Education, Technology, and Opportunity Innovation Competition

The J-PAL Education, Technology, and Opportunity Innovation Competition supports K-12 education leaders in using randomized evaluations to generate rigorous evidence on how and to what extent uses of education technology can work to improve student learning.


The competition supports the design and implementation of randomized evaluations of education technologies and/or innovative instructional models that utilize education technology. The goal of the competition is to generate rigorous evidence on the impact of promising programs and models, and to identify scalable strategies to improve learning outcomes for students in the United States, particularly for disadvantaged students.

Why Participate

Through this initiative competition, education leaders can apply for:

  1. Pro bono technical support from J-PAL North America’s staff of policy and research experts;
  2. Flexible pilot funding of up to $50,000; and
  3. Connections with J-PAL’s network of leading academic researchers.

For an example of how randomized evaluations can create valuable, actionable evidence in education, please see here.


J-PAL North America invites letters of interest from education organizations who work in the K-12 sector in the United States such as school districts, school networks, charter management organizations, education agencies at any level of government, and education nonprofits. For questions regarding eligibility, please e-mail J-PAL North America Policy Manager Kim Dadisman  at [email protected].

How to Apply

The deadline to submit letters of interest for the second round of the J-PAL Education, Technology, and Opportunity Initiative is April 1, 2019 at 5 PM ET. Applicants will be required to submit a 3-5 page letter of interest to [email protected], and finalists will be invited for phone interviews and to submit a budget.

Application Timeline

  • Request for letters of interest announced – January 14th, 2019
  • Innovation competition webinar – February 8th, 2019 from 1 – 2 pm ET
  • Letter of interest deadline – April 1st, 2019
  • Finalists invited for interviews – April – May 2019
  • Selected applicants notified – June 2019
  • Kick-off project meeting with selected applicants and J-PAL North America – Summer 2019


On February 8, 2019 from 1 – 2 PM ET, J-PAL North America hosted a webinar to provide additional information on how to apply to the Education, Technology, and Opportunity Innovation Competition and the types of support that will be made available to selected partners. Shane DeRolf, founder and CEO of the digital learning company Big Word Club, presented alongside Professor Ariel Kalil (University of Chicago) and Professor Susan Mayer (University of Chicago) on their randomized evaluation of a digital literacy program for young children.


Phil Oreopoulos (University of Toronto) and Peter Bergman (Columbia University).

Education Technology Literature Review

J-PAL North America’s education technology review paper explains the value of using randomized evaluations in education technology and outlines the current experimental evidence on the impacts of education technology. See our Evidence Review for a summary of key takeaways. Read coverage of the review paper in US News and World Report, The New York Times, and The Economist. Support for the literature review was provided by the Spencer Foundation.


Support for J-PAL North America’s education technology work is provided by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Overdeck Family Foundation.


If you have further questions about the application process or would like to discuss a potential proposal, please email Policy Manager Kim Dadisman at [email protected] to schedule a 30-minute phone call.