Evidence to Scale Manager

J-PAL Global
Start Date (Earliest):

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is seeking a full-time Evidence to Scale Manager to join the Evidence to Scale (E2S) vertical, working closely with J-PAL’s senior E2S leadership. You will bring exceptional experience directly scaling - or supporting others (such as governments) to scale - evidence-based social policies and programs in low- or middle-income country contexts. And you’ll be motivated to stay abreast of the latest thinking on both the art and science of scaling and embedded evidence partnerships with governments, to bring the best of that thinking to J-PAL, and to share what J-PAL is learning about scaling and systems change with the broader community. You’ll receive exceptional coaching from senior E2S leadership and have the opportunity to engage with J-PAL’s dynamic network of researchers, regional offices, and policymaker and practitioner partners around the world. 

About J-PAL

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 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 (MIT) in 2003 and is directed by Nobel laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, along with Ben Olken. It has over 500 research, policy, scale, training, and operations staff across Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. For more information visit, povertyactionlab.org

About the position

A critical driver of J-PAL’s scaling strategy are “Evidence to Policy” partnerships with innovative-minded governments seeks to use rigorous research to inform their social policies and programs. The J-PAL E2S vertical is managing a grant with our Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia regional offices to support and learn from J-PAL collaborations with governments in these contexts, with an aim to improve the lives of at least six million people affected by poverty by 2030. 

J-PAL Global’s recently-created Evidence to Scale (E2S) vertical plays a key role in supporting the J-PAL network and our partners in this process of translating rigorous evidence into policy and practice at scale. We are a lean team currently composed of J-PAL’s Global Deputy Executive Director, a Senior Evidence to Scale Manager, a Senior Evidence to Scale Associate. This role will be the fourth member of the team with an additional role to be added later in the year.

The deadline to apply to this role is July 9, 2023.

The Evidence to Scale Manager role represents an exciting opportunity to shape the future of this work at J-PAL. We are looking for candidates who can commit to the role for at least two years and ideally would be investing in J-PAL for the medium-to-long term.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions): 

The primary responsibilities of the Evidence to Scale Manager will center on supporting J-PAL regional offices, researchers in J-PAL’s research network, and J-PAL partners to more effectively catalyze the adoption of promising evidence at scale by practitioners and policymakers. This will involve: 

1) Strategy: Contribute to defining the strategy of the E2S vertical and the broader organizational E2S vision and strategy. 

2) Advising: Draw on your prior experience scaling evidence-based interventions to 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. 

3) Project management: This role will likely manage the $6 m Evidence to Policy Partnerships project referred to above, working closely with four J-PAL Regional Offices. While the work is led in the regions, the J-PAL E2S vertical and this role plays an integral role in capturing and communicating learning to improve J-PAL’s partnership model with governments. 

4) Tools and resources: Identify, develop, and manage tools and resources to enable J-PAL colleagues and practitioner and policymakers partners to better use evidence and to support our research network to more effectively connect with policymakers and practitioners. 

5) 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. 

6) Partnerships: Support, develop, and, in some cases, lead partnerships with global organizations around E2S-related topics and opportunities. 

7) Donor engagement: Support, develop, and, in some cases, 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. 

Because the Evidence to Scale vertical is a relatively new team, this role will be fluid and will evolve over time; we therefore seek candidates who are excited about, and able to operate effectively within, that fluid environment. 

Location: Our strong first preference is for (Senior) E2S Manager to be based in Cambridge, MA, at the J-PAL Global Office at MIT, for at least the first year. We are open to considering alternative locations only for exceptional candidates, with a strong preference for such candidates being able and willing to be based in one J-PAL’s seven Regional Offices around the world if Cambridge, MA is not possible. Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the country in which they are interested in being based.

Supervision Received: 

This role will report into and work closely with John Floretta, Global Deputy Executive Director. 

Supervision Exercised: 

The role will not have direct reports initially, though this is likely to change over time.

Qualifications & Skills 

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 5 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).

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: 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 15-25% of the time. 

Professional Development

The Evidence to Scale vertical invests in your professional development. As an E2S Manager, you will learn, engage, travel, and grow.

Learn: J-PAL supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly MIT–Harvard Development Seminars and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program. All J-PAL staff are also eligible to take the innovative online MITx MicroMasters credential in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP) free of charge.

Engage: Managers have the opportunity to work directly with J-PAL affiliates and directors by disseminating lessons learned to policymakers and practitioners. Managers also have the opportunity to TA or lecture at J-PAL’s capacity building sessions offered around the world.

Travel: Managers have the opportunity to present at J-PAL’s regional offices and attend and organize policy events worldwide. Managers may participate in a unique “Staff-to-Field” international experience supporting on-the-ground research or policy engagement. (Note: Travel may remain restricted for some period of your tenure due to Covid-19.)

Grow: Managers can expect to join a peer group eager to build institutional knowledge, focused on sharing and implementing best practices and lessons learned. In addition, managers receive one-on-one mentorship from senior J-PAL leadership and have the opportunity to work directly with affiliated professors and its extensive network of partners (e.g., Innovations for Poverty Action, Teaching at the Right Level Africa, YouthImpact). 


Staff based in the United States will be employed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Staff based in other countries will be employed by local institutions, whose benefits may vary.

As a member of the MIT community, you benefit from more than just your salary. J-PAL hires highly qualified staff and rewards them accordingly. Total compensation packages are competitive for the non-profit 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, a generous vacation policy, and more. We like working at MIT and think you will too.

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. 

How to Apply

Deadline to Apply: July 9, 2023

All candidates must apply through the MIT human resources system (details below).

MIT does not sponsor visas for this position

To apply, please submit a short application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit http://jobs.mit.edu/external, search for job ID 22794 and complete an application. 

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 Global and why you are qualified for this role) and Resume/CV

Note: Incomplete applications will not be considered; please be sure to include all three 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.

For more information about working at J-PAL, please visit this webpage or our FAQ page.