(Senior) Evidence to Scale Manager - J-PAL Global

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

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is seeking a full-time (Senior) Evidence to Scale Manager to join its recently-launched Evidence to Scale (E2S) vertical as an early team member, working closely with J-PAL’s senior E2S leadership. You will bring exceptional experience directly scaling - or supporting others (such as governments) to scale - evidence-based social policies and programs in low- or middle-income country contexts. And you’ll be motivated to stay abreast of the latest thinking on both the art and science of scaling, to bring the best of that thinking to J-PAL, and to share what J-PAL is learning about scaling with the broader community. You’ll receive exceptional one-on-one coaching from senior E2S leadership and have the opportunity to engage with J-PAL’s dynamic network of researchers, regional offices, and policymaker and practitioner partners around the world. 

About J-PAL

J-PAL is a global research center working to reduce poverty and fight climate change by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 500 top researchers at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts innovative research and builds powerful partnerships to solve the world’s greatest challenges. J-PAL was launched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003 and its faculty directors are Nobel laureates and MIT professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, and Ben Olken. It has over 500 research, policy, training, and operations staff across Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. For more information visit povertyactionlab.org.

About the position

Evidence from randomized evaluations has changed how we understand and address problems related to poverty. Policymakers, practitioners, and funders worldwide are increasingly applying learning from rigorous evidence to improve the design and delivery of social policies and programs. Over 540 million people have been reached by programs and policies that have been informed by evaluations by J-PAL affiliated researchers. Many more have benefitted from the several broader ways evidence can inform policy. 

Based at leading universities, J-PAL’s network of seven Regional Offices around the world are on the frontlines of this work. For example: 

  • J-PAL Africa, based in South Africa, spearheaded the effort with the Indian NGO Pratham to adapt an evidence-based remedial education from India to the African context and catalyze a continent-wide scale effort. 
  • J-PAL South Asia, based in India, is collaborating with state governments and the Indian NGO Bandhan-Konnagar to support them in adopting at scale the evidence-based ultra-poor graduation model, originally pioneered by BRAC.
  • J-PAL Southeast Asia, based in Indonesia, has partnered with the Government of Indonesia over many years to bring evidence to bear on its large-scale social protection programs, including during Covid
  • J-PAL North America, based in the US, synthesized and strategically disseminated evidence on models for delivering high-impact tutoring to inform how US states and municipalities grappled with Covid-induced learning loss.

J-PAL Global’s recently-created Evidence to Scale (E2S) vertical plays a key role in supporting the J-PAL network and our partners in this process of translating rigorous evidence into policy and practice at scale. The (Senior) Evidence to Scale Manager will be one of the early senior members of this new team and therefore represents an exciting opportunity to shape the future of this work at J-PAL. Given the newness of this team, we are looking for candidates who can commit to the role for at least three years.

Location: Our strong first preference is for (Senior) E2S Manager to be based in Cambridge, MA, at the J-PAL Global Office at MIT, for at least the first year. We are open to considering alternative locations only for exceptional candidates, with a strong preference for such candidates being able and willing to be based in one J-PAL's seven Regional Offices around the world if Cambridge, MA is not possible. Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the country in which they are interested in being based.

Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion: J-PAL values diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our work and the broader perspectives our staff bring. We encourage people of color, first generation college students/graduates, and other underrepresented groups to apply to this role. In your cover letter, please consider sharing how your racial, gender, socioeconomic and/or other identity has influenced your drive and desire to work at J-PAL. (This is not required, but rather an opportunity for us to get to know you.) For more information on J-PAL Global's commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion visit this webpage.

Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of the (Senior) Evidence to Scale Manager will center on supporting J-PAL regional offices, researchers in J-PAL’s research network, and J-PAL partners to more effectively catalyze the adoption of promising evidence at scale by practitioners and policymakers. This will involve: 

  1. Strategy: Contribute to defining the strategy of the E2S vertical and the broader organizational E2S vision and strategy. 
  2. Advising: Draw on your prior experience scaling evidence-based interventions to serve as a trusted advisor and thought partner to J-PAL regional offices, researchers in J-PAL’s research network, and J-PAL partners on adapting evidence-based interventions to new contexts, piloting and scaling evidence-based interventions, and designing new interventions with scalability in mind from the beginning. The range of topics you might collaborate on with a regional office, researcher, or partner is endless but some examples include: assessing the scalability of an innovation, developing a scale strategy with a government partner in a particular country or region, creating process monitoring systems to ensure high-quality implementation at scale, and identifying opportunities to improve scalability and cost-effectiveness of delivery models through better use of technology. 
  3. 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 research network to more effectively connect with policymakers and practitioners. 
  4. Learning and thought leadership: Facilitate organizational learning at J-PAL on evidence use and scale and contribute to the organization’s external thought leadership on these topics. Ensure J-PAL is learning from other actors focused on catalyzing the scale of evidence-based interventions.  
  5. Partnerships: Support, develop, and, in some cases, lead partnerships with global organizations around E2S-related topics and opportunities. 
  6. Donor engagement: Support, develop, and, in some cases, lead efforts to mobilize funding to support J-PAL’s E2S efforts, with philanthropies, bilateral and multilateral donors, and high networth individuals. Share lessons from J-PAL’s E2S work with donors to inform their strategies and thinking. 

Because the Evidence to Scale vertical is a relatively new team, this 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 and work closely with Anne Healy, Director of Evidence to Scale at J-PAL. The role will not have direct reports initially, though this is likely to change over time.

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 improvements in the lives of the poor at scale. 

  • Education: You hold a Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, international development, international affairs, economics, or a related field and have demonstrated academic interest in rigorous evidence about poverty alleviation.
  • Experience: You have at least 5 or more years of relevant and substantial work experience (note: if you have 7 or more years of relevant and substantial work experience, we would consider you at the Senior Manager level). This experience should include at least two years of experience working in a low- or middle-income country, applying rigorous evidence to program or policy design and implementation, and scaling one or more evidence-informed development intervention(s). Ideally, in this work, you have either worked for or with governments and collaborated with coalitions of organizations and people including researchers. You have experience getting things done even in contexts where you lack direct control and are adept at using advice, influence, and support to enable the work of others. 
  • 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. 
  • Skills: You are very comfortable using Google Workspace (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.) and learning computer applications that J-PAL staff more broadly need to use, including Salesforce. Experience using Slack to communicate across team and office silos and to communicate within distributed teams is a plus. Knowledge of French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, or other languages spoken in our regions of work is a plus. 
  • Communication: You are an exceptional communicator, able to communicate clearly in writing and orally with diverse audiences from around the world; writing experience and skills should cover policy briefs, fundraising proposals, and other program documents. Ideally, you are a skilled presenter, adept at using well-developed slides, when appropriate. 
  • Organization: You are a strategic thinker. You can handle managing multiple projects at once with little supervision, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time, as well as others’. You are a strong upward communicator and manager, proactively sharing updates, escalating concerns, and teeing up recommendations or decisions on which you need senior leadership engagement. 
  • 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 sensitivity, adaptability, and inclusivity in your engagement with people from diverse backgrounds including age, ability, culture, gender, nationality, race and ethnicity, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and other identities. We appreciate candidates who have familiarity with concepts and frameworks such as racial equity or gender analyses.
  • Attitude: You love learning. You thrive thinking in a cross-sectoral and cross-regional way. You stay up-to-date on the latest thinking on both the art and science of scaling social policies and programs and are motivated to bring the best of that thinking to J-PAL. You are self-motivated, work hard, and enjoy working in teams. You value and are comfortable receiving feedback, providing feedback, and supporting the growth and development of others.
  • Travel: Ability and willingness to travel 25-35% of the time.  

Professional Development

The Evidence to Scale vertical invests in your professional development. As a (Senior) E2S 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 and its extensive network of partners (e.g., Innovations for Poverty Action, Teaching at the Right Level Africa, YouthImpact). 

Benefits Overview

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.

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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.

To apply, you must complete the following two steps: 

Visit http://jobs.mit.edu/external, search for job ID 21473 (Senior) Evidence to Scale Manager, and complete an application. Please upload a single PDF document of the following components into the “Resume” field on the MIT portal. 

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

Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you experience technical difficulties preventing you from applying, please email [email protected] for assistance.

Process after applying: We will begin to review applications on July 8. Applications received after this date will be considered on a rolling basis. We will conduct a short phone screen with short-listed applicants, after which candidates may be asked to complete a writing and technical exercise. Applicants who perform well on this exercise may be called for two rounds of virtual interviews, each of which may involve 1-3 J-PAL staff. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we will not be able to follow up individually with all applicants. For those applicants that reach the final stages in our process, we will request references (supervisor, peer, and direct report) whom we can contact to learn more about you and your suitability for this role. 

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.