J-PAL North America, a research center within the Economics department at MIT, seeks a Senior Policy and Training Associate to join its team and contribute to its mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. J-PAL North America conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs. As a regional office of the global Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, J-PAL North America leverages research by affiliated professors from universities across the world to generate and disseminate rigorous evidence about which anti-poverty social policies work and why.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to address the complex causes and consequences of poverty. To advance our mission, J-PAL North America must draw on diverse experiences from our staff and affiliated researchers in order to ask better questions and identify better solutions. We are working to increase the limited representation of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in the economics profession. Our organization is implementing strategies to attract, develop, and advance a diverse staff and building a pipeline to increase diversity among economic researchers. We are committed to engaging in self-reflection, learning, and dialogue to nurture understanding across differences. Together, we will build an equitable, inclusive culture where everyone is respected, empowered, and heard. To learn more about our work and team culture, see our Join Our Team brochure or visit www.povertyactionlab.org/na.
As a member of the J-PAL North America team, you’ll be part of a Nobel-prize winning scientific movement that can transform US policy making. The Senior Policy and Training Associate works closely with both the Policy and Training teams. The Policy team translates insights from rigorous research to inform policy change, connects researchers with implementers to spur research on key questions related to poverty, synthesizes findings from research, conducts targeted policy outreach to share insights, and collaborates with partners to scale evidence-based approaches. The Training team creates resources and teaching materials, and delivers courses and trainings to promote the production and use of rigorous evidence. The Training team also leads the Economics Transformation Project, a pipeline project that aims to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in economics. As a Senior Policy and Training Associate, your primary tasks will involve stakeholder engagement, evaluation support, project and process management, policy writing and outreach, and capacity building.
For this position, we are looking for candidates with an understanding of impact evaluation, familiarity with economics and statistics, knowledge of social policy, public administration, and program implementation, excellent oral and written communication skills, attention to detail, strong project management skills, and who can take ownership of their work independently and collaborate effectively with other members of the team. We seek applicants from diverse backgrounds and especially encourage candidates with lived or direct experience with the social policy issues that J-PAL North America aims to address through its work.
We are seeking to expand the capacity of our team to work with Spanish-speaking populations, including the ability to deliver training programs in Spanish. For this position, Spanish language fluency is a plus.
Policy writing and outreach: Draft publications and presentations that summarize and synthesize the policy implications of key research results. Support the Policy team in identifying opportunities for informing policy development and strategically sharing evidence with policymakers, philanthropic partners, and other stakeholders. Provide guidance and assistance to practitioners working to scale up evidence-based programs.
Evaluation support: Support Manage processes related to collaborations with policymakers and practitioners to design randomized evaluations of innovative policies and programs. Explore policies and programs that might benefit from and be well-suited for rigorous evaluation. Share feasibility assessments and initial analyses with policymakers and researchers through in-person meetings, memos, and phone calls. Support partners in identifying their target population, defining eligibility criteria, refining their program’s theory of change, and identifying constraints and potential threats to the integrity of the study.
Stakeholder engagement: Build and maintain strong relationships with key partners in government, non-profits, foundations, and the private sector. Hold initial conversations with prospective partners to identify promising opportunities for randomized evaluations or evidence dissemination activities.
Process management: Manage Request for Proposal process, stakeholder interviews and research agenda development. Organize and attend convenings designed to bring policymakers, practitioners, and researchers together to spur new research collaborations or scale-up collaborations and share policy lessons from completed research. Draft reports to philanthropic funders and policymakers on the progress of evaluations and on lessons learned from program implementation. Maintain funding initiative records and track compliance in Salesforce.
Capacity building activities: Prepare original content and curate existing content for presentations, case studies, and knowledge products for different policy and research audiences. Present highly technical content and teach/facilitate discussions and small breakout sessions at events and conferences. Create guides, documents, and presentations that can serve as resources for policymakers and implementing partners who are beginning to work on randomized evaluations. Support training programs and workshops geared at policy audiences such as J-PAL’s annual course on Evaluating Social Programs.
Economics Transformation Project: Support the Economics Transformation Project (ETP) in building a more inclusive and diverse field of economics through capacity building workshops and partnership development across the field. Develop curriculum for high school, undergraduate and predoctoral researchers, and support the ETP manager with fundraising, strategic planning, events, and partnership development.