J-PAL North America Request for Proposals 


RFP | People | Evaluations

Application Documents

Proposals should be sent to NA_RFP@povertyactionlab.org before 5 PM EDT on Monday, September 14, 2015.

What do we fund?

J-PAL North America (J-PAL NA) supports randomized impact evaluations of innovative social programs and policies that can provide insights for learning which policies work best and why.

This request for proposals welcomes proposals from preselected invited researchers in any sector that contribute to J-PAL’s mission of reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by rigorous evidence. This could include randomized evaluations across a broad range of sectors including consumer finance, crime, education, environment, government efficiency, labor, employment and training, etc. with the exception of proposals related to health. J-PAL NA has a separate U.S. Health Care Delivery Initiative (HCDI), so we request that network members interested in health policy apply to the HCDI RFP.

J-PAL North America will fund randomized impact evaluations that can provide valuable insights for learning which policies in the region work best, and which are most cost effective in their goals.

Types of Proposals:

  1. Full Research Projects (typically $150,000 to $400,000): research projects at a mature level of development with method of randomization, power calculations, etc
  2. Pilot Studies (eligible for funding of $50,000 or less): studies with a clear research question where further testing and pilot testing could guide design and implementation; random assignment does not necessarily need to occur during a pilot study, but pilot must directly lead to a randomized evaluation
  3. Travel / Project Development Grants (up to $5,000): exploratory work to develop a randomized evaluation related to research themes of RFP and open to graduate students of invited researchers

Full definitions as well as complete details on the application requirements and selection process can be found in the above applications.


Proposals should be sent to NA_RFP@povertyactionlab.org before 5 PM EDT on Monday, September 14, 2015.

Note: Future rounds are expected to occur twice a year with deadlines in February and September

Off-Cycle Proposals:

For time-sensitive research projects, J-PAL North America also accepts off-cycle proposals. We encourage pilot studies and travel proposals facing time constraints to apply before the deadline. Decisions on these applications are typically made in about two weeks. The bar for approving full proposals off-cycle will be higher to ensure only the most time-senstive ones are submitted.

Who may apply?

For all proposals, the pool of eligible applicants includes J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL post-docs, and initiative members invited by J-PAL North America. For travel / project development grants, the pool of eligible applicants is extended to include graduate students who have a J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher on their thesis committee at their host university. All proposals may include collaborators outside of this network, but the principle investigator (PI) must be an eligible applicant.

Who will review applications?

The Review Board is composed of J-PAL North America’s Scientific Directors, Amy Finkelstein and Lawrence Katz, as well as a third J-PAL affiliate. Each proposal will be peer reviewed by one member of the Review Board and two researchers and/or policy experts not on the Review Board. The Review Board will meet to agree on final funding decisions.


Monday, September 14, 2015 – Proposal Submission Deadline

Week of November 2, 2015 – Fourth Found Results Announced

This RFP is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

For questions about this RFP, please email Graham Simpson, J-PAL NA Policy Associate, at gsimp@mit.edu.

For more details about J-PAL North America, including links to evaluations and publications, click here.