First Research Incubator for the Displaced Livelihoods Initiative

Lecture hall
Photo: Matthieu Alexandre | J-PAL
Date: October 17 - 19, 2023
Location: Paris (Paris School of Economics)
Partners: Innovations for Poverty action
Innovation for Poverty Action Logo


J-PAL and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) are pleased to announce that applications are now open for our first three-day randomized evaluation design workshop as part of the Displaced Livelihoods Initiative (DLI), taking place in Paris, France from October 17-19, 2023.

The research incubator is tailored to the interests of organizations whose activities aim to promote sustainable livelihoods for forcibly displaced persons and host communities. It will help them explore how randomized evaluations can complement their evaluation, learning and innovation toolkit and lay the foundations for fruitful collaboration with researchers who can apply for impact evaluation funding through DLI.

Over the course of this incubator, J-PAL researchers and staff will guide groups of 3-4 staff members per organization through the process of designing a randomized impact evaluation. By the end of the incubator, participants can expect to have thought through the key elements of a rigorous evaluation design to better understand one of their own projects or interventions. As places are limited, early application is encouraged.

Objectives and outcomes

Together with J-PAL affiliates and staff, participants will design a randomized impact evaluation of their own intervention focused on improving livelihood outcomes through an integrated learning program. Besides on-site teaching and group work, participants will build on preparatory online lectures, covering topics such as:

  • Building on a theory of change to formulate research questions, select indicators, and identify data sources

  • Methods of randomization adapted for interventions implemented in displacement settings 

  • Performing power calculations to determine sample size

Participants will come out from the incubator with an increased understanding of the nuts and bolts of designing and implementing a randomized evaluation. Besides the design of an evaluation that is relevant to their work, they will be better equipped to make informed choices about evaluation options that are suited to their programmes and the specificities of livelihood aimed to improve livelihood outcomes targeting displaced persons.

Participant organizations with promising research questions will benefit from support before, during and after the workshop from J-PAL staff and researchers, along the path towards developing a randomized evaluation. Workshop participants will be well-positioned to partner with researchers who can apply to a recurring call for research proposals run as part of the Displaced Livelihoods Initiative.

How to apply 

Step 1: Download the application form here.

Step 2: Upload your application on this submission portal

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible, as places are limited. We will start reviewing applications on August 7, 2023 and feedback on applications will be provided in early September to allow for travel arrangements and preparations. Funding support is available to supplement travel to and stay in Paris on a case by case basis.

What makes a strong application?

Successful applications will demonstrate:

  • Alignment with DLI’s motivation and scope as outlined in section II and III of our most recent call for proposals

  • A clear outline of the evaluable activities within the overall project description. These could be:

    • Recurring activities of an ongoing programme, which participating organizations seek to better understand and iteratively improve

    • Activities of a programme that the organization intends to launch in the near future

  • A robust theory of change detailing the assumptions underpinning current programming and the research or evaluation question that the organization seeks to answer via a randomized evaluation

  • Organizational interest in evidence-based decision making and learning that makes for a conducive environment for randomized evaluations

  • A team composition that indicates organizational interest and ability to carry randomized impact evaluations forward. Organizations should ideally be represented by multidisciplinary project teams, across complementary organizational divisions and levels, such as:

    • Decision-making: Staff member with decision-making power with regards to the project (e.g., head of department managing the project)

    • Implementation: Staff with knowledge of the specific program / intervention that the organization is interested in evaluating and who can provide detailed information on the implementation aspects of the project.

    • Evaluation: Staff empowered to oversee/coordinate the implementation of the evaluation (Statistician / M&E specialist) within the organization

  • Collaboration and co-creation with, or inclusion of perspectives of people with lived experiences of displacement or local knowledge. We highly encourage incubator applications from organizations led by those with lived experiences related to the topic or from the countries where the project will take place. 

  • The proposed evaluation comes with learnings with a high potential to inform policy and scalable programmes to further economic inclusion for displacement-affected persons.

Key information

Application Form: Please click here to download the application formOnce the application form is completed, please upload as a PDF file on the linked submission portal. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting August 7, 2023. Feedback on applications will be provided in early September to allow for travel arrangements and preparations. 

As places are limited and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, early applications are encouraged. DLI highly encourages applications from organizations led by or inclusive of voices of those with lived experiences of displacement. 

Workshop fees: Participation in the course is free of charge, thanks to funding provided by the IKEA Foundation.

Travel and logistics: The workshop will take place in person in Paris, France. J-PAL Europe is in a position to contribute to travel, accommodation, and visa expenses on a reimbursement basis. The exact amounts per participant depend on the number and quality of applications and will be communicated to successful applicants upon selection. Additional funding is available to cover all travel, accommodation and visa expenses for refugee-led organizations, or more broadly, organizations led by individuals with lived experience of displacement. J-PAL can provide letters to support participants' visa applications to enter France.  

Contact: Please contact [email protected] for any questions regarding the application process or other details about the workshop.

Indicative agenda

17 October 18 October 19 October
Welcome and Introduction Indicators and measurement Preparation of project presentations
Research question and theory of change Implementation challenges Project presentations and feedback
Lunch Lunch Lunch
Randomization and evaluation design Calculating power and sample size Project presentations and feedback (continued)
Presentation of day's work Generalizability Closing and next steps
  Group dinner  

About the Displaced Livelihoods Initiative

Displacement is at an all-time high and is projected to climb in the coming decades, pushing the donor, practitioner, and researcher communities to seek more cost-effective, long-term solutions to displacement. This has led to an increased effort to strengthen displaced livelihoods, self-reliance, and economic inclusion. More evidence is needed, however, about what interventions best support sustainable livelihoods for displaced populations and host communities. 

The IKEA Foundation is supporting IPA and J-PAL to generate and share new evidence on the impacts of policies and programs that can foster sustainable livelihoods for displaced populations and host communities. Under this Initiative, IPA and J-PAL manage calls for proposals, form partnerships with displacement actors and researchers, and support the translation of funded research into policy and practice. Ultimately, research supported by the Initiative will support the design of better policies and programs to enable refugees and others forced to flee to rebuild their lives.

For more information, visit our website

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