams develop innovation projects in collaboration with partners from industry, government, and non-profits. The module guides students through research, project development and delivery, using a design thinking approach.

The project will explore and evaluate the module in light of enhancing the curriculum via evidence based guidelines for:

  • Digitally-enabled, team-based learning that enhances key employability skills and addresses global innovation challenges in collaboration with partners
  • Designing student-centred and team-based learning in an inclusive way that respects differences in personal background and training (including discipline/origin/gender/disability)

The research approach

The project will review contemporary research on digital learning, employability skills and differences in personal backgrounds contributing to the experience of team-based learning. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods will be undertaken including semi-structured interviews, surveys and analysis of reflective reports with previous students. Primary research will also be undertaken with recruiters and consultations with project advisory groups, providing an innovative and evidence-based approach to pedagogy that adapts to the changes in the global labour market by addressing persistent and emerging skill gaps.

The project will involve (former) students, student education leaders and external partners with the aim of contributing to the development of a Leeds Curriculum that aligns with the University’s Strategy 2020-2030 and strengthens its reputation for innovative, research-led student education with global impact.

Project progress

The project is still ongoing but has produced a full report on the diverse and interdisciplinary teams sub-project (PDF).

There is also a Sway and a series of videos emphasising key findings.

Additional outputs include:

  • Guidance on the use of Diverge-Converge as a method for more productive and inclusive teamwork in diverse teams
  • TIPS Blog: Developing Interdisciplinary Team Working Competencies
  • Presentations at Student Education events at Leeds and the Advance HE Conference 2023 at Keele University
  • We Not Me podcast – with a discussion of the importance of embracing change and turning problems into opportunities
  • Research and Innovation Podcast for Leeds University Business School

If you would like to find out more about the project contact Tony ( or Lena (

Each fellowship has a project sponsor that helps the fellows achieve impact across the institution. The sponsor for this fellowship is Kenny McDowell.

Project start date: September 2021