The University of Hawai`i (UH) is part of the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Consortium, which consists of 14 universities across the country, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology. VIP programs at each institution seek to foster long-term, in-depth, project-based learning to engage students and better prepare them for future careers. VIP teams are vertically integrated: they consist of a faculty mentor, graduate student researchers, and undergraduates of all levels. The teams are large (10 to 20 undergraduates each semester), the projects are long-term (at least 5 years in scope), and are based on an externally funded research topic. Undergraduates in VIP teams earn academic credit for their participation.

Our VIP efforts are organized around the following themes:
  • The College of Engineering has a strong robotics program spanning microrobotics to marine (submersible and surface) robotics to aerospace (drones and small satellites) and surgical robotics.

  • UH Mānoa has an exceptionally strong astronomy program, with access to real telescope time for developing astronomical instruments. Student-built nanosatellites have been built and launched three times since 2006, with another one being proposed for a JPL interplanetary mission. UH Mānoa has just established a BS degree in astrophysics, opening up an opportunity for a VIP focus area in space and astronomy. 

  • The UH System has also made it a priority for its students to be part of the “Maker Movement,” inspiring our third VIP focus area to be in rapid prototyping and re-manufacturing. Goals and objectives include cultivating and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship at UH Mānoa by providing the learning resources, tools and facilities to cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship and serving as a conduit to the local startup ecosystem. 

  • Our fourth focus area is in sustainability. As the most isolated land mass in the world, Hawai`i has a vested interest in sustainability in many areas: architecture, energy, food, water, and transportation. Indeed, this focus allows rich cross-disciplinary VIP opportunities across many academic disciplines across campus.