VREF supports research within the FUT programme by establishing interdisciplinary Centres of Excellence (CoE) and through support for so-called Smaller Projects (SP). The CoE are intended to create a platform for researchers who want to collaborate on the development of new and better knowledge about how to cope with the complexity of transport systems in large urban areas.
Highest scientific quality
The CoE are expected to maintain the highest scientific quality and to work together with local actors that can utilize their results. In addition, the Centres are expected to participate in establishing educational programs related to their areas of research. Normally, a Centre of Excellence receives between SEK 4-6 million (ca. EUR 420-630 thousand) per year for a period of five years. The CoE are encouraged to apply for additional funding from national and international research organizations. The ambition is that the Centres will be able to maintain their activities after their support from VREF comes to a close.
The purpose of the Smaller Projects (SP) is to make use of ideas that VREF finds valuable but do not justify the establishment of a new CoE. The projects must be relevant in the context of the FUT programme´s overarching aim — to support research and education that contributes to the development of sustainable transportation systems — and are intended to complement the research performed at the Centres. Usually the projects receive funding for two years.
A new strategy
With 8 Centres of Excellence in operation and funding granted to more than 40 Smaller Projects (SP) since the start of the FUT programme in 2000, the VREF decided in 2008 to implement a new strategy for the research programme. As a consequence, VREF now mainly operate through directed calls to, e.g., certain research areas or geographical regions. Very soon, the Foundations will focus their research funding on establishing the 9th VREF Centre of Excellence in the area of Freight. A process to recruit a CoE in the field of Freight will be carried out in 2011-2012, with decision to be taken by the VREF Board in December 2012.
The VREF will not make any call for proposals for Smaller Projects in 2011.