1. Introduction

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development. In line with the New Urban Agenda, among other things, UN-Habitat seeks to assist cities in improving access and mobility through improvements in public transport and in facilities for walking and cycling (Sustainable Urban Mobility). It does so by facilitating policy dialogue, through sharing good examples and by providing technical assistance for the development and implementation of field projects that demonstrate the principles of “Sustainable Mobility”. Emerging technologies are increasingly influencing how people travel in cities and how goods are moved from place to place. UN-Habitat also seeks to work in this area with a view to achieving improved accessibility for all, particularly the poor and vulnerable.  


The Urban Pathways project embarks on a four-year programme of action to deliver on the combined aims and ambitions of the UN’s New Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris agreement – making a direct contribution by focusing on implementation programmes in the area of energy, waste resource management, and transportation. Initially, the Urban Pathways project focused on India, Brazil, Kenya and VietNam as four pilot countries for the implementation of the programme’s identified work agenda. This plan of action includes a stepping-stone assessment of the political, technological, socio-economic and financial viability of concepts prior to proceeding. Currently, the programme focuses on developing national action plans and concrete local implementation concepts to boost low-carbon urban development in key identified emerging economies.   The identified local implementation concepts are further developed into bankable projects, focusing on the thematic areas that create a direct link between climate change mitigation and sustainable development. The Urban Pathways’ project overarching ambitions is to make an active contribution to achieve global climate change targets to a 1.5-degree stabilisation pathway by unlocking the global emission reduction potential in urban energy, transport and resource sectors of 3.7Gt CO2 emissions by 2030.  This is also done by collaborating with other organisations and networks active in this area by establishing a facility of cooperation – that streamlines joint and parallel work efforts in support to national and local governments local implementation concepts.  

Proposed Urban Mobility Knowledge Sharing Facility: University and UN-Habitat collaboration

To address the increasing mobility challenges in cities, UN-Habitat proposes to collaborate with universities, research and academic institutions. The aim of such collaboration is to identify key urban mobility challenges and develop and pilot-test solutions with a view to developing an evidence base for effective solutions for wider take-up and replication.

This call for expressions of interest, invites universities, think-tanks and academic institutions to second student researchers at the masters or doctoral level to work alongside UN-Habitat’s urban mobility team on an agreed set of topics.  Working under the joint guidance of the university or research institution and UN-Habitat, such student researchers will identify research areas and develop proposals to undertake research and pilot-test new ideas to improve mobility and decrease emissions and pollution from transport.

Specifically, such collaboration will entail:

  • Identifying broad areas and specific topics for research;
  • Preparing research plans;
  • Developing Terms of Reference for Research Students;
  • Assigning research students to work alongside UN-Habitat’s staff (either in Nairobi or at the University);
  • Conducting joint review of research work with UN-Habitat;
  • Disseminating research findings.
  • Field test new ideas in the context of actual cities in collaboration with city officials and other stake-holders
  • Develop toolkits and guides (following UN-Habitat standards)
  • Contributing to workshops, seminars and similar events    

The EOI should contain, but not be limited to the following:

  1. Overall Background of the university/ institution in the area of urban mobility;
  2. The number and details of research students that the university can dedicate for this collaboration
  3. The period of deployment of such research students
  4. A short conceptual proposal on how the university views such a collaboration in taking forward its academic and research programme;
  5. The support/ contribution the organization is willing to make including, cash and in kind; (contribution in terms of scholarships for student researchers staff time, office space and equipment and other support in cash and in-kind should be expressed in monetary terms)
  6. Detailed breakdown of cost by component; (items 1 through 4 outlined above)
  7. Governance and organizational structure; experience and qualifications of key professional staff and infrastructure facilities of the organization;
  8. Certified true copy of original Audited Account Statement for the last two years; and
  9. Annual report.

UN-Habitat Contribution

Upon selection UN-Habitat will enter into an Agreement of Cooperation with the selected entity. UN-Habitat will contribute to the tune of US$1,500-$2,000 per month for a period ranging from 6 -12 months to towards the cost of deploying one research student. In addition, UN-Habitat will provide office facilities if the researcher is located in UN-Habitat HQ in Nairobi.

  1. Overall Timeframe

The work outlined in this EOI is scheduled to commence in February 2021 and completed by 31 December 2021.

Submission Requirements and Guidelines

Expression of Interest must be delivered in electronic format no later than 8 February 2021 to the e-mail address to with the reference number EOI-13-01-2021 clearly stated in the subject of the email EOI. Failure to do so might disqualify your submission.

  1. Contact Information

Kennedy Kamau

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: 254-20-7625064

  1. Other

Please note that this EOI notice does not constitute a solicitation. UN-Habitat reserves the right to change or cancel this requirement at any time in the Expressions of Interest/or solicitation process.

Submitting a reply to an EOI does not guarantee that a Cooperation Partner will be considered for receipt of the solicitation when issued and only Cooperation Partners who are deemed qualified by UN-Habitat upon completion of evaluation of submission, will receive the final solicitation document.