Research Manager

J-PAL, South Africa

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
2 years of relevant work experience
Closing Date for Applications: 
11th September, 2019

Job Description

J-PAL Africa seeks a research manager to manage multiple research projects that test the impacts of a variety of social programs in South Africa through randomised evaluations (also known as randomized control trials). This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the generation of scientific evidence about what works in the fight against poverty. The research manager will build the capacity of young, talented research staff, and will get hands-on experience with real-world policymakers and their programs – all while working at the frontier of academic research.

The position holder should be a capable manager of field research projects, with excellent quantitative research and people management skills. The role involves managing the research staff who work on these studies, closely liaising with the academic researchers who design and lead the projects and ensuring that the projects are implemented with fidelity to the study design. A key component of the role involves ensuring rigorous data quality measures are in place, including high-frequency checks, back-checking, effective training and debriefs with field staff, and other measures as required. The role also involves building and maintaining strong relationships with project partners – often governments and large NGOs - and working with them to ensure study results inform their programs and policies.

The position will be based in the Johannesburg office of J-PAL Africa, the Africa regional office of J-PAL Global, which forms part of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) in the University of Cape Town’s School of Economics. Travel to other locations in South Africa will be required for fieldwork supervision, partner management, and work with J-PAL staff or other colleagues. The Abdul Latif Jameel Action Lab (J-PAL) aims to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. J-PAL consists of a global network of academics who specialize in conducting randomized evaluations of social policies/programs to generate this evidence.

This is a permanent- soft-funded position.

Responsibilities include:

  • Supervise several impact evaluations/research projects.
  • Manage all the steps of the implementation of each impact evaluation including: Writing funding proposals, designing data collection instruments, programming data entry templates, coordinating field-based or other data collection activities, ensuring data quality and security, cleaning datasets and running statistical analysis (usually in Stata/R), paper writing and dissemination of study results, ensuring that these activities are implemented in a way that maintains study integrity
  • Resource Management (budget and people) including: Supervising research associates, field enumerators and interns, and preparing budgets and financial reports for donors and project financial management
  • Support as a trainer all capacity building activities of J-PAL Africa: workshops, seminars, Evaluating Social Programs Executive Education courses, and staff training.
  • Fundraize to support new and existing projects.
  • Support training of field enumerators on each research project.
  • Communicate and engage with potential partner organizations and other stakeholders and funders.
  • Feedback and planning with principal investigators in a timely manner.
  • Recruitment and training of new staff, performance management and development.

Minimum requirements:

  • A master’s degree, including training in microeconomics, development economics, econometrics and statistics
  • A minimum of two years of experience in conducting field research in developing countries
  • Demonstrated ability to understand and analyse randomized evaluations, including understanding how on-the-ground implementation considerations affect randomized evaluation study validity
  • Experience in data cleaning, analysis or other programming conducted in Stata and/or R
  • Managerial experience, particularly managing a survey team in a developing country (including hiring, training, and management of staff)
  • Ability to manage relationships with multiple stakeholders including senior academics, officials, and partners.
  • Excellent writing and oral presentation skills in English, particularly the ability to communicate technical research considerations to policymakers in a non-technical manner
  • Demonstrated ability to write and manage budgets
  • Proven ability to handle multiple diverse assignments at one time, successfully complete assigned tasks, and meet deadlines while conducting high-quality work
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Ability to travel regularly within South Africa, and occasionally overseas

Highly advantageous:

  • Experience fundraising and writing fundraising proposals
  • Experience conducting randomized evaluations strongly preferred


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