Policy and Communications Associate - J-PAL North America

United States
Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
More than two years
Start Date 

J-PAL North America, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), seeks to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. We do this by conducting randomized evaluations, sharing policy lessons, and building evaluation capacity. Our work spans a wide range of sectors including health care, housing, criminal justice, education, and economic mobility. We leverage research by affiliated professors from universities across the continent and a full-time staff of researchers, policy experts, and administrative professionals to generate and disseminate rigorous evidence about which anti-poverty social policies work and why.

The Policy and Communications Associate will support J-PAL North America‘s ongoing partnerships with governments, non-profits, and media to translate research into action. As a Policy and Communications Associate, your primary responsibilities will involve translating academic research for policy and practitioner audiences, identifying policy windows to highlight J-PAL North America’s research, following media coverage and cultivating relationships with media, generating social media, and providing communications support for J-PAL North America events. Candidates should have a passion for poverty alleviation, a demonstrated ability to accurately interpret research, and an understanding of how to advance evidence-informed policymaking by effectively communicating research.

We seek applicants from diverse backgrounds and welcome candidates with experience working in economics and public policy in the United States or abroad.


Stakeholder Engagement (30%):

  • Identify policymakers and other stakeholders who would be interested in partnering on new research or learning the results of completed studies.
  • Organize and attend convenings designed to bring policymakers, practitioners, and researchers together to spur new research collaborations and share policy lessons from completed research.

Policy Synthesis (35%):

  • Write and edit printed publications, presentations, and multimedia content that synthesize and

highlight the policy implications of key Economics research results.

  • Support the policy group in sharing evidence with policymakers and other stakeholders.
  • Create and share a variety of content through J-PAL’s blog, Twitter feed, and Facebook account that summarizes and highlights the results and policy implications of research conducted by our academic affiliates, as well as other important news and announcements.

Policy Outreach (35%):

  • Draft press releases and disseminate research results and other news by interpreting findings from new Economics research studies. 
  • Follow media coverage of social policy and identify relevant press contacts.
  • Arrange and coordinate media interviews and speaking engagements for senior leadership, working with J-PAL North America’s leadership to increase the visibility and brand of J-PAL North America broadly.
  • Participate in social media conversations on relevant topics. Analyze, report, and respond to social media, traditional media, and website activity and trends.

Professional Development

Learn: The Policy Group supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly seminars, engage in small-group discussions with other J-PAL staff, and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program.

Engage:  The Policy Associate will have the opportunity to work with J-PAL affiliates and directors, as well as interact with policymakers and practitioners. As member of the Policy Group, the Policy Associate will help in recruiting, organizing training events, and helping to teach J-PAL’s capacity building courses.

Travel:  The Policy Associate may travel to provide in-person support to selected partner organizations. The Policy Associate may also have the opportunity to travel internationally to present at J-PAL’s regional offices or attend conferences and external meetings relevant to J-PAL’s work.

Grow: J-PAL actively focuses on the professional development of its employees and constantly looks to improve the skills and knowledge of staff at all levels.


Total compensation packages are competitive for the non-profit and government fields 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. 


Education: You hold  a bachelor’s (or a master’s degree) in economics, communications, journalism, public policy, or a closely related field. Excellent writing skills are required.   

Experience: This is an entry-level position requiring 0-4 years of relevant work experience. Policy and Communications Associates range from recent or soon-to-be graduates with related internships, to people with previous experience in research and/or policy work, to recent masters students with just a couple of years of work experience.

Communication: You are detail-oriented and have advanced writing skills. You understand how to communicate technical information to non-technical audiences.

Organization: You are a strategic thinker. You can handle multiple projects at once, push forward multiple external stakeholders, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time.

Attitude: You are passionate about policy and the rigorous research that informs it. You are self-motivated, work hard, and enjoy working in teams.

How to Apply

Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Apply now.

This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship.

  1. Submit a short application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit http://jobs.mit.edu/external, search for job ID 15657 (Policy and Communications Associate - J-PAL North America), and complete an application. Please include both your cover letter (outlining why you are interested in J-PAL North America and why you are qualified for this role) and resume in this portal.

We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis as we receive them. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing and technical exercise. Finalists will be called for an in-person interview.