Job Opportunity for Research Manager at Poverty Action Lab

  • Anywhere

Website Poverty Action Lab

About the Organization: Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of 181 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.

Position:  J-PAL South Asia seeks a Research Manager to contribute to its mission of promoting evidence-informed policy with a focus on scaling up programs that have strong evidence of effectiveness. J-PAL South Asia has been working with several state governments in India to embed evidence-based solutions within existing Government systems to reach millions of households and individuals. Across these different partnerships, J-PAL South Asia has played a critical convening role followed by a knowledge and learning role that provides continued support to partners for the successful at-scale implementation of these solutions. 

This role will require the Research Manager to provide research input on one or more scale-ups. They will be expected to work mostly independently with minimal guidance from researchers involved in the original evaluation of the programme. The Research Manager will work closely with the Policy team at J-PAL South Asia as well as engage with implementation and government partners involved in scaling up the programme. While the focus of the portfolio will be scale-ups, the Research Manager may also manage one or more randomised evaluations in any one of J-PAL’s thematic areas. 

Job Framework: The Research Vertical at J-PAL South Asia delivers end to end management support to randomized evaluations designed and conducted by J-PAL researchers. This support includes personalized guidance in all phases of evaluations, including scoping, planning, data collection, implementation, data management and processing, and reporting. The vertical acts as a clearing house for information and has expertise in evaluation design, management and administration: to ensure that every aspect of an evaluation meets the highest quality standards. 

Research Managers are expected to solicit input from other professional staff and draw on the resources, especially the technical expertise, available within J-PAL. We see RMs as key drivers in improving functionality, knowledge and compliance across the vertical by leveraging standardized processes, in order to strengthen the research infrastructure. Towards this end, Research Managers work closely with the Senior Managers and Associate Director and Director, Research to drive and manage the growth and development of the Research Vertical, relating to all things evaluations, research advisory, data, compliance and organization. In the course of executing their roles and responsibilities, we expect Research Managers to build theoretical and applied knowledge around designing, implementing and running randomized evaluations, ethics and data and data methods, while also contributing to processes and practices within the organization.

Job Details:

Research management and support

·      Lend expertise to strategic planning and execution of project activities, while collaborating closely with affiliated researchers and J-PAL’s policy team, as relevant.

·      Collaborate with Principal Investigators (PIs) on the design and implementation of data collection plans, while providing deep local context and cultural sensitivity to the PIs. For scale ups this will largely be limited to process monitoring.

·  Ensure compliance with J-PAL’s research protocols across all project activities to maintain the integrity and the quality of research.

·. Prepare Institutional Review Board applications and modifications in close collaboration with the PIs.

·   Hire and onboard local team members for effective execution of research activities.

·   Designate roles and responsibilities for each project team member (including Finance Managers), manage project timelines. 

·   Provide guidance and oversight to ResearchAssociates on research activities as well as mentor direct reports on building technical and managerial competence and prioritize their learning and skill development.

·   Liaise with academics, officials, policymakers, donors, partner organizations as a project representative.

·   Manage all research-related communications with the government and implementation partners

·   Manage project timelines and keep all relevant

· Stakeholders, both internal and external, apprised of project progress  

·   Flag potential problems such as delays, changes to scope of work, overspending, data quality issues or threats to validity and recommend solutions.

·   Assist in preparing detailed budgets and work plans in coordination with finance team/PIs as well as the Policy team, where relevant.

·   Ensure systematic documentation on project history, progress, deviations and key decisions. 

·   Provide support on identifying funding opportunities, preparing research proposals, survey implementation and monitoring, data management, donor report writing, dissemination and policy outreach.

·   Maintain and expand current knowledge of the field of expertise of thematic areas for portfolio of projects, through continuous literature reviews and landscape analysis, and communicate new developments and resulting impact to team members.

·   Represent J-PAL in meetings and conferences.

·   Work closely with the senior management team within the research vertical to come up with a strategy to systematize research support on scale-ups. 

Contribution to the organization 

·   Contribute to creation of technical resources and public goods for internal learning as well as for an external audience. 

·   Proactively participate in cross-vertical organizational initiatives.

Cultural Requirements:

Position applies judgment to initial or escalated consultations and/or reviews and has an enhanced understanding of key requirements to deliver on J-PAL’s mission through practices, procedures and policies.

·      Leadership of local or virtual teams, demonstrating natural authority.

·      Ability to drive and adapt to change, particularly in the face of uncertainty.

·      Ability to be independent but collaborative when needed, innovative and adaptive (flexible and eager to learn).

·      Strong communication skills, as well as listening and interpretation skills

·      Ability to prioritize effectively and successfully handle multiple projects simultaneously

·      Ability to reference existing practices, policies and stakeholders, and their knowledge and experience to review unique and complex situations and, through specific consultation, to propose solutions to issues.


·       Masters in development economics or a field related to international economic development.

·       At least three years of project management experience.

·       Extensive experience conducting social science or economic field research or experience conducting field research in developing countries required (India preferred).

·       Background in randomized control trials is strongly preferred.

·       Extensive experience supervising data collection, teams of field workers, survey design and implementation, and data management.

·       Experience with data management and econometrics. Advanced knowledge of Stata (strongly preferred) and/or any statistical package is preferred, as well as data collection software such as Survey CTO.

·       Strong quantitative, analytical and financial management skills required.

·       Experience interacting with partners, government officials and other key stakeholders in a developing country context.

·       Experience with presenting research findings at public forums, including to non-research focused audiences is preferred.

·       Strong attention to detail, with a quality-focused mindset.

·       Ability to work independently and problem-solve, as well as enlist the support of other teams within the organization.

·       Strong written and oral communication skills and complete fluency in English is required.

·       Demonstrated experience in writing project proposals and/or grants, preferably for international field research.

How to Apply

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