Initiatives Associate - J-PAL Global

J-PAL Global
  • United States of America
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
Start Date (Earliest):
Length of Commitment:
More than two years

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of over 225 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. The Policy & Communications Group plays a key role in translating research by J-PAL affiliates into actionable poverty alleviation policies around the world. Staff connect the dots between economics and policy and are passionate about working with organizations to form partnerships for evidence-informed development policy.  J-PAL is recruiting an Initiative Associate to contribute to this mission of promoting evidence-informed policy. The Initiatives Associate will serve as J-PAL Global’s Initiative and Funded Project Coordinator and will coordinate and perform all relevant project implementation and knowledge management activities.  The position will be based in Cambridge, MA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We are remote through September 6, 2021.  


The Initiative Associate will provide input into strategic planning and implement day-to-day operational activities for J-PAL’s research and policy programs, including a broad range of administration, information technology, compliance, communications and outreach, and other functions. The Initiative Associate’s primary tasks will involve running competitive research grant processes across J-PAL Global’s funding initiatives, providing guidance to initiative managers, building and implementing tools to increase efficiency in initiative management, and contributing to efforts to expand J-PAL’s research network. 

Specific Responsibilities include:

  • RFP Management (70%): Administers research competitions across J-PAL Global’s research initiatives, working in close collaboration with individual sector teams. Develops project plans for funding initiatives to support randomized evaluations, including developing and managing regular Requests for Proposals (RFPs). This includes updating relevant RFP announcements and related forms, updating materials on the J-PAL website and internal tracking systems, communicating with proposal teams and reviewers on RFP processes, and organizing review calls. Provides standard inputs to prime award narrative reporting to donors, builds reports for individual initiatives in Salesforce, and creates documentation and provides technical advice and content knowledge to initiative managers to achieve project goals and objectives. Cross-Initiatives
  • Administration, Data Analysis, and Policy Tracking (30%): Serves as a liaison to J-PAL Global for initiative policies and knowledge management collaborations and systems development. Tracks policy changes from J-PAL Executive Committee, initiative leadership, and MIT that require changes to initiative practices and processes, recommends and implements necessary changes, and communicates those changes to relevant staff. Maintains updated initiative manuals and materials including policies and best practices. Manages activities and strategies to ensure program/project operations are effective and efficient. Identifies and resolves issues and recommends process improvements. Creates and manages Salesforce reports and dashboards to track progress toward grant deliverables and to measure other strategic objectives. Leads compliance monitoring across initiatives, tracks sub-awardee grant deliverable performance, and builds and leads systems to track research affiliate compliance. Centralizes requests from initiative managers for materials for the Salesforce RFP management software. Identifies opportunities for standardization across initiatives and creates plans to standardize practices. 
  • Other duties as assigned 

Professional Development

The Policy & Communications Group invests in your professional development. As an Associate, you will learn, engage, and grow. 

Learn: J-PAL supports a culture of learning with opportunities to attend weekly MIT–Harvard Development Seminars and take classes for credit with MIT’s 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: Associates have the opportunity to work with J-PAL affiliated researchers, as well as interact with J-PAL’s partners, including decision-makers and practitioners, alongside senior staff. 

Grow: Associates receive one-on-one mentorship from senior staff. Promotions are based on performance and ability. 


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.


Your strong project management skills, solid written and verbal communication skills, precise attention to detail, and interest in international development make you an ideal candidate for this position. 

  • Education: You hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.  
  • Experience: Minimum of two years of relevant grant and/or project management experience, ideally in a funding organization setting. 
  • Skills: Technical proficiency with learning and using computer applications, including Excel, Salesforce, Google Drive and other project management tools. Strong writing skills and the ability to explain and communicate complex information clearly to both internal and external stakeholders. Ability to analyze information and problem solve to resolve issues. 
  • Communication: You are detail-oriented and have advanced writing skills. You are precise, clear, and creative. 
  • Organization: You are a strategic thinker. You can handle multiple projects at once, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time. Strong ability to manage a time-sensitive workflow while maintaining absolute accuracy with details.  
  • 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 cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality, and age sensitivity and adaptability. 
  • Attitude: You love learning. You are agile, adaptable, self-motivated, hardworking, and collaborative. You have good judgement in handling confidential information and in managing relationships. 

To learn more about J-PAL Globals commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, please visit this webpage.

How to Apply

Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Apply now.

All candidates should apply through the MIT human resources system. Please note that because this position is not eligible for sponsorship, candidates must be authorized to work in the United States. 

To apply, please submit a short application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit, search for job ID 19546 (Initiatives Associate) and complete an application. 

  1. Please upload a single PDF document of the following components into the “Resume” field on the MIT portal:
  2. Cover letter (outlining why you are interested in J-PAL Global and why you are qualified for this role)
  3. Resume/CV

Applications are due on May 28, 2021. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing exercise and a Zoom interview. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we will not be able to follow up individually with all applicants. 

For more information about working at J-PAL, please visit this webpage.

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.