Research Coordinator - University of Essex

Organization:
Location:
  • The Gambia
Start Date (Earliest):

Length of Commitment: One-and-a-half-year (until September 2025)

Academics at the University of Essex, MIT, the University of Oxford, and the University of the Gambia, are looking to hire a Research Coordinator to coordinate a randomized controlled trial conducted in partnership with the Kanifing Municipal Council in The Gambia. The study involves interventions to strengthen property tax enforcement and waste collection services in Kanifing municipality by leveraging adoption of Open Location Codes, a digital addressing system. The Research Coordinator will play a crucial role overseeing day-to-day research operations on the ground and serving as a liaison between the international study team and local policymakers. 

About the research project

This research project is a randomized evaluation conducted by Victor Pouliquen (University of Essex), Justine Knebelmann (MIT - J-PAL), Joseph Levine (University of Oxford), and Hamidou Jawara (University of The Gambia). The project will conduct randomized controlled trials evaluating two key interventions in Kanifing, the nation's largest municipality (part of Greater Banjul Area): 1) Using Open Location Codes, a digital addressing system, to enhance property tax monitoring and enforcement, and 2) Linking Open Location Codes data to waste truck GPS to track service quality and implement performance incentives for collection crews. 

The goal is to sustainably increase local revenue while expanding access to essential public services like waste collection through heightened accountability. More effective taxation and waste management will help the municipality to move to a better social equilibrium. The study will examine resultant impacts on civic participation, trust in government, gender roles, and the social contract between citizens and the state. In addition, outcomes related to health and environmental quality will be measured. Successful policies and digital innovations assessed by the research could ultimately inform urban governance strategies across The Gambia and globally. The Research Coordinator will lead day-to-day operations to ensure smooth collaboration with Kanifing leaders and rigorous evaluation of interventions during an approximately three-year study period. 

About the position

The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand experience managing randomized controlled trials and implementing impact evaluations in a real-world policy setting. The position will build skills in data collection, management, analysis, and communication to inform evidence-based governance.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative interviews, managing survey teams, cleaning administrative data, analyzing preliminary results, coordinating with municipal partners running interventions, and summarizing findings for policymakers. Through exposure to all aspects of research production, the position will prepare the selected candidate for postgraduate studies in economics, public policy, or further impact evaluation roles. Former research assistants working with members of the study team have gone on to top Ph.D. and Masters Programs (Paris School of Economics, Oxford, LSE…) and to positions in organizations like JPAL, IPA, the World Bank, or IDInsight.

This full-time position is based in the offices of the Kanifing Municipal Council in The Gambia. Researchers (PIs) will conduct regular visits to work with the Research Coordinator. 

Key Responsibilities

  • The Research Associate is responsible for the supervision of the project and its successful implementation in the field, which includes:
  • Maintaining effective relationships with municipal partners and staff running interventions
  • Oversee and lead the field research activities, including the implementation of the evaluation, according to the research design.
  • Designing and piloting survey questionnaires (quantitative and qualitative) 
  • Monitoring survey companies conducting surveys and interviews
  • Monitoring administrative data quality and preparation
  • Cleaning and analyzing preliminary data
  • Coordinating with PIs on needed innovation in research activities
  • Contribute to the writing of policy notes in partnership the research team and with the International Center for Tax and Development
  • Conducting background research to inform project components
  • Providing regular updates on progress to academic researchers
  • Ensuring activities adhere to funder agreements and timelines
  • Any other work assigned by Principal Investigators

The Coordinator will also be responsible for ensuring good communication and organization on a daily basis:

  • Serving as the primary contact point between municipal and academic teams 
  • Participating in planning of policy outreach activities
  • Ensuring smooth information flows across partners
  • Preparing periodic progress reports and presentations
  • Proactively identifying and resolving any issues arising

As the central node managing field operations, the Research Coordinator will be crucial in maintaining positive collaborations and effective project execution.

Requirements

  • An undergraduate degree in economics, public policy, or related fields including training in impact evaluation and econometrics.
  • A Masters degree is a plus. 
  • Experience with living in a developing country is an advantage Previous experience in development research preferred
  • Strong quantitative, organizational, and communication skills are necessary
  • Fluency in English is compulsory
  • Knowledge of Mandinka, Woloff and/or Pulaar is a plus but not necessary
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations
  • Prior experience programming in R or Stata is necessary. 
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials or with managing a survey is a strong plus.

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select Research Coordinator, The Gambia and include resume, cover letter. Note that applications with incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

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