Spectrum - Volume 19 Issue 16 January 16, 1997 - Faculty members win honors in international competition

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Faculty members win honors in international competition

By Catherine Doss

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 16 - January 16, 1997

Two Virginia Tech faculty members have won first prize in an essay competition sponsored by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

George Norton and Jeffrey Alwang, both from the department of agricultural and applied economics, will share the $10,000 top prize.

"We were certainly honored by this recognition," Norton said. The two professors have collaborated on other projects and recently published a textbook that is used in higher-education classrooms across the country.

The competition sought practical approaches to measuring the benefits of policy-oriented agricultural social-science research, thus providing guidance for decision-makers responsible for allocating research dollars. Using examples of research projects from the Amazon and the Philippines that affected policy change, Norton and Alwang outlined a series of steps to identify the impacts of policy change and ways to determine if research was the reason for the change.

"It was a difficult essay topic because the effects of policy research are not something that can be easily measured," Norton said.

IFPRI received 59 submissions to the competition. A distinguished six-member external-review panel undertook several rounds of blind reviews of all the manuscripts. Second prize was awarded to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. An entry from George Mason University received the third-place prize.

Norton and Alwang will present their essay at an IFPRI-sponsored seminar in Washington, D.C., next spring.