Director/Associate Director of Research - J-PAL MENA

  • Egypt
  • Master's
Start Date (Earliest):
Language Requirement:
  • Arabic
  • English
Length of Commitment:

Start Date: ASAP

About AUC

Founded in 1919, AUC moved to a new 260-acre state-of-the-art campus in New Cairo in 2008. The university also operates in its historic downtown facilities, offering cultural events, graduate classes, and continuing education. Student housing is available in New Cairo. Among the premier universities in the region, AUC is Middle States accredited; its engineering programs are accredited by ABET, its chemistry program is accredited by the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the School of Business is accredited by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS, and the Master of Public Administration and the Master of Public Policy programs of GAPP are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and administration (NASPAA). The AUC libraries contain the largest English-language research collection in the region and are an active and integral part of the university's pursuit of excellence in all academic and scholarly programs. AUC is an English-medium institution; eighty-five percent of the students are Egyptian and the rest include students from nearly ninety countries, principally from the Middle East, Africa and North America. Faculty salary and rank are based on qualifications and professional experience. According to AUC policies and procedures, all faculty are entitled to generous benefits. 


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab’s Middle East and North Africa regional office is based at The American University in Cairo School of Business. J-PAL is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 200 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL draws on results from randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL builds partnerships with governments, NGOs, donors, and others to share this knowledge, scale up effective programs, and advance evidence-informed decision-making. J-PAL was launched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003. J-PAL MENA at AUC was launched in 2020; in addition to J-PAL MENA at AUC, J-PAL has six other regional centers in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. J-PAL MENA at AUC’s main activities include: 

Research: At J-PAL, we believe investing in rigorous research is essential to finding solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Working with implementing partners and other academic collaborators, J-PAL’s affiliated professors conduct randomized impact evaluations to test and improve the effectiveness of social programs.

Policy: J-PAL translates research into action, promoting a culture of evidence-informed policymaking around the world. Our policy analysis and outreach help governments, NGOs, donors, and the private sector apply evidence from randomized evaluations to their work, and contributes to public discourse around some of the most pressing questions in social policy and international development. 

Education and Training: With a focus on learning and innovation, J-PAL works to build the capacity of researchers who produce evidence, policymakers and donors who use it, and advocates of evidence-informed policy. We create university-level open online courses and deliver in-person training programs around the world that help people become better producers and users of scientific evidence. 

Job Description

J-PAL MENA at AUC is accepting applications for a Director or Associate Director of Research (commensurate with experience) who would also serve as a Research Professor (at the level of Assistant/Associate/Professor) at AUC. In addition to overseeing J-PAL MENA’s large and growing portfolio of randomized controlled trials in Egypt and across the region, leading a team of talented research staff, the successful candidate will be a faculty member of AUC School of Business and will teach one course per year.

The Director of Research will be responsible for expanding the quality, efficiency, size, and policy-relevance of J-PAL MENA’s research portfolio in Egypt and across the MENA region. This will require an adept Director who is able to build, advise on technical and operational dimensions of research, and manage integrated teams of research managers and associates as well as field research operations professionals; identify promising opportunities to launch new research projects with governments and NGOs in MENA; build relationships with a broader set of J-PAL affiliated professors and MENA-based researchers, demonstrating the research implementation capacity J-PAL MENA offers them; strengthen research operations across Egypt and expand research operations capacity into other countries in MENA; and build and maintain funding relationships with regional and international donors to support J-PAL MENA research initiatives.  

The Director of Research is a member of the J-PAL MENA Senior Management Team, helping to set and execute on J-PAL MENA at AUC strategy, playing an important role in day-to-day management of research and research operations, and expanding J-PAL MENA at AUC’s operational and funding capacity to implement high-quality research across the region. The Director of Research reports to the Executive Director and works closely with the Scientific Directors for MENA on research strategy and finances. The Director of Research also coordinates with the management and Scientific Directors of J-PAL MENA, the J-PAL Global office at MIT, and with other J-PAL regional offices and research partners on research projects and survey, data operations and management. This position is part of the worldwide J-PAL Senior Management Team. The Director of Research manages a team of Research Managers and Associates and Research Operations Managers, Associates, and Field Coordinators.


  • Strategy: Play a critical role in refining J-PAL MENA strategy, responsible for delivering on strategic goals related to research and regional research and operational expansion. Be an integral part of the J-PAL Senior Management Team and play a key role in contributing to the long term planning and decisions of the center. 
  • Research Project and Portfolio Management: Oversee the implementation of a broad and growing portfolio of impact evaluations implemented in Egypt by J-PAL MENA. Lead a 10-plus member and growing team of Research Associates, Research Operations, Managers, and Field Coordinators. Manage and support RMs in setting up and executing research projects. Support RMs who lead relationships with J-PAL affiliated professors, and foster relationships with researchers new to working in the region. Provide support on an ongoing basis with existing affiliates and co-PIs on their projects and troubleshoot project challenges. Negotiate Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and agreements with implementation partners. Represent J-PAL MENA with key research partners in government, NGOs, or private sector, and anchor high-profile research partnerships.
  • Lead Research and Research Operations teams: The Director of Research will be responsible for managing and continuing to build out the Research and Research Operations vertical team which leverages J-PAL regional office models. By making strategic new hires and supporting the training and mentoring of existing staff, the Director of Research will be responsible for building a team in which each project is managed by a Research Associate (RA); RAs to be supervised by Research Managers (RMs) who work across multiple projects. The Director of Research will supervise all RMs and is ultimately responsible for the functioning and execution of all projects at J-PAL MENA. The Director of Research works closely with J-PAL affiliated professors across projects to troubleshoot, assist and advise them in their decision making.  
  • New Research Project Development: Working in conjunction with the Policy team, identify and cultivate potential implementing partners who are operationally and logistically open to impact evaluation; once researcher-implementer matches are made, support technical research design discussions and leverage research vertical staff to do the same.  
  • Research Systems Strengthening and Innovation: Streamline processes and systems for data collection and management across research projects in coordination with the Research Operations managers. Work with senior research staff to co-manage, maintain, and enhance the support provided by the Research and Research Operations teams to the projects. Design and lead innovative pilot programs to improve systems, software, and efficiency on projects. 
  • Fundraising and Donor Relationships for Research Projects, MENA Research Initiatives, and Core: As part of the Senior Management Team, contribute to efforts to raise major funding for a MENA Research Initiative, and/or for core funding. This includes donor prospecting, proposal drafting, relationship cultivation, and stewardship. Represent J-PAL MENA in meetings with donors and cultivate relationships with existing and prospective funders. Ensure all projects in the J-PAL MENA research portfolio are fully funded and support PI teams to fundraise for their projects.  
  • External Communications: In partner and donor meetings, represent J-PAL together with other members of the Research team. As needed, represent J-PAL MENA at AUC and evidence-based policy more broadly in external settings.  
  • Regional Expansion across MENA: In 2022 and beyond, develop J-PAL MENA’s research management offerings in a small number of strategic countries in the region to facilitate J-PAL affiliates increasing research efforts across the region. Work closely with Finance & Operations vertical on this.
  • Budgets, HR Planning, and Personnel Management on Research Projects: In coordination with the Finance & Operations vertical, effectively plan, manage and implement project budgets for the entire portfolio of impact evaluations at J-PAL MENA. Streamline project funding matters and systems for proposal writing and donor reporting. Supervise all RMs and RAs, and oversee their hiring and onboarding in close coordination with Finance & Operations vertical. Provide ongoing mentoring as required for professional growth of RMs. Plan and execute necessary training for research staff to enhance their research skills. Coach Research staff to support their professional development at J-PAL MENA.
  • Coordination: Coordinate to ensure adoption of research best practices from across J-PAL regional offices and Global Research vertical. Ensure compliance and smooth operations with AUC on all research operations and funding, in collaboration with Finance & Operations vertical and relevant AUC offices.
  • Teaching: Teach one course per academic year in the AUC School of Business. 


The position requires significant training in economics at the PhD level or masters level as well as extensive prior professional experience working in international development and/or government, management of teams and projects, and broad experience in policy design, implementation, and evaluation, including expertise in designing and implementing randomized controlled trials. 

  • Applicants should have a PhD in the field of Economics, Public Policy, or a related field; Master’s degree with extensive experience will also be considered
  • 10+ years of relevant work experience including work related to poverty reduction, impact evaluations, and evidence-informed policymaking
  • Experience with field research, especially management of randomized evaluations and knowledge of empirical methods is critical. Experience with field research operations and approvals in Egypt strongly preferred. 
  • Prior experience working with J-PAL or similar organizations preferred.
  • Experience managing teams and experience with partner and donor relationship management
  • University-level teaching experience preferred
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; able to communicate and engage in discussions with a diverse audience (Principal Investigators, Research Managers, Implementation Partners in government and non-governmental organizations, donors, etc) 

How to Apply

Application Instructions

All applicants must submit the following documents online via the AUC website below:    

  1. Cover letter    
  2. Current resume    
  3. Sample of current research    
  4. Completed AUC Personnel Information Form (PIF); and,    
  5. Three names of reference to [email protected] and [email protected] with the subject line BUS/JPAL Research/2021. URL: Additional Information

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled.