J-PAL's response to COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted and transformed the lives of billions of people worldwide, with the impact disproportionately borne by marginalized communities and people experiencing poverty.
As the scale of this tragedy became evident, J-PAL affiliated professors and staff jumped into action to launch new research and critically analyze the evidence base related to health behavior change, domestic violence, cash transfers, education, and more. With this analysis, we have been working closely with government partners to inform policy decisions with evidence. You can read more about our evidence synthesis work on this page.
In addition to leveraging our existing evidence base, J-PAL regional offices have dedicated resources and research staff to conduct rapid response research. Results from this research are informing COVID-19 response and recovery policies and programs in India, Indonesia, and beyond. Our staff and affiliates are working to analyze the results of this research and will post those results publicly on our website once available.
In response to the pandemic, many J-PAL initiatives opened dedicated off-cycle funding rounds to fund new research on the impacts of innovative approaches to pandemic response. With this focus now embedded in regular cycle rounds, initiatives seek to fund rapid, useful, and responsible research that is relevant to COVID-19 response, mitigation, and recovery. J-PAL initiatives concentrate funding and other resources around priority topics for which rigorous policy-relevant research is urgently needed.
We have also worked to take many of our trainings and course offerings online. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we transitioned our annual Evaluating Social Programs in-person course to a series of free, open-access webinars, drawing hundreds of participants. More recently, we relaunched our Innovations in Data Experimentation and Action (IDEA) Initiative Conference as a weekly series of webinars open to researchers, data practitioners, and students who work with or are interested in administrative data. See other upcoming events.
To learn more about J-PAL’s immediate actions to protect our communities, please see this statement by J-PAL Global Executive Director Iqbal Dhaliwal.
July 1, 2020:
- Recordings from our week-long webinar training series on Evaluating Social Programs are available on the event page. These webinars provide an introduction to why and how randomized evaluations can be used to rigorously measure social impact.
May 15, 2020:
- In response to continued campus closures, J-PAL and MITx on edX are providing universities worldwide with free access to select online courses. Universities can sign up at this link to provide students with free access to the verified tracks of our foundational Evaluating Social Programs course (J-PAL 101x) and all six MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy courses.
April 10, 2020:
- In response to the postponement of our in-person Evaluating Social Programs Executive Education course and the demand we’ve seen for online training materials, we have moved up the next run of our online Evaluating Social Programs course (J-PAL 101x) to begin on April 28. For the first time, the course will also be self-paced, allowing learners to complete the course at their own speed.
- External COVID-19 funding opportunities
March 20, 2020
March 19, 2020
- We are innovating on how we can resume our research operations in a way that is safe for the surveyors, respondents, and the communities we live in. To do so, we are crowdsourcing best practices/tips on switching from conducting surveys in-person to online or via phone. We will aggregate the information into a living document, shared with the J-PAL network and the broader public. If you have experience in this area, please fill out this very short form.
March 18, 2020
- Spring RFP deadlines extended. See new dates.
March 17, 2020
- Evidence for COVID-19 response:
- Hard data for hard choices
- Evidence-based approaches to tackling recent increases in gender-based violence
- Too complicated, too confusing: why more small businesses aren’t applying for coronavirus relief loans, and what we can do to reach them
- Using evidence to effectively support education during COVID-19
- State and local policy responses to COVID-19: Lessons from evidence
- Using cash transfers to improve child health in lower-income countries
- Increasing adherence to COVID-19 guidelines: Lessons from existing evidence
- COVID-19 research and funding resources:
- Announcing J-PAL’s newly updated research resources
- Foundations of ethical and high-quality data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Resources for adapting to phone surveys during COVID-19
- Considerations for collecting electronic signatures
- External COVID-19 funding opportunities
- Adaptations for phone surveys: A webinar with Tavneet Suri
- Collected best practices for conducting phone surveys
- Adapting to life during COVID-19
- MIT's COVID-19 Response
COVID-19 Off-Cycle Funding
Many of J-PAL’s initiatives opened dedicated off-cycle rounds using a simplified common application to generate rapid, useful and safe research that is relevant to COVID-19 response. As of September 21, 2020, J-PAL initiatives have received 59 off-cycle proposals and 5 regular cycle COVID-19-related proposals for a total of $3,038,059. We have funded 34 proposals for a total of $1,546,176.
|Initiative||Proposals Received||Amount Requested||Proposals Funded||Amount Funded|
*Note: Three of PPE's proposals listed correspond to their regular Spring 2020 RFP.
*Note: GI does not have an off-cycle COVID round.
We are also tracking external funding opportunities for COVID-19 response research. See the living document >
New RFP Deadlines
|RFP||Updated Proposal Deadline|
|Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI)*||April 27, 2020|
|Crime & Violence Initiative (CVI)||April 17, 2020|
|Digital Identification in Finance Initiative (DigiFI)||April 17, 2020|
|Innovation in Government Initiative (IGI)||May 1, 2020|
|Governance Initiative (GI)**||April 17, 2020|
|Post-Primary Education Initiative (PPE)||May 3, 2020|
|Reducing and Preventing Homelessness – Housing Stability Evaluation Incubator||May 4, 2020|
*ATAI will only accept proposals from researchers that previously completed the pre-proposal form.
**Proposal applications for GI’s Conference Travel Grants program for the BREAD conference are now on hold, given the postponement of the BREAD conference.