Three new researchers have been awarded the prestigious Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency for transformative research proposals that challenge conventional wisdom. In addition to the global awards to two young researchers, which have been awarded since 2013, a third award supports a young African researcher, an extension of the scholarship now in its fourth year.

The Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship continues the legacy of Lee Schipper’s enrichment of international policy dialogue in the fields of sustainable transport and energy efficiency. Schipper, a physicist, researcher, musician and co-founder of EMBARQ (today the Urban Mobility program of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities) inspired and shaped the thinking of a generation of students and professionals. The scholarship provides funding support and mentoring advice to promising young researchers. The scholarship is supported by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundation.

The 2023 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship awardees are:

Owen Mwaura for his research proposal “Optimal Paratransit Routes Network Design Case Study of Nairobi Metropolitan.” Mwaura is a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Cape Town. He holds a B.A. in urban and regional planning from the University of Nairobi and a postgraduate certificate in geographic information systems and MPhil in transport studies from the University of Cape Town. Mwaura’s research will focus on optimizing the paratransit network of matatus in Nairobi, Kenya. He will optimize the paratransit network to minimize the disutility of travel for passengers and develop recommendations for improved and sustainable routing policies for Nairobi's paratransit network.

Carlos Rivera-Gonzalez for his research proposal “Transforming Urban Logistics: Demand Centric Policy Impacts on Freight Efficient Land-Uses.” Currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, Rivera-Gonzalez completed his Ph.D. in transportation engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute (RPI) in New York. He also holds an M.S. in Economics from RPI, as well as an M.S. and B.S. in civil engineering from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota. He currently leads the Freight Data Warehouse at the University of Toronto and is the project manager for the CLUE (City Logistics for the Urban Environment) research program. Rivera-Gonzalez’s research will examine whether the optimal locations of freight distribution centers are sensitive to changes in freight demand management policies (e.g., consolidation of cargo). He will consider the effect of land use decisions on freight delivery tour patterns emanating from distribution centers, as well as the social costs of those delivery trips in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area in Ontario, Canada.

Shanshan (“Shirley”) Liu for her research proposal “Assessing Electric School Buses Benefits: Enhancing Resilience in Community Hubs.” Liu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds a Bachelor of Traffic Engineering and a Master of Transportation Engineering from Southeast University in China. Extreme weather events are one of the leading sources of power outages; Liu’s research will examine the potential of electric school buses to supply backup power to resilience hubs (community shelters) during power outage events in the United States Electric school buses have the potential to function as power sources and through Vehicle-to-Building technology andsupply backup power directly to buildings during power outages. Liu will evaluate the resilience benefits of electric school buses by simulating the energy use profiles (e.g., heating, cooling, air conditioning) and other loads (e.g., lighting, refrigeration) for the resilience hubs in nine climate regions in the U.S.

With the support of WRI and the World Bank, all scholars will present their work at the upcoming Transforming Transportation 2024 conference to recognize and inspire future researchers to shape the future of the transport sector.

On behalf of the Scholarship Board and the Schipper Family, co-founders Holger Dalkmann and Ramon Munoz-Raskin congratulate the new scholars and thank the Volvo Research and Educational Foundation and other partners for their support.