Research Coordinator, Global Poverty Research Lab - Northwestern University

Northwestern University
  • United States of America
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Other advanced degree
Start Date (Earliest):
Language Requirement:
  • English
Length of Commitment:

Who we are (focus of the lab’s work):

At the Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL)—a research center based at Northwestern University—we generate empirical evidence on the effectiveness of policies and programs to help people throughout the world improve their standard of living. Our projects examine the interaction between poverty and topics such as finance, entrepreneurship, education, gender, agriculture, health, and the environment.

GPRL’s research primarily involves designing, monitoring, and analyzing data from multi-faceted randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We test whether interventions and programs such as crop insurance, job training, and cognitive behavioral therapy can improve the well-being of people in the developing world, and what are the most cost-effective ways of implementing them. We conduct or support dozens of RCTs in more than 10 countries in the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, China, and Southeast Asia.

We believe we can produce more and better research by creating a common infrastructure whether geographic or sectoral, upon which to then engage in research and policy work. Geographic research clusters in Ghana and the Philippines collect long-term panel data on economic and social outcomes. Our researchers also work to improve research methodologies for using survey data, machine learning, and meta-analysis in the context of international development. For this purpose, the research methods initiative, in collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action, supports systematic studies into how to improve the methods and measurement of key outcomes in global poverty research.

Our Team (Co-Directors, PIs, and team setup)

GPRL is co-directed by Dean Karlan and Christopher Udry, who are professors at the Kellogg School of Management and the Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences’ economics department at Northwestern University respectively. Professor Karlan studies the microeconomic factors affecting poverty, such as income generation, household and entrepreneurial finance, and health behavior. Professor Udry focuses on rural economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa, including technological change, risk and financial markets, gender, and psychological well-being. Our 21 staff, including research managers and 12 research analysts, support our co-directors’ projects and work closely with GPRL’s many affiliated professors, as well as their coauthors at universities, NGOs, and research institutions around the world.

Job Summary:

GPRL is looking to hire a full-time Research Coordinator to support randomized evaluations, build technical capacity and institutional resources, and support the management of a team of research analysts. This position offers an opportunity to work with Principal Investigators and Research Managers to do innovative research in the field of Development Economics and to create institutional knowledge to improve research quality.

The Research Coordinator will perform a variety of tasks including (but not limited to):

Project Support:

  • Work with Research Managers to coordinate project activities, which will include supervising and conducting data analysis, project management, ensuring adherence to project timelines, etc.
  • Working with Research Managers and IPA staff to ensure compliance with data quality protocols during analysis and data publication phases, and to roll out resources.

Resource development:

  • Setting up or supervising systems for incorporating data quality checks and proper data management in multiple projects.
  • Developing technical resources on a range of topics (statistics and econometrics, methods for data analysis, research methods, coding and programing).

Management support and capacity building:

  • Support Research Managers in the day-to-day management of Research Analysts. This includes hiring, onboarding, assigning work, coordinating code reviews, troubleshooting support, etc.
  • Identifying technical training opportunities for research staff.

The Research Coordinator will work in an open, collaborative environment with other GPRL staff in our common lab space at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (Chicago area). The position offers the opportunity to interact with economics undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty at Northwestern. The Research Coordinator will be a full-time employee of Northwestern University with full benefits (including the ability to take classes at a highly-subsidized tuition rate). 

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in economics , public policy, social science or related; OR appropriate combination of education and experience and 3 years' research study or other relevant experience required; OR
  • Successful completion of a full course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a master's or higher degree in a major such as economics, public policy, social science or related; OR appropriate combination of education and experience and 1 year research study or other relevant experience
  • Supervisory or project management experience
  • Experience with complex data management and analysis
  • Experience and/or strong interest in providing in-person or remote support to both research and non-research staff
  • Experience and/or interest in providing technical assistance on research to technical and non-technical team members.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Strong analytical and quantitative skills using complex datasets
  • Knowledge of research methods, statistics and econometrics
  • Advanced knowledge of Stata
  • Knowledge of randomized controlled trials methodology
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills
  • Fluency and excellent communication skills in English
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently
  • Demonstrated ability to work well in teams and collaborate effectively
  • Flexibility to travel internationally

Preferred Qualifications: (Education and experience)

  • An enthusiasm for empirical research, and the ability and interest to learn new skills
  • Strong interest in international development work
  • Master’s degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, or related fields
  • Three to five years of relevant experience
  • Experience living and conducting field research in a developing country is a strong plus
  • Experience analyzing data from large randomized controlled trials (strongly preferred)
  • Experience with training people with strong technical abilities

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Knowledge of digital data collection platforms (such as SurveyCTO)
  • Knowledge of other data analysis software like R or Python

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

*Hiring for this position is conditional on University approval.

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select "Research Coordinator, Global Poverty Research Lab - Northwestern University” and include resume, cover letter, transcripts, and two recommendation letters. Note that applications with incomplete submissions will not be considered.

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 short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.

We unfortunately cannot offer a work visa for this position, so a requirement is that you are eligible to work in the US until at least August 31, 2021.