Research Associate, Intercultural and Bilingual Preschool Mathematics - IPA

Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
More than two years
Start Date 

The Ministry of Education of Panama (MINEDUCA), in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos (OEI) is implementing the pilot program: “Intercultural and Bilingual Preschool Mathematics.” This program, to be implemented in the Ngäbe Buglé region of Panama, aims to improve problem solving skills at an early age and to encourage the learning of mathematics through an innovative methodology using audio-programs and Intercultural approach.

The learning of mathematics is key to develop skills needed to face a fast-changing and complex world. In the context of Latin America, where learning if often constrain to memorization of history and facts (Loera et al 2013; Näslund-Hadley et al, 2014), this program is of special relevance from a policy perspective.

The Ngäbe Buglé is home to the country’s largest indigenous population, and the most impoverished region in the country. While the national poverty rate in Panama is 28%, the rate among the indigenous is 81%. Our sample will consist of 5,500 children distributed in 550 schools in the Ngäbe Buglé region. We will also survey the parents of all children interviewed as well as the pre-K teachers and principals in each of the 550 schools.

The Research Associate will work closely with academic researchers and other field staff to perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to: designing survey questionnaires and evaluation methodologies, validating survey instruments, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercise, refining study design and surveying instruments, managing survey teams, negotiating contracts with survey firms, checking and analyzing data, cleaning data and assisting in preliminary analysis, assisting in the writing of project reports and policy memos, and coordinating with key government and NGO partners.


  • Managing day-to-day research activities, from planning to implementation, and monitoring quality. This includes training, and supervising both field-based and data operations teams
  • Documenting all activities related to the project
  • Refining survey questionnaires and programming them on SurveyCTO
  • Supervising data collection and data-entry processes, and ensuring good quality of the data at both stages
  • Assisting in data cleaning and preliminary analysis and ensuring ready access to all data for faculty researchers and/or supervisors
  • Providing timely updates and responses to partner organizations, and participating in meetings with key stakeholders
  • Maintaining accurate records of interviews, safeguarding the confidentiality of subjects, as necessary
  • Preparing progress and results reports to PIs, research partners, and funding agencies, and sharing them timely
  • Monitoring project expenditures and timeline
  • Ensuring that all team members follow necessary protocols and procedures.
  • Manage critical high-level relationships with Local Government authorities
  • Participate in meetings with key stakeholders and present research findings


  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics, public policy, or other quantitative social science disciplines. A master's degree is a plus.
  • Quantitative Skills: Strong proficiency in Stata and SurveyCTO, and experience with data management, and data cleaning.
  • A minimum of 1-year of work experience is required. 
  • Experience managing field staff in developing countries.
  • Excellent management and organizational skills; ability to successfully complete assigned tasks and meet deadlines
  • Communication Skills: Attention to detail and advanced writing and presentation skills are required
  • Knowledge of Stata required.
  • Language: Spanish and English fluency required

How to Apply

Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Research Associate, Intercultural and Bilingual Preschool Mathematics”. Most applications for research positions require you to include at minimum two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts.

Note that you are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application.

Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Please see and contact [email protected] for more information.