Associate Director, Policy - J-PAL Africa

J-PAL Africa
  • South Africa
  • Master's
Start Date (Earliest):
Length of Commitment:
More than two years

J-PAL Africa seeks a strategic, passionate individual to join our team as Associate Director of Policy.

The position will be based at J-PAL Africa, the Africa hub of J-PAL Global, which is located in the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) in the University of Cape Town, School of Economics.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) consists of a global network of academics who specialise in conducting randomised evaluations of social policies/programmes to generate scientific evidence about what works in the fight against poverty. J-PAL’s policy group analyses and disseminates research results and builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure that policy is driven by evidence, and effective programmes are scaled up.

This role provides an unparalleled opportunity to lead one of the most influential organizations in the evidence to policy space.

Requirements for the position:

  • NQF9 qualification (i.e., masters equivalent) in public policy, economics or related fields including graduate level courses in econometrics or statistics, microeconomics, and development economics
  • 5 years relevant work experience
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze rigorous quantitative research
  • Experience leading policy outreach including strategically identifying and mobilizing appropriate policymakers and developing and maintaining these relationships
  • Experience in identifying, designing, and supporting opportunities for scaling up effective programmes/ policies and using scientific evidence to inform policy decisions
  • Demonstrated leadership and programme management experience, including contributing to team strategy, hiring, and training staff
  • Experience organising, managing, and presenting at training/ dissemination events, including preparing high quality written materials and presentations
  • Proven ability to handle multiple diverse assignments at one time, successfully complete assigned tasks and meet deadlines while producing high-quality outputs
  • Experience managing grants, including budget management, proposal/ report writing and donor relationships
  • Willingness to travel extensively
  • Advanced writing and oral presentation skills in English and French, particularly the ability to communicate technical research to policymakers in a non-technical manner
  • Professional level of French, both in writing and oral skills
  • Strong skills in Ms Excel, Ms Word and Ms PowerPoint

Responsibilities include:

  • Setting the vision for the Policy & Communications team at J-PAL Africa, in collaboration with J-PAL Africa leadership and other Policy leaders at J-PAL Global and other Regional Offices
  • Identify and support opportunities for evidence-informed policy making and scaling up programmes in Sub- Saharan Africa:
  • Questioning and refining ways of working with governments and other partners to increase and improve the use of rigorous evidence in policymaking
  • Identifying and cultivating opportunities for evidence use, matchmaking policymakers with appropriate resources or technical assistance
  • Fundraising for pilot and scaling projects
  • Maintaining relationships with key actors in the evidence to policy space, and J-PAL’s researcher network working on the continent
  • Managing the Policy team to deliver on the strategy: recruit, train, onboard and manage for performance
  • Managing external relations and communications for J-PAL Africa overall, as well as Policy engagements (events and communication campaigns)

The annual cost of employment, including benefits, is between R906 943 and R1, 066,991 dependent on qualifications and experience.

How to Apply

To apply, please email the below documents in a single pdf file to Ms. Abigail Dixon at [email protected]

  • UCT Application Form (download at;
  • A letter of motivation clearly addressing your qualifications for the various responsibilities listed above
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Transcripts of your grade 12 certificate and university degrees. Note this is required even though it is not called for in the HR201. 

Please ensure the title and reference number are indicated in the subject line.

An application which does not comply with the above requirements will be regarded as incomplete. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and will be required to undergo competency assessments.

Telephone: 021 650 1673


Reference number:   E220218

Closing date: 8 July 2022

UCT is a designated employer and is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity, and redress in achieving its equity targets in accordance with the Employment Equity Plan of the University and its Employment Equity goals and targets. Preference will be given to candidates from the under-represented designated groups including candidates with disabilities.

UCT reserves the right not to appoint.