“We, the 2013 class of the IRF Road Scholar Program, wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to you for a successful 2013 Program. You proved to be wonderful hosts and our experience within the Program is one we will cherish for years to come. We will always remember the opportunity you provided us to meet some of the best international students within the country and to network with leaders within the transportation industry. The life lessons we learned, the leadership training we undertook and the valuable pieces of advice on business and professional etiquette we received will forever be a part of our lives. Words cannot fully describe our gratitude but in this you can be rest-assured: you have instilled in the next generation of engineers the drive to achieve better roads for a better world.”
History of the Program
The IRF Fellowship Program for graduate engineers and transportation managers has been a cornerstone in the work of the International Road Federation for more than 60 years. The Program provides a one-time grant toward the costs of university graduate study in fields related to the development of better and safer roads and road networks worldwide.
Through the International Road Educational Foundation, the IRF awards grants to graduate engineers and other transportation professionals from around the world in support of full-time academic training. With this the IRF actively supports the future generations who will build the road networks. Graduates of the Program comprise of a group of highly skilled, efficient, and productive experts that exert a strong influence on the orderly development of road transportation systems around the world.
Many Fellows have become high government officials as well as leaders in the private sector and in academia, where they are in a position to exercise a multiplier effect in the transfer of technology and information. Through the IRF Fellows Alumni Association founded in 1993 by the late Dr. Sadamu Mino, strong bonds are formed among the Fellows, the IRF and the IRF’s member organizations.
Criteria to be Selected as an IRF Fellow
Selection of the IRF Fellows is based primarily on their potential as “transportation leaders and decision-makers” in their home countries in the future. To this end, the IRF is looking for candidates with the following qualifications:
- Demonstrated potential as next-generation leaders in the highway industry – financing, administration, planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance.
- Three to fifteen years of progressive work experience in transportation.
- A Bachelor of Science degree (or equivalent) in a transportation-related discipline.
- The ability to actively engage in study and/or research in English.
- A commitment to full-time study for a minimum of nine months.
- The ability to travel to and within the United States.
- Strong endorsements from Cognizant national Road Associations (or similar agencies) and/or the IRF Members.
In general, candidates are expected to meet these criteria – however, there are circumstances where some flexibility is desirable and possible. While most Fellows do study in the United States, some have studied at approved universities in other developed countries.
Fellowships are awarded based on a comprehensive, two-step selection process, which ensures the most worthy candidates are chosen.
In the initial step, the IREF Board of Directors identifies countries to receive offers of Fellowship grants. To be chosen, countries must demonstrate strong support of the International Road Federation’s mission
The IRF Members, previous IRF Fellows, and organizations within the recipient countries are then given the responsibility to choose deserving candidates.
Candidates are selected on the basis of a strong academic background, professional qualifications and leadership potential. Candidates must provide evidence of intent to return to their home countries upon completion of the program.
“If I were a physician looking after tired and jaded managers in our profession I would prescribe a dose of the IRF Fellowship Program. It is simply impossible not to be excited and rejuvenated by the diversity, enthusiasm, energy, capability and sheer zest for living in our global world of these bright and challenging young people. These young people build bridges across the troubled waters of our world.”
Brian T. Harris
President & CEO, Vidrifa