VREF Next Generation Scholars Initiative

For many years VREF has provided support, opportunities, and activities for Next Generation Scholars in the FUT program, with the following aims: 

  • to build interdisciplinary and thematically overarching communities among young researchers 
  • to contribute to supporting young researchers in their academic work and careers 
  • to contribute to a new generation of researchers and research environments within the FUT program 

In 2023, a pilot initiative was carried out within the NextGen community in the MAC program, where VREF – in addition to providing grants – also took various initiatives to encourage young researchers at African universities to share their scientific work, develop their contacts, and network with each other. 

In 2024 this MAC pilot will merge with other VREF initiatives for young researchers into a cross-program VREF NextGen Community which will convene activities for NextGen scholars and facilitate knowledge exchanges and synergies between all VREF programs. 

An important point of departure for this initiative is the recognition that many young researchers within all VREF programs have research interests in common, as well as shared needs for academic capacity building and networking activities. 

To get updates and invitations to NextGen activities – send an email with your name and affiliation, and report your interest, to secretariat@vref.se
We also encourage you to sign up for our newsletters and to follow us on LinkedIn.
If you have questions or ideas, don’t hesitate to contact VREF at secretariat@vref.se.

VREF NextGen Support and Activities

VREF’s support and activities aimed at Next Generation scholars are based on the perspectives, needs, and preferences of young scholars themselves and are designed in consultation with young scholars within the programs. 

So far this initiative has resulted in:

Knowledge development and exchange (examples):

  • NextGen Research Forums
  • NextGen workshops in conjunction with VREF conferences,specifically for young scholars
  • “Think Pieces” authored by NextGen scholars (coming 2024)

Education and capacity-building (examples):

  • “Skills&Tools” capacity-building short courses (e.g., scientific writing, project management)
  • “Tools of the Trade” capacity-building webinars
  • (e.g., scientific publishing, communicating research results)
  • “Mentoring” initiatives with the participation of senior andjunior researchers
  • Support for participation in summer schools, selected conferences, etc.

Scholarships and awards:

  • VREF provides scholarships (“Mobility grants”) to enable NextGen scholars to carry out short study visits to research teams at other universities

VREF also provides opportunities for NextGen scholars to apply for the following awards:

  • Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship
  • SLOCAT/VREF Young Leaders in Sustainable Transport


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