Jobs and Opportunity Initiative (JOI) African Scholars Opportunities

Busy market street in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria.

JOI is invested in creating more opportunities for African scholars to develop and drive the research agenda on the African continent. 

We are excited to present funding opportunities for resident African Scholars – those who have completed a PhD in economics or a related field and are based at an academic institution in sub-Saharan Africa.


Please sign up to the African Scholars registry for updates on information, events and funding opportunities for researchers working on the African continent.

Research Funding Opportunities 

JOI is excited to offer research funding to resident African Scholars

  • Resident African Scholars include those who have completed a PhD and are currently based in an academic institution in sub-Saharan Africa. Preference will be given to African Scholars based in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and Senegal.

  • Resident African Scholars are eligible to apply for Proposal Development Grants (up to US$10,000) and Pilot Grants (up to US$75,000). Full RCT funding eligibility (up to US$400,000) is extended to African Scholars who have successfully completed a pilot funded by J-PAL. For additional funding details, please see our RFP web page.

Targeted mentorship will be provided to African Scholars who receive funds from the Initiative.

  • Mentors will advise the Scholar throughout the project. Mentors can include any J-PAL affiliate or an invited researcher. African Scholars whose proposals are successful will be matched to a mentor after the funding has been awarded. 

  • African Scholars are required to submit an agreement signed by themselves and their mentor prior to the disbursement of funds. This agreement provides a framework for how the Scholar and mentor will work together throughout the project. Scholars who are matched to a new mentor will be expected to have a meeting with the mentor before completing this agreement.

The publication track record of the African Scholar will be considered during the grant-making process, as well as the amount of time the Scholar has committed to the project. 

Please refer to the African Scholars Frequently Asked Questions for more information or watch JOI's Spring 2022 Request for Proposals African Scholars webinar. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to Clare Hofmeyr.

Opportunities to Learn More About Randomized Evaluations

     1. Take the J-PAL MicroMasters course 

Anyone is welcome to audit the online course for free. However, participants are required to pay a fee to take the course exam which is required for course credit. Learn more on our MicroMasters webpage.

     2. DigiFI African Scholars Webinars

DigiFI hosted a webinar series that covers some of the fundamentals of running randomized evaluations. We encourage folks to listen to the recorded sessions if they are interested. 

     3. Resources for African Scholars 

The J-PAL team has identified a number of resources that may be useful for African Scholars who would like to refine their skills in randomized evaluation and research design.

          a. What are randomized evaluations? How are they different from impact evaluations? 

A randomized evaluation is a type of impact evaluation that uses random assignment to allocate resources, run programs, or apply policies as part of the study design. Like all impact evaluations, the main purpose of randomized evaluations is to determine whether a program has a causal impact, and more specifically, to quantify how large that impact is. 

Impact evaluations measure program effectiveness typically by comparing outcomes of those (individuals, communities, schools, etc.) who received the program against those who did not. There are many methods of doing this. But randomized evaluations have the benefit of ensuring that there are very limited systematic differences between those who receive the program and those who do not, thereby producing accurate (unbiased) results about the effects of the program. For more information see J-PAL’s introduction to randomized evaluations.

          b. Training in randomized evaluations 

J-PAL Africa runs an Evaluating Social Programs course annually that is based in different locations around the continent. This is intended to give an overview of randomized evaluations for a policy practitioner audience. Please check this page for updates on the next course. For those who cannot attend the course in-person, we have lecture recordings, slides, and case study materials for most of the ESP sessions in J-PAL's Teaching Resources.

J-PAL also hosts an online training course in designing and running randomized evaluations (J-PAL102x). This course teaches learners how to both design randomized evaluations and implement them in the field to measure the impact of social programs. It is a 12-week long course and can be audited for free. The course runs three times a year, in Spring, Summer and Fall.

          c. Further reading on randomized evaluations

Access all of J-PAL’s research resources here.

African Scholars Program Launch and Information Session

For a brief overview of our African Scholars program, please see these slides from our launch event, or watch a recording of the event below.

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