Call for Expression of Interest (EoI) – for establishing a VREF International Research Program

Open for application until 1st of October 2022

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) invites researchers at universities (and research institutes of academic standing) to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) to establish and lead a VREF International Research Program in the area of informal and shared mobility in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Expression of Interest will also serve as an application for a VREF planning grant for preparing a full proposal for the International Research Program (IRP).

The call is a two-step process. In the first step (2022), VREF aims at approving 3-5 planning grants for submitting a full proposal. In the second step (2023), applicants who have received a planning grant will be invited to submit a full proposal for an IRP. The envisaged outcome of the second step is a VREF decision in June 2023 to finance one IRP for a first 3,5-year period with up to 17 MSEK (approx.1,5 MEUR/ 1,7 MUSD). Expressions of Interest should be submitted to VREF no later than 1 October 2022.


VREF has recently launched a new initiative for funding research and education on informal and shared mobility in low- and middle-income countries, LMIC (hereafter referred to as the “ISM program”).

The primary objective of the ISM program is to contribute to strengthening equity and sustainability in urban transport by supporting research that creates new knowledge to better inform stakeholders to govern, design or develop informal and shared mobility, thereby contributing to better access to goods and services for all.

An important point of departure for the new program are indications from VREF’s preparatory work, that there are substantial knowledge gaps in numerous areas related to informal and shared mobility. While there is increased research interest as shown in a growing number of published papers and other activities, the preparatory work indicates that there is no established international research network or any dedicated global event that could to provide a focused exchange of knowledge and ideas in this area. While the ISM program will primarily support research on informal and shared mobility in LMICs, VREF will also seek to strengthen broader international collaboration by ensuring the integration of HIC based universities in program activities.

In summary, the program will be characterized by:

  • A geographical focus on LMICs
  • Comparative studies between different urban contexts
  • Collaboration and exchange among researchers globally, in LMICs as well as in HICs
  • Interdisciplinary approaches in knowledge building, education and learning

The ISM program will be carried out in three program phases consisting of an initial, preparatory phase 2021-2022, a first program implementation phase 2023-2026, and a potential second program implementation phase 2027-2029.