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Assistant Professor

Virginie Lurkin

About me

I am a dreamer with a genuine excitement for life. I am full of natural curiosity and I add fire and passion in everything I do. I can be sad and happy in span of a second, mainly because I care a lot. Don’t tell me that there is no point. I simply don’t joke with intolerance or injustice. I am a fighter. I am free yet self-disciplined. I speak too much. I laugh too loud. And I try hard everyday to become the best version of myself. I love to spend time with family and friends. Listening to music. Hiking in the mountains. Swimming into lakes. Nature is how I reconnect with myself. I would never say no for discovering a new country, eating good food or drinking good wines. Finally, I believe education is the key that opens all doors, especially those of personal development and freedom.

Personal Motivation

NEON is very much related to my core research interests. Still it is not the reason I am so excited to be part of such project. The truth is that I truly need to have a purpose in everything I do, including in my work. I want to be useful. I want to do something good for society. I like to solve challenging and complex mathematical problems, but I need them to be related to real issues in society. Also I am a firm believer that multidisciplinary methodologies are the key to tackle issues in 2020. And NEON is very exciting in that sense. This societal relevance and multidisciplinary approach are what drives me the most with regard to the NEON research.

Smart mobility hubs

My research efforts will be pursued as part of the research work-package on ‘Smart Mobility’. Our team will investigate the potential of micro transport hubs in urban centers. Micro hubs are used as flexible consolidation points where parcels are consolidated from multiple carriers. Recently, rather than having a fixed location for the micro hub, increasing attention is given to mobile hubs, where, for example, a large truck has the same warehouse function, but can be located dynamically in the city, depending upon the needs in terms of important characteristics such as, downstream demand, time windows, etc.

A mobile micro hub is, for example, a trailer (or bus, barge, tram) fitted with loading dock operations and warehouse facilities. This mobile hub is then used as an inner-city base where last-mile deliveries and first-mile pick-ups are initiated. Usually, this is done with low-emission last mile delivery vehicles, e.g. Light Electrical Vehicles (reducing last mile autonomy problems), cargo bikes, or (flying or driving) drones. Mobile micro hubs can be used dynamically in time and space, require less investments, and are more flexible in terms of capacity. The PhD projects will focus on the business and socio-economic value, the effective and efficient planning and scheduling, and the space use and location evaluation of (mobile) micro hubs within a city logistics context.

Link to other neon research

I would like to collaborate with the people working on MaaS to investigate the benefits of integrating freight and passenger solutions, and to also include customer behaviors within the smart logistics context. I also hope that the people working on electricity grids, batteries, electric vehicles and chargers can help us to properly investigate the use of low-emission last mile delivery vehicles in our logistics models. This technical expertise is important in order to have meaningful models and results.