Horowitz Foundation awards grants to 25 scholars for social policy research

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June 30, 2021

June 23, 2021, New Brunswick, NJ—The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy has selected Maria-Elena Giner, Ph.D. candidate at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, as one of 25 scholars to receive grants for research in the social sciences for the 2020 award year.

"The 678 applications we received in 2020 represented a wide range of policy areas and approaches," said Chairman Mary Curtis Horowitz. "Given the events of the last year, the need for evidence-based policy is clearer than ever. Our Trustees were glad to be able to support this group of 25 young scholars pursuing innovative and urgent policy research."

"The 678 applications we received in 2020 represented a wide range of policy areas and approaches. Given the events of the last year, the need for evidence-based policy is clearer than ever. Our Trustees were glad to be able to support this group of 25 young scholars pursuing innovative and urgent policy research." —Mary Curtis Horowitz

Infrastructure is typically implemented to address a social need yet is not regularly evaluated to assess its performance against its original objectives. Giner's work assesses the impact of water and waste water infrastructure along the Texas-Mexico border, where in the last 25 years, local, state and federal agencies invested more than $1 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure. Her research applies a mixed-methods approach for measuring the results of first-time water and wastewater infrastructure on water-borne diseases for traditionally underserved neighborhoods called colonias in Texas.

Conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border may be similar to those of developing countries; thus, the results could serve as a model for other countries working toward increasing water and sanitation infrastructure and advancing pollution prevention policy. Giner's research findings will be published this fall.

"I am immensely thankful for this award and the recognition that evaluating the performance of municipal infrastructure in addressing water borne disease continues to be important and relevant for many countries working toward increasing access to water and sanitation," Giner said. "This research can serve as an example for other programs, provide lessons learned, and contribute to an emerging body of literature related to measuring the results of municipal infrastructure."

The $7,500 grant will support her continued research on public policy and municipal infrastructure, evidence-based policy-making that includes monitoring and evaluating programs and measuring results based on quantitative and qualitative methods.



"One constant of human civilization, from ancient to modern times, is investment for water supply, wastewater removal and drainage control infrastructure," said David Eaton, a natural resource policy professor at the LBJ School and faculty adviser to Giner. "While most people value life improvements brought by water infrastructure, it always has been difficult to quantify how human health and welfare improve from particular investments. Maria Elena Giner develops and tests both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess benefits of Texas's and the U.S.'s investment of over $1 billion in water supply, wastewater collection/treatment and drainage control in Texas colonias, neighborhoods developed initially without water infrastructure in Texas counties along the Mexico-Texas border. Both the analytical methods and the results are contributions to the evaluation of how infrastructure investment affects communities."

Learn more about the Ph.D. program at the LBJ School.


About the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy
Established in 1998, the Horowitz Foundation now approves approximately 25 grants each year. Awards are for $7,500; proposals in certain targeted areas receive additional amounts. In addition, the Irving Louis Horowitz Award is given to the overall most outstanding project proposal, and the Trustee's Award is given to the project proposal that is deemed most innovative in theory and/or methodology. Awards are granted for policy-related research in all major areas of the social sciences. Only doctoral students whose dissertation proposals have been approved by their committees are eligible to apply. Awards are approved solely on merit and are not allocated to ensure a representative base of disciplines. Research grants are open to researchers in all social science disciplines. Projects must deal with contemporary issues in the social sciences, particularly issues of policy relevance. Applicants need not be citizens of the United States, and grants are not restricted to U.S. residents. Applications for 2021 Awards The Foundation will begin accepting applications for 2021 awards later this month. The deadline for receipt of all materials for proposals for the year 2021 is Dec. 1, 2021. Incomplete applications will not be processed. Awards for 2021 will be announced in June 2022. Additional information, including a list of previous recipients, is available on the Horowitz Foundation website: www.horowitz-foundation.org. Follow the Horowitz Foundation on Twitter: @HorowitzFdn.


2020 Horowitz Foundation Award Winners

  • Danielle Adams—University of Chicago
  • Alex Albright—Harvard University
  • Matt Barno—University of California, Irvine
  • Adrita Barooah—University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Joseph Bruch—Harvard University
  • Carlos Alberto Echeverria-Estrada—Claremont Graduate University
  • Erica Linn Eliason—Columbia University
  • Magdalena Eitenberger—University of Vienna
  • Maria-Elena Giner—University of Texas at Austin
  • Kurt Hager—Tufts University
  • Jeehee Han, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Public Administration at Syracuse University's Maxwell School
  • Stephanie Holcomb—Rutgers University
  • Hyein Kang—University of Kentucky
  • Alexis Kennedy—University of Colorado, Denver
  • Eden Kinkaid—University of Arizona
  • Cesar B. Martinez-Alvarez—University of California, Los Angeles
  • Chika Okafor—Harvard University
  • Vedavati Patwardhan—University of Washington
  • Elizabeth Pfeffer—University of Oxford
  • Shriya Rangarajan—Cornell University
  • Shoshana Shapiro—University of Michigan
  • Hazal Erçin-Swearinger, a Ph.D. Candidate in the University of Washington's School of Social Work
  • Jonathan Tebes—Harvard University
  • Catherine Thomas—Stanford University
  • Kasey Zapatka—The Graduate Center, City University of New York


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