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Erik Vergel-Tovar and Madeline Brozen awarded 2014 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship

posted Aug 19, 2014, 9:46 AM by
Dr. Lee Schipper’s legacy continues to inspire three years after his passing

EMBARQ, the sustainable transport program of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, and the Lee Schipper family are pleased to announce that young researchers Erik Vergel-Tovar and Madeline Brozen have been selected to receive the 2014 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will help both recipients contribute to the advancement of sustainable transport and urban mobility. 

The Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship was established in 2012 to celebrate the vision and bold challenges to conventional wisdom that EMBARQ founder and recognized researcher Dr. Lee Schipper contributed to the fields of sustainable transport and energy efficiency. This is the second year the scholarship has been awarded. Last year’s recipients – Sudhir Gota and Fei Li – contributed thorough research on energy use in the transport sector and the effect of minimum parking standards respectively.

The 2014 scholarship received a total of 82 applications from 26 countries. After careful review from an evaluation committee, 11 finalists were selected to submit in-depth proposals and timelines. From the finalists, the evaluation committee selected two recipients who were then approved by the Scholarship Board, composed of Sam Zimmerman from the World Bank, Nancy Kete from the Rockefeller Foundation, Mr. S. Sundar from the Energy and Resources Institute, Judith Pollock from the Shell Foundation, Holger Dalkmann from EMBARQ, and Ramon Munoz-Raskin on behalf of the Schipper family.

2014 awardees to explore global applications for sustainable transport solutions

Vergel-Tovar and Brozen will examine diverse topics, with both aiming to build on Dr. Schipper’s legacy of promoting sustainable transport worldwide.

Vergel-Tovar will examine the relationship between bus rapid transit (BRT) – a mass transport solution now employed in over 180 cities – and transit-oriented development (TOD) strategies. His analysis will address how the urban built environment influences BRT ridership, relying on case studies from Latin American and Indian cities to draw globally applicable conclusions. Read more about Vergel-Tovar’s work on TheCityFix.

“I am thrilled that this scholarship will help me disseminate my research and reach city decision-makers through the global EMBARQ Network. I hope to enable cities to make BRT systems more sustainable,” said Vergel-Tovar. “Through this scholarship, I will be able to put my research in a more global context by translating the lessons from Latin America to other regions, and contributing recommendations to the development of sustainable transport in places like Asia and Africa, where BRT is on the rise.”

Brozen will explore a different element of sustainable transport: street design. Her research will challenge the way streets are currently evaluated, examining the Level of Service (LOS) measure for assessing street performance. She will focus on shifting from car-oriented design to infrastructure that supports sustainable transport, particularly walking and bicycling. Read more about Brozen’s work on TheCityFix.

“After learning I was selected as a Schipper scholar, I was shocked and delighted,” said Brozen. “Over the last two years of working on this project, I’ve continually felt that changing this technical wonky tool [Level of Service] has the opportunity to affect change. Being selected as a Schipper scholar reinforces that thought and gives the chance to put this analysis in the minds of the global community.”

Both Vergel-Tovar and Brozen will culminate their research by presenting findings at the Transforming Transportation 2015 conference, co-organized by EMBARQ and the World Bank.

Reflections from the 2014 Scholarship Board

“We are delighted that, in its second year, the scholarship continues to attract intelligent, visionary young researchers from all over the world,” said Ramon Munoz-Raskin on behalf of the Schipper family. “I can think of no better way to honor the three-year anniversary of Lee’s passing than to support two innovative thinkers committed to the same important cause to which he dedicated his career. We look forward to the results of Erik and Madeline’s work, which will continue the momentum of Lee’s contributions to sustainable transport."

“I’m really pleased that Erik and Madeline have been named as recipients of this year’s Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship. Their research initiatives will help promote implementation of high quality, sustainable mobility solutions globally,” said Judith Pollock, Deputy Director of the Shell Foundation. “Both proposals echo Lee Schipper’s strengths of deepening technical understanding of energy and transport issues and driving changes in practice to deliver transformative outcomes on the ground. Lee’s leadership informed Shell Foundation and WRI’s thinking in co-founding and building EMBARQ to impact the future of sustainable mobility in developing country cities, and Shell Foundation are delighted to support his memorial scholarship to develop young scientists and future leaders such as Erik and Madeline.”

“The 2014 scholarship recipients both take innovative approaches to analyzing urban mobility, and I am happy to see that they advance Lee’s goals to catalyze sustainable transport solutions and improve quality of life in cities,” said Holger Dalkmann, Acting Global Director of the Cities & Transport program at the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Director of EMBARQ. “As Lee himself emphasized, this next generation of researchers is key to building people-oriented cities that rely on sustainable solutions.”


The scholarship was created by the Schipper Family and EMBARQ, with cooperation from leading scholars and policy makers, and is made possible by donations from individual donors as well as an instrumental grant from the Shell Foundation.