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Samira Marx Pinheiro

Samira Marx Pinheiro has won the 2017 Voorhees-Large Prize for her University of Leeds Transport Economics Masters dissertation ‘Estimating fare elasticities in rail demand in Great Britain using Bayesian inference’.


Samira studied Public Administration at the Fundação João Pinheiro School of Government of Minas Gerais State[1], graduating in 2009; she also completed a programme in Statistics at the University of Minas Gerais.

Samira’s professional career started at the Minas Gerais' State Secretariat of Transportation and Public Works where she worked on transport infrastructure regulation and transport services. By 2015, she was the Chief-Advisor of Planning, a post she left in 2016 to start her Transport Economics Masters at Leeds, for which she had been awarded a Chevening Scholarship.  Chevening Scholarships are a UK Government international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders, providing Scholars with the opportunity to develop professionally and academically, to network extensively, to experience UK culture and to build lasting positive relationships with the UK. They are funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its partner organisations.

Having returned to Brazil from Leeds, Samira is now the Director of Concessions in the Minas Gerais' State Secretariat of Transportation and Public Works, responsible for the regulation of PPPs and other long-term public contracts in the transport sector.


Samira believes that ‘the professionalisation of the public service is fundamental in developing countries in order to improve their quality. This is the purpose of the Fundação João Pinheiro School of Government of which I am very proud to be an alumnus. The scenario of poor human capital in public transport generates the perverse binomial of “weak regulator and strong corporations” which jeopardises the quality of services. I believe that helping disseminate principles of transport economics in public policy is my major contribution to change for the good.’


[1] Minas Gerais is the fourth largest state in Brazil, covering an area similar to the size of France, with a population of 21 million, making it Brazil’s second most populated state.

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