Director of Evidence to Scale (E2S) - J-PAL Global
- United States of America
J-PAL is a global research center working to reduce poverty and fight climate change by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 500 top researchers at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts innovative research and builds powerful partnerships to solve the world’s greatest challenges. J-PAL was launched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003 and its faculty directors are Nobel laureates and MIT professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, and Ben Olken. For more information visit povertyactionlab.org.
J-PAL values diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our work and the broader perspectives our staff bring. We encourage people of color, and other underrepresented groups to apply to this role. For more information on J-PAL’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion visit this webpage.
About the position:
This is one of most senior, exciting, and high-impact roles at J-PAL. The Director of Evidence to Scale (E2S) leads J-PAL’s vertical focused on catalyzing the adoption at scale of rigorous evidence to improve the lives of people living poverty. J-PAL has a demonstrated track record of translating evidence to action through several pathways. The Director will lead a lean and high-preforming team at J-PAL Global team that is tasked both with codifying learning across our network, improving how we do this work, and accelerating J-PAL’s portfolio for scaling and government partnerships for evidence use.
The Evidence to Scale Vertical supports the worldwide J-PAL community of colleagues and researchers to catalyze the adoption at scale of cost-effective policy and programs with greater intention, structure, effectiveness, and agility. We do this by strengthening organizational evidence to policy (E2P) strategy, systematizing organizational E2P learning, building strategic global partnerships, and providing thought partnership, tools, resources, capacity-building, and supporting J-PAL Regional Office colleagues on specific opportunities along the path to scale. We add value by responding to demand from the community and proactively identifying opportunities to support J-PAL teams collaboratively, cutting across sectors and regions.
The Director of Evidence to Scale leads one of J-PAL Global’s four verticals, is a member of the Global Strategy Group, and worldwide Leadership Team (comprised of Global Directors and Regional Office Executive Directors). The Director reports to the Global Deputy Executive Director and manages two E2S Senior Managers and E2S Senior Policy Associate as well as case study team based in the Policy and Communications vertical.
This highly preferred location for this full-time position is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the J-PAL Global office on the MIT Campus. The J-PAL office is open Monday through Friday, but our highly flexible work policy, J-Flex, allows for this role to be present in office as little as two days per week to coincide with the greatest staff presence. For highly exceptional candidates without the flexibility to move to Cambridge, we are open to considering a remote work arrangement.
A core part of the Director of Evidence to Scale’s work is to refine and deliver on vertical’s strategic priorities. These include:
- Strengthen J-PAL’s E2P strategy, frameworks, and governance: J-PAL has been renewing the organizational strategy on how to catalyze evidence use and adoption of evidence-based policies and programs at scale. The Director will refine the strategy and work with colleagues to develop frameworks to support J-PAL’s staff, researcher network, and partners in doing this work, while also improving governance around our engagement in evidence use and scale.
- Develop and mobilize tools and resources that support evidence use and scale: Create and mobilize existing, tools and resources to enable J-PAL colleagues and practitioner and policymaker partners to better use evidence.
- Provide technical assistance to specific high-potential evidence use and scale efforts: Provide targeted technical support or advice (ranging from light- to heavier-touch) to sector teams at Global, Regional Offices, and members of the J-PAL research network in supporting the use of evidence or scale of an evidence-based policy or program in a specific context.
- Build and coordinate strategic E2P partnerships with global organizations: Develop opportunities to build and coordinate E2P partnerships with highly strategic, cross-sectoral global organizations, such as bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, large international NGOs, and think tanks. This complements collaborations led by J-PAL Regional Offices at the country and regional levels.
- Provide, catalyze, and mobilize funding for E2P work at J-PAL and for the E2P community more broadly: The E2S vertical plays an important role in providing, catalyzing, and mobilizing funding for evidence use and scale, including through the Innovation in Government Initiative (IGI) which is managed by the vertical.
- Identify opportunities to infuse evidence use and scale lens into J-PAL’s work more broadly: This includes opportunities through our Global Policy and Communications and Research, Education, and Training verticals as well in collaboration with J-PAL Regional Office policy teams.
- Consolidate organizational learning and contribute to thought leadership in the broader E2P community: Consolidate our organizational learning on evidence use to both improve our own work based on lessons and share those learnings more broadly as well as learning from others in the community. This includes management of a new grant focused building state capacity in LAC, MENA, South Asia, and Southeast Asia to adopt evidence-based policies and programs at scale that has learning as a primary objective.
To make progress toward these strategic focus areas, the Director will have several important responsibilities:
- Vertical leadership and management: Leadership of the Evidence to Scale verticals including goalsetting, planning; performance management and coaching, and financial management.
- Partnership development: Both internal (across J-PAL offices, teams, research networks) and with policymakers and practitioners broadly defined
- Advising: Serve as a trusted advisor and thought partner to J-PAL regional offices, researchers in J-PAL’s research network, and J-PAL partners on adapting evidence-based interventions to new contexts, piloting and scaling evidence-based interventions, and designing new interventions with scalability in mind from the beginning.
- Learning and thought leadership: Facilitate organizational learning at J-PAL on evidence use and scale and contribute to the organization’s external thought leadership on these topics. Ensure J-PAL is learning from other actors focused on catalyzing the scale of evidence-based interventions
- Strategic communication: You will be a leading worldwide voice for J-PAL’s E2P and scaling portfolio
- Grant management: Anchor $8-10 million of funding for strategic E2P initiatives including IGI a new grant focused on learning from J-PAL’s approach to building state capacity in the Global South to adopt evidence-based policies and programs at scale.
- Donor engagement: Lead efforts to mobilize funding to support J-PAL’s E2S efforts, with philanthropies, bilateral and multilateral donors, and high net worth individuals. Share lessons from J-PAL’s E2S work with donors to inform their strategies and thinking.
Qualifications & Skills:
We are looking for someone with both a passion for and experience relevant to enabling others to use rigorous evidence to drive cost-effective improvements in the lives of the poor at scale.
- Education: You hold a Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, international development, international affairs, economics, or a related field and have demonstrated academic interest in rigorous evidence about poverty alleviation.
- Experience: You have at least 15 or more years of relevant and substantial work experience. This experience should include at least two years of experience working in a low- or middle-income country, applying rigorous evidence to program or policy design and implementation, and scaling one or more evidence-informed development intervention(s). Ideally, in this work, you have either worked for or with governments and collaborated with coalitions of organizations and people including researchers. You have experience getting things done even in contexts where you lack direct control and are adept at using advice, influence, and support to enable the work of others. Work experience connected to J-PAL’s niche in economics and evidence-informed policymaking is a big plus.
- Mindset and management: You are hypothesis-driven, thrive in navigating situations and workstreams with no ‘one right answer,’ adept at identifying and weighing trade-offs relating to time, funding, and other scarce resources, and able to juggle multiple projects simultaneously. You are passionate about international development policy and the rigorous research that informs it. You are self-motivated, work hard, and enjoy managing others.
- Skills: We have a strong preference that you have a solid grounding in economics, including econometrics and applied microeconomics. You are very comfortable using Google Workspace (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.) and learning computer applications that J-PAL staff more broadly need to use, including Salesforce. Experience using Slack to communicate across team and office silos and to communicate within distributed teams is a plus. Knowledge of French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, or other languages spoken in our regions of work is a plus.
- Communication: You are an exceptional communicator, able to communicate clearly in writing and orally with diverse audiences from around the world; writing experience and skills should cover policy briefs, fundraising proposals, and other program documents. Ideally, you are a skilled presenter, adept at using well-developed slides, when appropriate.
- Organization: You are a strategic thinker. You can handle managing multiple projects at once with little supervision, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time, as well as others’. You are a strong upward communicator and manager, proactively sharing updates, escalating concerns, and teeing up recommendations or decisions on which you need senior leadership engagement.
- Cultural competencies: You are comfortable and adept at working in a diverse and multicultural work environment, with colleagues, partners, and policymakers from around the world. You display sensitivity, adaptability, and inclusivity in your engagement with people from diverse backgrounds including age, ability, culture, gender, nationality, race and ethnicity, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and other identities. We appreciate candidates who have familiarity with concepts and frameworks such as racial equity or gender analyses.
- Attitude: You love learning. You thrive thinking in a cross-sectoral and cross-regional way. You stay up-to-date on the latest thinking on both the art and science of scaling social policies and programs and are motivated to bring the best of that thinking to J-PAL. You are self-motivated, work hard, and enjoy working in teams. You value and are comfortable receiving feedback, providing feedback, and supporting the growth and development of others.
- Travel: Ability and willingness to travel domestically and internationally up to 20 percent of time.
You will be part of J-PAL Global, with our head office at MIT in Cambridge, near Boston, MA. As a member of the MIT community, you benefit from more than just your salary. Total compensation packages are competitive for the non-profit and international development field with excellent MIT benefits, including comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match and pension-based retirement plan, tuition assistance, commuter benefits, MIT community discounts and a generous vacation policy. While the J-PAL office is open all 5 days of the week, our highly flexible work policy called J-Flex allows for this role to be present in office as little as two days per week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) to coincide with the greatest staff presence.
J-PAL invests in your professional development. As a senior manager, you will learn, engage, travel, and grow. Opportunities to take course at MIT, Harvard and other affiliates with
- Learn: J-PAL supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to take relevant courses weekly MIT–Harvard Development Seminars and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program.
- Engage: You will directly interact with many senior HR Professionals across the MIT campus and with Senior HR staff from J-PAL offices around the world.
- Travel: You will have the opportunity to travel to J-PAL’s regional offices as needed.
- Grow: Opportunities for promotion and career growth are based on excellent performance and MIT career benchmarking
How to Apply
Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Apply now. We are reviewing applications on a rolling basis.
All candidates must apply through the MIT human resources system. MIT does not sponsor visas for this position. Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the United States for a minimum of five years.
Please upload a single PDF document of the following components into the “Resume” field on the MIT portal.
● Cover letter (outlining why you are interested in J-PAL and this role, and why you are a good fit for this role)
Note: Incomplete applications will not be considered; please be sure to include the two components (cover letter and resume) in a single PDF in the “Resume” field on MIT’s human resources system.
MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.