Director for Behavioral Science
What does the Busara Center do?
Busara implements research for organizations around the world, ranging from qualitative in-depth studies to lab experiments to large-scale randomized control trials. In addition, Busara’s advisory arm works with governments, non-profit organizations and private sector enterprises on improving their policies and products: Through incorporating insights from behavioral economics, we help organizations understand decision-making and enable them and the people they serve to make better and more informed choices.
Busara is looking for an experienced leader in applied behavioral science, to be our new Director for Behavioral Science. At Busara, we use behavioral science to help alleviate poverty around the world: clear-eyed, rigorous analyses are essential to that process. We’re a non-profit organization headquartered in Kenya, with experience in over 600 projects over the last decade.
At Busara, everyone applies behavioral science in one form or another. However, this Director’s team has two specific responsibilities: to enable the rest of Busara to engage in high-quality work internally, and to develop and run innovative projects externally. Internally, the team enables Busarians through our ongoing internal training program, through tool development, and through active mentoring, guidance, and internal consulting.
Externally, we seek methodological innovation that benefits the field of applied behavioral science as a whole, as well as Busara. The team identifies specific innovative research concepts, then develops, fundraises, and executes on them. Current areas of innovation include combining systems analysis with behavioral science, and developing the blueprint for rigorous qualitative methods in behavioral science. You would either build on these areas, or chart your own course of innovation.
At Busara, we believe in using whatever tools can do the job: and understand that no approach or method is perfect. We weave together diverse methods into a unique model of applied behavioral science in international development: that means you’ll work with and supervise a range of experimentalists, econometricians, qualitative researchers and designers. We honor the expertise and depth that each tradition brings, and seek to bring out the best of each approach: to more deeply understand human behavior and our ability to enable positive behavior change.
What you’ll do
- Lead a team of behavioral researchers (quantitative and qualitative) to design and execute behavioral science projects across the Global South. This includes research design, field work, and data analysis techniques, and optimization. In short - do awesome behavioral science.
- Work with your team to develop and deliver internal training, workshops, and resources to enhance the skills and capabilities of Busarians. In other words – help others do awesome work.
- Identify and pursue specific areas where Busara, and your team, can advance the field of behavioral science: not in fine-turning the research on a specific cognitive mechanism, but in making our field more effective and thoughtful about ethical behavior change.
- Developing a research and partnership agenda that drives those innovative areas forward. Busara has a unique opportunity (in the breadth of projects across the world) and incentives (as a non-profit, social mission organization) to reimagine our field, but it’s nevertheless a challenging and complex process to do so.
- Build relationships throughout the field, to both raise funds for this agenda, and to partner with like-minded organizations.
- Think, write, and speak about new methods and approaches that Busara can benefit from. These could be existing methods in the field, or new ones that you develop at Busara.
- Create and improve standards and methods for research design, methodologies, and quality assurance throughout Busara. This includes Listen to and learn from the technical needs of fellow Busarians, to ensure that what your team offers serves these needs.
- Partner with other Directors and VPs to help them conceptualize, source and pursue opportunities for projects.
To do this well, you should have:
- Deep expertise in behavioral science: from experimental design, to qualitative field work, to design methodologies.
- A strong understanding of how these methods work in the field: with partial data, hard to reach populations, sensitive research topics, biased enumerators, etc.
- Enjoyment and expertise in applied behavioral science, including cognitive and experimental psychology and behavioral and experimental economics.
- Experience with the realities of behavioral field work: how to take academic knowledge into a practical process for designing interventions, when the environment can’t be controlled or fully understood.
- Extensive hand-on experience with qualitative research and design: with a detailed knowledge of the strength and limitations of various techniques, if not day to day execution experience.
- Management experience, especially of diverse teams and multiple geographies
- The knowledge and temperament to be an internal consultant: listening and responding to the technical needs of your colleagues and clients
- The desire to work and live in the Global South (if you’re from here, or have experience here that’s best)
- Excellent management and organizational skills; you and your team will need to effectively juggle a wide range of requests for help across the organization
- Fluent written and spoken English. Other languages are great too, but English is required.
- Ideally, sectoral expertise in a substantive area such as: health, financial services, gender, social inclusion, governance, agriculture.
Your formal background, frankly, doesn’t matter that much. We don’t evaluate what school you went to, who you know, or where you previously worked.
However, we’d learned that many applicants like to have a “benchmark” for the level of expertise that’s needed for a role. Here, it would be training equivalent of a Master’s degree in Behavioral Science, Behavioral Design, Economics, Social Sciences, Public Policy, or related fields (and ideally a PhD in these fields); and experience equivalent to 4+ years of applied data science & behavioral science work.
Formal training and work experience in similar organizations can certainly help you do the job. But what really matters is that you have the skills, the knowledge and the passion to lead this team: with strong quantitative insights for social good.
How to Apply