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Walking as a Mode of Transport

First Call for Projects Proposals, Research grants 2022-2023 for Exploratory Projects

Questions and Answers Pdf, 141.1 kB. (Pdf, 141.1 kB)


  • Thematic profile of the program

Question: Are walking with wheelchairs and mobility scooters included in the program?

Answer: Yes. Walking with wheelchairs and other means that enable people with disabilities to walk in urban areas is indeed part of the program.

Question: Are cycling and active travel modes included in this program?

Answer: No, the program is focusing on walking, as a mode of transport.

  • Geographical aspects

Question: Can the comparative regions be within the same country?

Answer: Basically, yes. However, it is important to motivate your choice of study of regions or cities, whether within the same country or in different countries.

Question: Can the studies include regions outside Africa?

Answer: Yes, the program is global. We also encourage studying regions in different parts of the world.

Question: Are you excluding any geographical areas? Are you targeting any geographical areas? Do you target low-income countries/ cities in particular?

Answer: No. We don’t exclude any geographical context. We prioritize exchange between different regions of the world. We do have - as one of specific priorities - to strengthen research capacity in walking as a mode of transport in low and middle-income countries, but that does exclude any other countries.

  • Project organization and staffing, composition of research teams

Question: Can a Ph.D. candidate be a team leader with an established researcher as support?

Response: Yes. There is no limitation in terms of your career position, however the applicant team should motivate how they select the team leader, especially if it is a less senior person leading the team. There has to be a quite strong motivation for that.

Question: Can the proposal be a part of thesis research?

Answer: Yes, proposals can be part of thesis research. We encourage research teams to include early career researchers and PhD students as members of their project teams.

Question: If one is a project leader for an ongoing VREF funded project, or a project that has recently ended, can they apply as project leader for this new call?

Answer: Yes, there are no restrictions for how many projects you can lead simultaneously with VREF funding.

Question: Can one apply for funds to build on current ongoing work?

Answer: Basically, yes. However, each application has to be to a single project, well separated from the current project in terms of work plan and activities to be carried out. It should also be well motivated why you propose an extended project.

Question: Is there any limitation on the number of members in the applicant's group?

Answer: There is no strict limitation on number of members in the research team, however VREF strongly recommend that you consider carefully which competence is really needed to carry out the project. Some expertise might be sufficient to have in a reference group, or be consulted in workshop format.

Question: Can businesses (e.g., route mapping developers), international organizations (e.g. UN agencies) and organizations that are charities/NGOs (e.g. people with disabilities organizations) be included as partners?

Answer: Yes, private companies, international organizations and charities/NGOs can be included as project partners. According to VREF statutes, grant holders should be universities or research institutes of academic standing in research and/or education, so private companies, international organizations and charities/NGOs would have to participate either at their own cost or compensated to a limited extent as project cost.

  • Project format, methodology and output

Question: In this call, is there a preference towards new research projects or would organizing events on the topic (e.g. small conference) be of interest?

Answer: This call is targeting new research projects. Meetings, such as focus groups, workshops, etc. can be part of the research methodology, but the call does not fund events as such.

Question: Would develop open-source tools that can be used by different stakeholders in multiple contexts (such as “OpenStreetMaps”) be of interest?

Answer: Yes, developing tools and methods is included in this call. N.B. VREF is not funding the development of commercial products. Nonetheless, developing open-source tools can be part of a project.

Question: What does VREF envisage as deliverable of the funded projects?

Answer: Each single project should report findings, either in a scientific article, or in any other established format, e.g. a university working paper, a conference paper, etc.

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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.


This CityFix series, produced by the WRI (World Ressources Institute) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and supported by the VREF, discusses walking and cycling in cities with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries.

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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