Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency
The “Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency” targets supporting the momentum of Lee Schipper’s contribution to the enrichment of the international policy dialogue in the fields of sustainable transport and energy efficiency. Lee Schipper, international physicist, researcher, musician and co-founder of EMBARQ (today the Urban Mobility program of the World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities) inspired and shaped the thinking of a generation of students and professionals. VREF support the Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship since 2018.
Call for Applications 2024
jointly by VREF, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Schipper Family
About the Scholarship
April 15, 1988scholarship
- Consistency with Lee Schipper’s contributions
- Alignment with the idea of sustainable transport and energy efficiency
- Creation of innovative, transformational outcomes (“real impact”)
- Feasibility (timely, realistic)
- Applicant (affiliation, background, previous contributions, references)
 The eligibility periods can be extended in case of specific and properly documented circumstances such as parental leave. In case of parental leave, the applicant may request up to 18 months extension of eligibility for each child born. The Scholarship Committee will assess the eligibility period on the basis of evidence provided at the time of submission of the expression of interest.
The African Scholarship supports a young researcher from the African continent currently living and working in Africa. In addition to the global selection criteria above, applicants to the African Scholarship should also:
- Hold citizenship of an African country
- Currently live and work in Africa
- Be associated with an African-based institution (or an African branch of an international institution)
The Scholarship guidelines describe the scholarship application process in more detail. Please complete an expression of interest here by April 15, 2024. Up to seven candidates for each of the Global and African Scholarships will advance to the next selection round and be notified by the end of May 2024, when a more detailed research proposal will be required. The Scholarship Committee will aim to announce the final awardees in August 2024.
If you are interested in knowing more about the Scholarship, or if you have ideas that you would like to share with us, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet previous awardees
Owen Mwaura, Carlos Rivera-Gonzalez and Shanshan (“Shirley”) Liu
In 2023 three researchers – Owen Mwaura, Carlos Rivera-Gonzalez and Shanshan ”Shirley” Liu – was awarded the prestigious Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for their 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.EXPAND
Owen Mwaura – awarded for his research proposal “Optimal Paratransit Routes Network Design Case Study of Nairobi Metropolitan.” Owen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Cape Town. From the University of Nairobi, he holds a B.A. in urban and regional planning, and from the University of Cape Town a postgraduate certificate in geographic information systems and MPhil in transport studies. Owen’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 – awarded 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, Carlos 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. Carlos’ 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 – awarded for her research proposal “Assessing Electric School Buses Benefits: Enhancing Resilience in Community Hubs.” Shanshan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research will investigate. 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. Shanshan’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 U.S. Electric school buses have the potential to function as power sources and through Vehicle-to-Building technology, can supply backup power directly to buildings during power outages. Shanshan 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.Show less
Award ceremony with 2022 year’s awardees Lucia Game and Robert Ambunda
See list of all past scholars
Africa scholar: Owen Mwaura, PhD candidate, University of Cape Town
Carlos Rivera-Gonzalez, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Toronto
Shanshan (“Shirley”) Liu, PhD candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Africa scholar: Robert Ambunda, PhD candidate, Stellenbosch University
Lucía Game, PhD candidate, University of California, Berkeley
African scholar: Susan Gichuna, PhD candidate, University of Nairobi
Tamara Kutchner, PhD candidate, University of California, Berkeley
Wei Wei, PhD candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
African scholar: Abisai Konstantinus, Postdoctoral researcher, University of Cape Town
Jungwoo Chun, PhD candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fariba Siddiq, PhD candidate, University of California, Los Angeles
Teddy Forscher, PhD candidate, University of California, Berkeley
Valentina Montoya Robledo, SJD candidate, Harvard University
Junia Compostella, PhD candidate, University of California, Davis
Jaime Soza Parra, PhD candidate, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Joanna Moody, PhD candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Rafael Pereira, PhD candidate, University of Oxford
Akshima Chate, Senior Fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
Fiamma Perez-Prada, PhD candidate, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Gwyn Kash, PhD candidate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Madeline Brozen, Complete Streets Initiative Program Manager, University of California, Los Angeles
Erik Vergel-Tovar, PhD candidate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Sudhir Gota, Technical Advisor, Clean Air Initiative Asia
Fei Li, Ph.D. candidate, New York University
To keep Lee’s legacy alive, the Schipper Family and EMBARQ, the sustainable urban mobility initiative of the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, created the Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency. The Scholarship is governed by an advisory board of selected experts and esteemed colleagues who guide the scholarship and make the final selection of the scholars.
- Holger Dalkmann, Founder & CEO, Sustain 2030
- Ramon Munoz-Raskin, Program Leader, World Bank Group
- Dario Hidalgo, Professor of Transport and Logistics, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
- Nancy Kete, Owner, Kete Consulting
- Wei-Shiuen Ng, Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations ESCAP
- – Sam Zimmerman, Urban Transport Advisor (retired), World Bank
Lee Schipper inspired and shaped the thinking of a generation
The following was adapted from an obituary written by Kirk R. Smith in Energy Policy
Lee Schipper was an international physicist, researcher and musician, who inspired and shaped the thinking of a generation of students and professionals. Lee was widely recognized for enriching policy dialogue with his passion for data and challenging conventional wisdom. Lee passed away in August 2011 after a brief and difficult battle with pancreatic cancer.
Highly productive career
Most recently, Lee was a senior research scientist at both University of California Berkeley’s Global Metropolitan Studies and at Stanford University’s Precourt Institute of Energy Efficiency conducting research and policy analysis on efficient energy use in transportation systems. He was co-founder of EMBARQ, the World Resources Institute’s Center for Sustainable Transport, and remained as a senior associate emeritus. Over a highly productive career, he worked at the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the International Energy Agency in Paris, Shell International in London, as well as being Fulbright Scholar at the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics in Stockholm. He was a guest researcher at the World Bank, VVS Tekniska Foerening, the OECD Development Center, and the Stockholm Environment Institute.
Sharing the Nobel Peace Prize
Lee authored more than 100 technical papers and a number of books on energy economics and transportation, including Energy Efficiency and Human Activity: Past Trends, Future Prospects (1992) with Stephen Meyers, Richard Howarth, and Ruth Steiner. He served on the editorial boards of five major journals and was a member of the Swedish Board for Transportation and Communications Research. For four years he was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science’s Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Sustainable Transport and Committee on Developing Countries. He worked in IPCC’s Mitigation group (WGIII), for the third and fourth assessments, thus sharing the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
Proponent of sensible policies
In Berkeley in the early 1970s, Professor John Holdren, President Obama’s Science Advisor, was the first person to hire Lee as an energy specialist. He notes that ‘‘Lee was one of the first people to point out that people don’t want to consume energy, but they want to consume energy services, like transportation, comfortable rooms, cold beer and so forth. And that there was an enormous variation in the amount of energy needed to perform those services.’’ Lee’s academic break came in 1976, between the first and second international oil shocks, when he published an influential paper in Science pointing out that Sweden consumed far less energy per unit of economic activity than the United States did. Lee shifted his primary attention to transport in the 1980s, becoming one of the premiere scholars in the field and a tireless proponent of sensible policies for public and private transport.
Lee was a force of nature—an irrepressible fountain of energy, insight, humor, and intelligence. And a master communicator. Part of this was being an irrepressible iconoclast with a wonderful knack of turning a phrase to excellent effect. He could make the basically dry subject of energy efficiency become exciting in ways that engaged students, the media, and policymakers. Evidence for this was publishing 15 letters to the editor in the New York Times on energy efficiency—a nearly legendary achievement. He was also kind, generous, and unselfish with his friends and students and with the grace and self-confidence to be curious and inquisitive about what others were doing.
Lee was multi-talented beyond his science. As a UC Berkeley student and vibraphonist, he led his jazz group to victory at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1967. He would reprise the role as band leader with an ad hoc jazz group, Lee Schipper and the Mitigators, who performed primarily in conjunction with energy-related conferences. He was one of the world’s experts on Wilhelm Furtwangler, perhaps the greatest symphonic and operatic conductor of the 20th century, and collected one of the most complete sets of his recordings. Lee seemed to pick up languages effortlessly, speaking fluent Swedish, German, and French, and passable Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, and Portuguese. Even a bit of Russian.