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 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

Education Technology RFP

In recent years, policymakers and practitioners have made significant investments to improve learning outcomes through education technology. Despite these substantial investments, rigorous research on the relative effectiveness of technology-enabled learning remains scarce, leaving decision-makers to rely on anecdotal findings. J-PAL NA is running a special RFP for education-technology related pilot studies and full randomized evaluations. This could include studies across a range of topics in education technology including, but not limited to: access to education technology, online learning, personalized learning programs, technology-based behavioral interventions in education, etc. 

Crime and Violence Prevention RFP

With a renewed wave of political attention and practitioner innovation around criminal justice, there is a tremendous opportunity to learn about how to most effectively make our communities safer and support formerly incarcerated individuals to reduce the burden of our criminal justice system. J-PAL NA is running a special RFP for pilot studies and full randomized evaluations of programs that relate to crime and violence prevention or re-entry support as a primary or secondary policy goal. This could includes studies across range of topics including, but not limited: violence reduction, alternatives to incarceration, re-entry programs, bails, fines, and fees, etc.

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.

Application Documents

Proposals should be sent to [email protected] before 5 PM EST on Friday, June 30, 2017.

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
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-senstive ones are submitted.
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.

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.


Week of May 8, 2017 – RFP is issued 
Friday, June 30, 2017 – Proposal Submission Deadline
Week of August 21, 2017 – Eighth Round Results Announced


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


For questions about this RFP, please email Vincent Quan, J-PAL NA Policy Manager.