African scholars: Refine your randomized evaluation skills through the DigiFI Webinar Series

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Local researchers often have a uniquely deep understanding of the context in which they work, which is key to developing well-grounded evaluations. The J-PAL Africa team, including DigiFI Africa led by Tavneet Suri, are committed to providing a mechanism for local African scholars to drive the research agenda on the continent.

Apart from providing funding opportunities for African scholars’ research, we are offering an African Scholar Webinar Series 2020 to support the development of research skills.

What will you learn?

Scholars will be introduced to the key concepts of randomized evaluations. We have developed a four-part series: 

Session one: Friday, 15 May 2020 at 4 pm SAST with Jessica Goldberg (University of Maryland): Jessica will give an introduction to randomized evaluations. She then will discuss how to develop a good research question and project, using the example of her fingerprinting study in Malawi

Session two: Wednesday, 27 May at 4 pm SAST with Dan Levy (Harvard): Dan will provide an overview of the reasons why we randomize through pre-recorded sessions from J-PAL’s Evaluating Social Programs course. This interactive session gives scholars an introduction to thinking conceptually about how to measure the impact of an intervention. 

Session three: Monday, 8 June at 4 pm SAST with Patrizio Piraino (University of Notre Dame): Patrizio delves into the mechanics of randomized evaluations, explaining the intuition around determining sample size and statistical power. This is a good opportunity to deepen one's technical understanding of randomized evaluations.  

Session four: Monday, 29 June at 4 pm SAST with Emily Cupito (Project Director, J-PAL Africa): Emily is a seasoned J-PALer who has coordinated J-PAL Africa research funding rounds in her role as the former Director of DigiFI Africa. Emily will take the class through the process of writing a good funding proposal, sharing some tips and tricks.

The webinar series is targeted to junior faculty and early-stage researchers who have an interest in randomized evaluations and who may consider applying to DigiFI Africa’s Request for Proposals in the future. However, it is open and free for anyone to attend. RSVP here

Other opportunities available for African scholars

African scholars with a deep understanding of randomized evaluations can apply for research funding through DigiFI. Read more about the scope of the initiative here. Applications for the next round will close in September 2020.

Sign up to our African Scholar database to be notified when the next round opens. In addition, African scholars can learn more about running randomized evaluations through the J-PAL MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy online program. The summer term starts on June 2, 2020. Scholarships are available through DigiFI—apply here.

Posted by Nidhi Parekh and Aimee Hare.