Jobs and Opportunity Initiative RFP

Overview

J-PAL’s Jobs and Opportunity Initiative (JOI) funds randomized evaluations of strategies to address pressing labor markets challenges. JOI has two regular funding cycles per year. J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL postdocs, and JOI invited researchers are eligible to apply for full research projects, pilot studies, travel/proposal development grants, and policy outreach support grants. PhD students, with support from an advisor who is a J-PAL affiliate or JOI-invited researcher, are also eligible to apply. Resident African scholars are also eligible to apply for pilot studies and travel/proposal development grants.

JOI also offers off-cycle funding outside of the regular RFPs. These grants are intended for research projects that face a significant time constraint and need to receive funding before the end of a regular funding round to make use of an unanticipated opportunity. Proposals must clearly justify the need to receive a decision on an expedited schedule. The maximum amount awarded to off-cycle proposals is $75,000. 

Please note that PhD students, with support from an advisor who is a J-PAL affiliate or JOI-invited researcher, are now also eligible to apply for JOI off-cycle funding.

Timeline

JOI is no longer accepting proposals for its Fall 2021 RFP. Short letters of interest were due by 5:00 PM ET on Tuesday, September 7 and full proposals were due by 5:00 PM ET on Tuesday, October 12. Funding decisions will be announced in December 2021. Our next RFP will open in early 2022.

Priority Themes

This initiative will provide competitive funding to generate policy-relevant rigorous research that addresses pressing labor market challenges. The Jobs and Opportunity Initiative will focus on evaluating the impact of programs related to:

  • Supply and matching
  • Job creation*
  • The future of jobs

See the RFP Overview for more details on the set of priority research questions.

*New Firms funding starting this round: we are now also considering projects related to (1) supporting small and microentrepreneurs through alternative business training models, and (2) identifying and supporting high-growth-potential entrepreneurs. This Firms funding will prioritize projects that build off of existing research and test interventions that have a high potential for scale. 

Regional Focus

Projects related to (1) supply and matching, (2) labor market regulations and job creation, and (3) future of jobs will be strongly prioritized if they are in sub-Saharan Africa (due to donor preferences), especially in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. JOI will also consider funding projects in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and especially in the Middle East and North Africa, but funding for projects in these geographies is extremely limited. The Jobs and Opportunity Initiative is unable to fund work in Europe, Canada, or the United States.


Projects related to (1) supporting small and microentrepreneurs through alternative business training models, and (2) identifying and supporting high-growth-potential entrepreneurs across Africa, Asia, LAC, and MENA will receive equal consideration, with no regional priority.

Application Instructions

J-PAL initiatives, including JOI, have transitioned to using an online portal for all proposal submissions, proposal reviews, invoice submissions, and grantee reporting. To apply to JOI’s Fall 2021 RFP, you will first need to register via our online portal. Please navigate to the portal and follow the instructions to complete your registration. Once you are logged into the portal, please click here to access JOI's letter of interest form.

If you receive an error message stating that you already have an account, please contact [email protected] Our staff will create an account for you internally that is linked to your existing Salesforce contact information within 24 hours of receiving your email. This will only be necessary once, thank you for your patience as we transition to a new system.

Letter of interest: All applications were required to submit a letter of interest (LOI) by Tuesday, September 7 at 5:00 PM ET.

Full proposals: Full proposals were due by Tuesday, October 12 at 5:00 PM ET.

Please note that proposals for this fall should discuss any Covid-related risks to the feasibility of the project and share how the team will prepare for and mitigate these risks.

Page Content