Three of the VREF Scholars: Oriana Calderon, Leeza Malik, Sylvester Hayker

The VREF's scholarships to young scholars from developing countries contribute to the extension of the Urban Freight Network at the METRANS I-NUF 2017

METRANS interviewed some of these VREF-Sponsored Scholars, who commented their first attending at the International Urban Freight Conference.

The 2017 METRANS International Urban Freight conference (I-NUF) usually draw attendees from different countries and feature a wide variety of research topics on urban freight. The plenary and breakout sessions allow for scholars and industry stakeholders to gain and share insights into critical urban freight issues from their unique perspectives, which make of I-NUF one of the most unique forum for Urban Freight.

With the purpose to bring young scholars from developing countries to the conference and to extend the network of urban freight researchers, the VREF sponsored this year the travel for nine scholars. Some of them commented their attending to I-NUF:

Alexis Fillone, Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, was a first time attendee of I-NUF. "It was indeed a revelation for me to know about the current research being done in freight transport worldwide," he said. "What I learned about freight and logistics research from the I-NUF conference can easily be applied to my country since we also have quite a number of problems especially in the urban area".

Oriana Calderon, a PhD Candidate in Engineering at Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, was impressed with the variety of relevant research topics presented at INUF. "I was really amazed about all the advances that have been made in the topics of e-commerce and connected and automated trucks, showing the impressive developments and technological advancements in urban freight," she said, adding that she was also able to tie the international experiences shared in issues such as last mile deliveries in cities like Paris, and the methodologies and data which were applied, to her developing project that estimates models to propose sustainable and efficient solutions for freight generation in Cali, Colombia.

Sylvester Hayker, a PhD Candidate at The Technical University of Kenya, expressed his interest in the effects that last-mile deliveries in urban centers could have on non-motorized transport. "I am eager to see more resources channeled into urban freight's last mile to make it smooth and allow for free flow of non-motorized transport," he said.

Abel Kebede, a Lecturer in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Addis Ababa University, was intrigued by the diverse perspectives of the various researchers in attendance at I-NUF. "The researchers all addressed different challenges in urban freight, and provided a range of perspectives on the future of urban freight," he commented.

Leeza Malik, Researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology, now longs to apply the knowledge from this year's conference to her current research in Delhi, India. "The conference provided a perfect mix of theoretical and practical issues concerning freight transport." She already looks forward to sharing her new research findings at the next I-NUF conference in 2019.

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Global Mobility Research

This Meeting of the Minds' blog monthly releases interviews of global transportation researchers from the VREF's Future Urban Transport Program Network.


The VREF invites PhD students and early stage researchers to apply for a Study Visit Grant to be supported with up to SEK 30 000.

The invitation is now closed.

Each year the Håkan Frisinger Foundation for Transportation Research awards a scholarship to a prominent researcher.

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About VREF

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

Our Vision: Sustainable transport for equitable access in urban areas

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