Jobs and Opportunity Initiative RFP

JOI is accepting off-cycle proposals related to COVID-19, read more below.


J-PAL’s Jobs and Opportunity Initiative (JOI) funds randomized evaluations of strategies to address pressing labor markets challenges. JOI is now calling for proposals from J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL postdocs, and JOI invited researchers for full research projects, pilot studies, travel/proposal development grants, and policy outreach support grants.


JOI is now accepting proposals for its first RFP round. Letters of interest are due by 11:59 PM ET on Friday, September 11, 2020. Proposals are due by 11:59 PM ET on Friday, October 9, 2020.  

Submit letter of interest >>

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.

Regional Focus

Projects in sub-Saharan Africa will be strongly prioritized, with a special interest in projects in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. Projects in other countries in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and especially in the Middle East and North Africa will also be considered, 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.

COVID-19 Off-Cycle Funding

Given the significant labor market implications of COVID-19, JOI is accepting off-cycle proposals to test innovative solutions to offset the disruption of the pandemic on people's jobs and livelihoods on an ongoing basis. JOI will consider funding up to $50,000 for research projects across sub-Saharan Africa. In exceptional cases, JOI will consider funding projects in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa, but funding for projects in these geographies is extremely limited. This call is open to J-PAL affiliates and all J-PAL invited researchers. Applications are open on a rolling basis and will be reviewed every five weeks. Please note that we encourage any projects that do not face serious time constraints to apply to our regular RFP rounds, which occur twice a year. On a case by case basis, we may reach out for more information and/or to direct proposals to be reviewed in our next regular RFP round. Please see sample COVID-19 related priority questions below and submit proposals through a common application here.

JOI's COVID-19 off-cycle funding window is open to the following types of studies:

  • Evaluate interventions aimed at COVID-19 responses or the recovery from the pandemic.
  • Add-on modules to existing randomized evaluations to collect data on COVID-19.
  • Add a treatment arm to an existing study related to responses to COVID-19.
  • Conduct a survey following up on a completed randomized evaluation to measure the impacts of the intervention on interactions with COVID-19 responses.*

*Please note that we will only fund follow-up surveys in exceptional cases and where there is a clear value-add to COVID response. We recommend project teams interested in conducting follow-up surveys apply to one of our regular RFPs.

Application Materials

Later this fall, J-PAL initiatives, including JOI, will transition to using an online portal system for all proposal submissions and reviews, as well as for grantee reporting. JOI will use this online portal system for our Fall 2020 RFP and we will follow-up with all eligible applicants to share instructions for preparing and submitting materials after the launch of the portal system. In the interim, to facilitate your proposal development, we have hosted reference application documents below that outline in detail all required information that applicants will be asked to provide when submitting a proposal to JOI. You are welcome to begin drafting your proposal materials using these templates, as the fields and content included in these reference documents will be required in the online portal system. Please do not complete or submit these reference documents to JOI for consideration. We will update all instructions after the launch of the online portal system.  

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.

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