Finance and Operations Associate Director - J-PAL LAC

  • Chile
Start Date (Earliest):
Start Date (Latest):

About J-PAL

J-PAL LAC is a non-profit research center that aims to reduce global poverty by generating rigorous scientific evidence on which social programs and policies can make a real difference in people's lives. Formed by a network of more than 750 academics worldwide, J-PAL measures the impact of programs with randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and uses these results to influence the design of public policies. The J-PAL network has conducted over 1,700 evaluations in over 90 countries, organized in 12 sectors. In Latin America, we currently count on 174 studies. As of 2024, J-PAL LAC is supporting 22 evaluations in 5 countries.


J-PAL organizes its work into three main areas:

  • Research: We partner with donors to create initiatives that fund research. We also implement RCT from data collection to data analysis.
  • Public policy: we summarize the results of the investigation, create alliances, and provide technical assistance to governments.
  • Training: We lead the executive training and develop a rigorous online education to build regional knowledge.

The local grounding of J-PAL is essential for its success. The seven regional J-PAL offices are located at leading universities on five continents. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, J-PAL LAC is headquartered at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC Chile). J-PAL LAC also has a Memorandum of Understanding with Insper for work in Brazil, the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) for work in Central America, and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) for work in Mexico.


In 2019, J-PAL founders Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee won the Nobel Prize in Economics "for their experimental approach to alleviating poverty."


Our Office

J-PAL LAC is based at UC Chile in Santiago, where most of our staff is located. We also have a team in São Paulo, based at Insper, and project staff in several LAC countries. Our team comprises about 14 permanent staff members and 20 staff hired for specific projects, typically on shorter-term contracts. We are currently running 22 research projects in 5 LAC countries. 


We strive for a collegiate, horizontal, and amicable culture where peers can learn from each other and are not afraid to innovate. The office is led by Executive Director Paula Pedro, originally from Brazil, and Deputy Executive Director Claudia Macías, originally from Mexico. Paula leads the office’s overall strategy and fundraising and has a more external-facing role. Claudia oversees our operations and develops strategic partnerships, especially with Governments. 


Our commitment to diversity and inclusion

Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to address poverty's complex causes and consequences. To advance our mission, J-PAL LAC must draw on diverse experiences from our staff and affiliated researchers to ask better questions and identify better solutions. We are working to increase the limited representation of individuals from underrepresented economic backgrounds. We are committed to self-reflection, learning, and dialogue to nurture understanding across differences. Together, we will build an equitable, inclusive culture where everyone is respected, empowered, and heard.


About the team you would be working with:

The Finance and Operations (F&O) team at J-PAL LAC oversees a range of critical functions, including finances, human resources, office culture, legal and compliance matters, project operations and payments, as well as general administration. It is paramount for the team to maintain transparent, fluid, and positive relationships with our host and partner universities, namely UC Chile, Insper (Brazil), and Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG).


Comprising the Associate Director (AD) and three additional staff members, the F&O team is structured to efficiently manage these diverse responsibilities. A Manager stationed at UC Chile takes charge of finances, compliance, budgeting, and process controls, while two administrative associates stationed in Chile and in São Paulo support various operational tasks. Currently, we are in the process of recruiting a fifth member to serve as an administrative associate in Guatemala at UVG.


As Finance and Operations AD you will be also in charge of Research Operations. Therefore you will coordinate directly with the research team. The research team plays a pivotal role in facilitating the implementation of projects led by researchers within the network. Responsibilities encompass ensuring that randomized evaluations are not only feasible but also executed with precision, meeting the highest standards of quality at every stage. Additionally, the research team fosters robust relationships with Principal Investigators (PIs) and diverse research partners, skillfully balancing the interests of various stakeholders involved in the evaluations. 


Furthermore, the Finance and Operations team closely collaborate with our Global office at MIT and partner with other regional offices to ensure cohesive operations. As our presence expands in Brazil and Guatemala, along with a significant increase in projects and initiatives, the research, operations, and finance teams are tasked with continually refining internal processes to sustain our operations and uphold the high-quality standards synonymous with J-PAL.


Summary of the Role:

The Associate Director (AD) of Finance, and Operations is a position based at UC Chile. You will report directly to the Executive Director (ED) and collaborate closely with the Deputy Executive Director (DED) on project support. We are looking for someone who believes in our mission, shares our vision for the office, and constantly and proactively looks for ways to improve our work. 


The general purpose and mission of the role is to maintain financial control of the office and its sustainability, reporting to ED and Global. Ensure compliance with research protocols and all operational, administrative, legal, and HR processes for the proper functioning of the office and all projects and initiatives. Maintain and work to make J-PAL a comfortable place to work, equitable in both benefits and salary. 

Responsibilities include but are not limited to

  • Create, elaborate, and coordinate all processes related to project operations and payments to ensure all contracts and payments are fulfilled accurately and on time, upholding compliance with signed agreements and thereby supporting project efficiency.
  • Coordinate with various stakeholders at partner universities to implement J-PAL processes and consider each university's specific guidelines, rules, and procedures to ensure the correct fulfillment of operational processes across our diverse locations.
  • Oversee research operations, making sure that projects comply with financial and research minimum must dos, and best practices. 
  • Define and implement streamlined processes and robust structures to effectively execute Requests for Proposals (RfPs) for LAC initiatives. 
  • Implement an effective HR system by identifying needs, developing guidelines, clearly communicating policies to staff, and facilitating open feedback channels to promote transparency and equity. 
  • Cultivate positive working relationships with Legal Departments at host and partner universities to ensure the smooth progress of legal performance to foster good relations with university legal departments.
  • Recognize the essential aspects of knowledge management (KM), outlining specific needs and crafting robust protocols to facilitate efficient systems. Communicate these guidelines with clarity, ensuring all stakeholders understand and adhere to them diligently. Uphold stringent standards to safeguard, document, and streamline processes, information repositories, and data, fostering secure and well-managed operations.
  • Formally report and convene with the J-PAL Global office to provide updates on HR matters, employee retention strategies, salary ranges, and others.
  • Engage in discussions with other J-PAL regional offices to share experiences and insights of the LAC region, contributing to cross-regional learning and collaboration, while keeping the J-PAL Global office informed. 
  • Report our finances to the J-PAL Global team, host universities, and donors to maintain transparent communication and keep stakeholders informed about our financial status.
  • Collaborate with Executive Direction to plan in advance to guarantee sustainable growth of the J-PAL LAC office. 



Education: A bachelor's degree is required. A Master's degree in related fields of finance, administration, or human resources will be a considerable plus.


Languages: This job is based in Chile, so full proficiency in Spanish is a must. Advanced English is needed as you also interact frequently with the Global and other regional teams, and intermediate Portuguese will be highly valued since part of the team is in Brazil. 


Experience: At least eight years of hands-on professional experience in effectively executing finance and operations-related responsibilities. 


Work style: We expect you to be proactive, chase solutions, and serve as a strategic partner to Executive Direction. We also expect you to be a respectful and generous leader to your team.  


Technical Skills:

  • Word: Advanced
  • Excel: Advanced
  • PowerPoint: Intermediate to advanced
  • Statistical Packages (STATA, R, and SQL): Not required
  • Familiarity with impact evaluation techniques is important. If you do not have it already, it will be required for you to become acquainted during your time at J-PAL. 
  • Other: Familiarity with knowledge management tools will be highly valued

Work permissions:

This position is open to citizens or foreigners with visas and/or valid work permits in Chile at the time of applying for this vacancy.



Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC), Campus San Joaquin

How to Apply

How to Apply:

What to expect from this application process?

As our team is mainly made up of people from outside Chile, questions in English can be asked during the interview process. If you are uncomfortable responding to them in English, please speak Spanish. We understand that most people in the region do not speak English, and we will consider your personal history. 

If you are interested, please follow these steps:

Please fill out this application form. You will be asked to answer relevant questions and upload a CV and a short motivation letter (both in one single PDF). You can send your materials either in English or Spanish.

  • What is expected from your cover letter: Write a one-page cover letter in the most comfortable language, clearly stating your qualifications for the various responsibilities and the reasons for your interest in J-PAL. Please share aspects of your life that might be challenging to spot on your CV but might make you a good candidate!
  • What is expected from your CV: Ideally, in 1-2 pages, in the language you are most comfortable with.
  • Given the volume of applications received, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Steps expected for shortlisted and final candidates

  • Screening interview - culture fit and alignment of mission: yes
  • Test: no
  • Round of interviews: yes
  • Final Interview: yes

Feedback could be provided only to finalist candidates.

We want to get to know you as a professional and human being, and we also want you to succeed. At each step, you will receive all the necessary materials and information. We might also ask for additional information or additional interviews. If so, you will be informed as soon as possible to respect your time. 

The process exists because we believe that, in an unequal region like ours, only some people have the same chances, and, often, more than CVs are needed to demonstrate talent and motivation. In addition, it is an opportunity for you to understand our work well. These two ingredients are the secret to a successful partnership.

The team is also happy to accommodate your needs to ensure you feel at ease during the process. Just ask us!