Jobs and Opportunity Initiative RFP


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 eligible to apply, and resident African scholars are 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 also eligible to apply for JOI off-cycle funding.


JOI's fifth RFP launched on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. Letters of interest were due by Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. US ET. Full proposals were due by Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. US ET. Our next RFP will take place in the second half of 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 below for more details on the set of priority research questions.

*Firms funding: We are 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, especially in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa (due to donor preferences). 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

Many 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 Spring 2022 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 already have an account but do not remember the password, please contact [email protected] for help retrieving or resetting your password. Our portal works best in the latest version Google Chrome.
  • To request a new account for the J-PAL portal, please complete this form and specify that you want an applicant account. Account creation normally takes no more than two business days; you will be asked to verify your email address and set a password. For further information and troubleshooting, please get in touch with [email protected]. Your J-PAL portal account credentials will allow you to apply to or review for any J-PAL initiative. Please verify your eligibility by thoroughly reading the initiative's RFP overview. Ineligible applicants will be notified during LOI reviews and will not be invited to submit proposals.

Please see the following documents for more information on our funding process:

  • JOI Frequently Asked Questions includes information on the scope of JOI, support that the JOI team can provide, eligibility, and JOI proposal requirements. 
  • African Scholars Frequently Asked Questions covers topics specifically related to African Scholars including eligibility requirements, what funding can be used for, how the proposal process works, what to consider when budgeting for your project, and more.

Please note that proposals should discuss any COVID-related risks to the ethics and feasibility of the project and share how the team will mitigate these risks.

Below, please find (1) an RFP Overview; (2) PDF previews of the application, which are updated throughout the RFP; and (3) budget templates. Please do not complete or submit the PDF previews to JOI for consideration. Please do use the budget templates to structure your proposal budget. All application materials should be uploaded to our online portal -- we can only consider applications submitted there.

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