J-PAL North America Request for Proposals

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 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 includes 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) that funds projects via the HCDI RFP.

J-PAL North America is also holding a special RFP for projects related to education technology (see below).

General RFP Application Documents - Last updated 11/27/2017

Education Technology RFP Application Documents - Last updated 12/8/2017

Proposals for both RFPs should be sent to [email protected] before 5 PM EST on Friday, February 16, 2018. For all proposals to the Education Technology RFP, please include "Ed-Tech" in the subject line.

Types of Proposals:

  1. Full Research Projects: Full research projects are typically awarded between $150,000 and $250,000. Researchers must propose a clear and well-developed research question including detailed randomization design and power calculations according to relevant minimum detectable effect sizes. 
  2. Pilot Studies: Pilot studies are eligible for funding of $50,000 or less. Researchers should seek to answer a particular research question; however, the design and implementation require further testing and piloting. Random assignment does not necessarily need to occur during a pilot study. Proposals should explain how the pilot will lead to a randomized evaluation in the future.
  3. Travel/Proposal Development Grants. Travel/proposal development grants are eligible for funding up to $5,000. These grants are to be used for early stage activities with the goal of launching a randomized evaluation in North America.  Application materials can be found here: Travel/Proposal Development Grant Application.

Future rounds are expected to occur twice a year with deadlines in February and September. 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-sensitive ones are submitted.


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

Review Board

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.


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


November 27, 2017 – RFP is issued 
February 16, 2018 – Proposal Submission Deadline
Week of April 16, 2018 – Awards Announced

Funded Evaluations

View a list of projects funded by J-PAL NA.


For questions about the NA General RFP, please email Emma Rackstraw, J-PAL NA General RFP Initiative Manager. 

For questions about the Education Technology RFP, please email Vincent Quan, J-PAL NA Education Sector Lead.