The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a network of 91 affiliated professors from over 30 universities who conduct randomized evaluations (randomized controlled trials, RCTs) of social policies aimed at ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence. To date, J-PAL affiliates have conducted 430+ randomized evaluations in 55 countries. J-PAL’s three core activities are:
- Conducting Rigorous Impact Evaluations: J-PAL conducts randomized evaluations to test and improve the effectiveness of programs and social policies.
- Building Capacity: Providing expertise for people interested in rigorous program evaluation and training others to conduct randomized evaluations.
- Informing Policy: Disseminating the results of J-PAL affiliates’ research to policymakers, identifying the most cost-effective ways to achieve policy goals, and promoting the scale-up of highly effective policies and programs.
J-PAL North America (J-PAL NA) is based at MIT’s Department of Economics, and is the newest regional center at J-PAL. It focuses on promoting and supporting randomized evaluations in the region, advocating for evidence-informed social policy, and building capacity of policymakers and researchers in using and commissioning such evidence.
J-PAL NA is led by two Scientific Directors, Amy Finkelstein (MIT) and Lawrence Katz (Harvard). Please listen to this short interview with Lawrence Katz, where he explains his vision for J-PAL North America: http://govinnovator.com/lawrence_katz/
J-PAL NA seeks a Research Manager to manage and support a number of randomized evaluations testing innovations in health care delivery. The position offers the opportunity to work directly with senior academics who lead the evaluations, including Scientific Director Amy Finkelstein. By joining the initial team J-PAL North America, this position offers the opportunity for high-performing staff to influence the scope of the office’s work and take on increasing responsibility and leadership opportunities.
The Research Manager is a mid-level position based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge, MA. Research Managers are eligible for internal promotion to Senior Research Managers after three or four years of work at J-PAL NA, and such promotions are based on their performance and ability.
Please note: This position will focus exclusively on North American research, primarily in the United States. If you are interested in international development, please search for jobs at J-PAL Global at www.povertyactionlab.org/jobs.
Research coordination: Build expertise in the following areas and then shepherd multiple randomized evaluations of health policies through the following:
- Draft initial IRB applications in consultation with principal investigators (PIs) and manage the IRB application, including subsequently ensuring that projects remain compliant with IRB and other federal and institutional regulations.
- Write data use agreements (DUAs) and negotiate the language in the DUAs with partner organizations such as hospitals or government agencies who provide data access for the research project. This requires the ability to build strong relationships with senior people in external organizations and within MIT.
Grant management and administration: Work with PIs to develop budgets and coordinate all aspects of grant submission to federal and foundation funding agencies. Responsible for annual progress reports, performance, or financial reporting, as required by specific grants. Ability to create and interpret financial reports for the research team. Monitor anticipated and actual costs charged to project budgets, regularly communicate these to PIs, and identify and prevent potential overruns.
Management: Recruit, participate in the hiring and screening process, and coordinate the work of research assistants who conduct data analysis, design data collection instruments, and provide other research assistance for the evaluations.
Research relationships: Build and maintain strong relationships with researchers working on randomized evaluations in North America. Serve as a “consultant” to new randomized evaluations, helping them navigate the operational challenges of conducting a randomized evaluation, including accessing data, understanding the relevant privacy and human subjects requirements, building relationships with partner organization, and overall project management.
Writing: Create guides and documents on research processes (e.g. IRB, DUAs, project management, data security, etc.) that can serve as a resource for researchers new to implementing randomized evaluations. Provide support for the preparation of manuscripts for academic publications.
Organizational: Helping with other tasks that advance the mission of J-PAL North America, including mentoring new staff, building external relationships, and helping with conferences to spur new research collaborations and disseminate research results.
Education: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in economics, public policy, health policy, or a closely related field. At least intermediate level coursework in microeconomics and econometrics is required.
Experience: BA and 3+ years of experience, or a Masters and 2+ years of relevant experience working in a research organization with a mission and organizational profile similar to J-PAL NA. Candidates with significantly more experience are also welcome. The ideal candidate for this position will have experience working as a research assistant on randomized evaluations of health policies. An interest in U.S. health care policy, as demonstrated through course work or experience, is strongly desired. Knowledge of HIPAA and other regulations relevant for research in health is preferred.
Attention to detail: Superior project management skills with exceptional attention to detail.
Sound judgment and time management: Thrive in a busy work environment. Proven ability to multitask and to prioritize activities to successfully complete projects on tight deadlines with little supervision. A willingness to work hard, be self-motivated, and learn will be essential for doing well in this position.
Confidentiality: Ability to handle sensitive and confidential issues.
Computer proficiency: Strong database management and computer skills, with the ability to learn new programs quickly.
Communication: The ability to write clear, precise language, including for non-technical audiences. Effective speaking and relationship building skills. Ability to understand and write technical research language (e.g. in the fields of medicine, economics, statistics) and legal language (IRB, DUAs, MOUs).
Note: This position is not eligible for any type of Visa sponsorship via MIT. This position is based at the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA and telecommuting from another city is not an option.
Compensation and Benefits
As an employee of MIT, this position offers competitive compensation and generous benefits. See http://hrweb.mit.edu/benefits
for more information.