Research and Policy manager At Abdul Jameel Latif Poverty Action Lab

J-PAL Africa is looking for a strategic and passionate Policy and Research Manager to support our work of promoting evidence use by governments in Africa.

The position will be part of the J-PAL Africa team, the Africa hub of J-PAL Global, which is located in the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) in the University of Cape Town, School of Economics.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global network of academics who specialise in conducting randomised evaluations of social policies/programmes to generate scientific evidence about what works in the fight against poverty. J-PAL’s policy and communications group builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure that policy is driven by evidence, and effective programmes are scaled up.

The Policy and Research Manager role will require someone who can manage all the research and learning components of our projects piloting and scaling-up programmes with governments. Depending on the stage and needs of projects, these activities may include running small-scale qualitative surveys, large needs assessments, setting up process monitoring systems, analysing administrative data, etc. This is an exciting opportunity to be at the centre and in the detail of the process of translating evidence to public action, and to use a full range of evaluation and survey techniques to best meet project requirements.

Responsibilities include

● Iterate with project teams (usually composed of government and implementing partners, J-PAL affiliated professors, J-PAL Africa policy team) to define research questions and understand project needs

● Advise on appropriate research methods to investigate identified questions, and design research plan based on project constraints (budget, geography, timings)

● Project manage research activities including contracting necessary survey firms, managing budgets, and coordinating data collection activities

● Work with partners and team members (research associates, survey firms or other) to deliver high quality data collection and analysis, including:

o Reviewing and providing feedback on data collection instruments, e.g. reviewing surveys and indicators, checking accuracy and suitability of administrative data indicators

o Implementing all necessary controls and checks, e.g. testing for bias and making decisions on data cleaning protocols

o Ensuring the highest ethical standards are met, e.g. consent from survey participants, data security for personal information

● Package results in appropriate outputs for projects teams, be it one-off reports or dynamic, frequently updated dashboards

● Recruit and manage Research Associates

● Build and maintain relationships with a range of stakeholders including government partners, J-PAL affiliated professors, implementing partners and survey firms

Minimum requirements:

● A Master’s Degree in Public Policy or Economics or another similar social science including graduate level courses in econometrics/statistics, microeconomics and development economics

● 3-5 years of relevant work experience, including managing research or evaluation projects in sub-Saharan Africa that involved survey design.

● Experience with different research methods, ranging from needs/demands assessments to process monitoring and impact evaluations.

● Demonstrated ability to analyse rigorous quantitative research, including competency in at least one statistical package (Stata, R, SPSS, SAS or equivalent)

● Advanced writing and oral presentation skills in English*,* particularly the ability to communicate technical research to policymakers in a non-technical manner

● Demonstrated leadership and programme management experience, including budget management, hiring, training, and management of staff

● Proven ability to handle multiple diverse assignments at one time, successfully complete assigned tasks and meet deadlines while conducting high-quality work

● Ability and willingness to travel internationally frequently. Most travel will be in sub-Saharan Africa and in addition to between cities in South Africa

● Flexibility to support policy outreach, scoping research, and training events

● Strong skills in Excel, Word and Powerpoint

Highly advantageous:

● Experience with randomised evaluations, particularly field experience running randomised evaluations of social policies/programmes and policy experience interpreting and sharing policy lessons from randomised evaluations.

● French language ability

Relevant profiles:

This position may be relevant, but not exclusively, to the following profiles:

● Experienced Design, Monitoring & Evaluation professionals willing to expand their expertise in randomized evaluations and their use for policymaking

● Researcher looking to work more closely with policymakers on programme design and implementation challenges

How to apply

To apply, please fill up this form. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If appropriate candidates reside or have the right to work in SSenior Contract Recruiter, an additional employment process will be followed. We encourage you to apply to indicate your interest at this stage. Candidates who are not currently residing in listed countries but have the right to work in one of these are encouraged to apply.

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