Policy Manager (Evidence Use and Scale) - J-PAL Global

Organization:
J-PAL Global
Country:
  • United States of America
Education:
  • Master's
Start Date (Earliest):
Length of Commitment:
Three years or more

J-PAL is recruiting a Policy Manager (Evidence Use and Scale) with a focus on catalyzing evidence use by practitioners and policymakers to contribute to the organization’s mission of promoting evidence-informed policy.  The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (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 over 200 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. Evidence from randomized evaluations is changing how we understand and address problems related to poverty. Policymakers, practitioners, and funders worldwide are increasingly applying this learning to social policies and programs. Over 400 million people have been reached by programs that were scaled up after being evaluated by J-PAL affiliated researchers. Many more have benefitted from the several broader ways evidence can inform policy. 

The Policy & Communications Group of staff across J-PAL’s Global and seven Regional Offices plays a key role in translating evidence generated by J-PAL affiliates into actionable poverty alleviation policies around the world. Staff collaborate with J-PAL affiliates and partners to connect the dots between economics and policy and are passionate about working with organizations to inform anti-poverty practice and policy around the world. Policy staff do this by, for example, forging institutional partnerships with governments, providing technical support to implementers to help them understand and apply evidence to their programs and policies in a locally-grounded way, and supporting partners in piloting and planning for scale of promising evidence-based interventions.  

The Policy Manager (Evidence Use and Scale) will be the first role in the Global Policy and Communications Group focused entirely on catalyzing evidence use and therefore represents an exciting opportunity to shape the future of this work at J-PAL.  The position will be open to all international candidates with the possibility of remote work, but with a preference for candidates to be based in Cambridge, MA, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; or in one of J-PAL's Regional Offices in Africa (Cape Town, South Africa), Latin America & the Caribbean (Santiago, Chile), South Asia (Delhi, India), the Middle East and North Africa (Cairo, Egypt), Southeast Asia (Jakarta, Indonesia), or Europe (Paris, France). (TheSenior Advisor this role reports to is based in Washington, DC. If a Cambridge-based role is not feasible but a DC would be, please note in your cover letter.) This position is for two years with the possibility to extend.       

Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of the Policy Manager (Evidence Use and Scale) will center on enabling J-PAL and its research network to more effectively catalyze the adoption of promising evidence at scale by practitioners and policymakers.  

  • 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 affiliated researchers to more effectively connect with policymakers and practitioners. One specific existing tool this position will manage is J-PAL’s scale-focused funding competition, the Innovation in Government Initiative. 
  • Technical assistance: Provide more in-depth technical support to J-PAL Regional Offices and/or partners in applying a specific body of evidence in a specific context, depending on the Manager’s geographic, sector, etc. expertise, interests, and value-add. Partnerships: Support, develop, and, in some cases, lead partnerships with global organizations such as bilaterals, multilaterals, international NGOs, and think tanks to facilitate evidence use.
  • Fundraising: Support, develop, and, in some cases, lead efforts to mobilize resources to support J-PAL’s evidence use efforts, with philanthropies and bilateral and multilateral donors.
  • Organizational learning and thought leadership: Facilitate organizational learning at J-PAL on evidence use and contribute to the organization’s external thought leadership on evidence use. 
  • Because this is a first-of-its-kind role at J-PAL, the 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. This role will report into Anne Healy, Senior Advisor at J-PAL Global. The role will not have direct reports, though this could change over time and the Manager will supervise more junior staff on evidence use workstreams to which they are contributing.  

Qualifications

We are looking for someone with both a passion for and experience relevant to enabling others to use rigorous evidence to drive cost-effective, impact at scale.  

  • Education: You hold at least a Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, international development, economics, or another related field, and a demonstrated academic interest in rigorous evidence about poverty alleviation.Experience: You have five or more years of relevant and substantial work experience, including: at least two years of experience working in a low- or middle-income country and experience applying rigorous evidence to program or policy design and implementation.
  • Experience working with government(s) in low- and middle-income countries in some capacity and experience in on-the-ground “implementation science” (broadly defined) are a 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. 
  • Communication: You are detail-oriented and have advanced writing skills. You understand how to communicate policy lessons from technical academic research in ways that policymakers and practitioners understand. You are precise, clear, and creative.
  • 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 cultural, gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, nationality, and age sensitivity and adaptability.
  • Skills: You are comfortable working in or learning computer applications, including Google Suite, Salesforce, and Foundation Connect. Knowledge of French, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesia, or other languages spoken in our regions of work are a plus.     
  • Travel: Ability and willingness to travel 25-35% of the time (post-pandemic).  

Professional Development

The Policy & Communications Group invests in your professional development. As a 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.  

Benefits

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

Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Legally authorized to work in the country where you plan to be based? Apply now.

Submit a short application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit http://jobs.mit.edu/external, search for job ID 19327 (Policy Manager, Evidence Use and Scale - J-PAL Global) and complete an application. 

Please combine into one pdf and submit in the field marked, “Resume,” the following materials:     

  1. Cover letter (outlining why you are interested in J-PAL Global, why you are qualified for this role, and what location(s) you would be able and willing to be based in, in preferred order)
  2. Resume

Please note: applications that do not include these two materials will not be considered.

Transcripts from your most recent degree are preferred and not required.

We will begin to review applications on March 15. Applications received after this date will be considered on a rolling basis. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing and technical exercise. Finalists will be called for one or more virtual interviews. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we will not be able to follow up individually with all applicants. 

For applicants who successfully advance to the next stage, we will request references whom we can contact to learn more about you and your suitability for this role. 

Please note: This position is not eligible for visa sponsorship. Candidates must already be legally authorized to work in the country where they would like to be based.     

For more information about working at J-PAL, please visit this webpage.