Rigorous evaluation has changed the way we think about extreme poverty and how it can be ended. We have yet to see the same concerted effort (or results) in peace building, crime reduction, state building, humanitarian aid, refugee issues, violence prevention, and conflict resolution.
To change this, I’m helping to lead two major new initiatives: the Crime & Violence Sector at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and the Peace & Recovery Program at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). Over the next five years, we expect to help dramatically increase the number and quality of studies in the world, grant many millions of dollars in research grants (small, medium, and large), support PhD students, offer multiple post-doctoral positions, translate all this work into public policy, and try to scale successful solutions.
We need some help.
J-PAL, IPA and I are looking for full-time directors for each of the two initiatives. Both people will work with me to develop new partners and studies, recruit leading academics and students to the projects, manage grants to these research teams, write for and meet with policymakers, and fundraise in order to be able to keep supporting this kind of work. And a hundred other things.
On the Crime & Violence initiative, you’ll also work with my co-Chair, Jens Ludwig, founder of the UChicago Crime Lab. While a lot of our focus will be international this year, J-PAL’s ambitions are to transform our understanding of North American crime, violence, and policing as well. In the near term, however, much of the funding we have raised is earmarked for Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and other low-income places. It’s my hope to raise substantial funds for Latin America, and the new directors will help.
With me you’ll also work closely with UChicago’s Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflict.
To see what success looks like, take a look at J-PAL’s Political Economy and Governance Sector (and its amazing Governance Initiative) or IPA’s Financial Inclusion program. We aim to be as successful and impactful as those.
In both cases we are looking for directors with a relevant Master’s degree and at least 5 years experience, or a Ph.D. and at least 2 years experience. There may be positions coming up for less experienced people, so if you are interested, it’s not a bad idea to apply to get on our radar. Developing country experience is probably a must. The more crime, conflict, humanitarian or related experience you have, the better. A background in impact evaluation and research management is also a plus. If you have amazing strengths in one but not the other, I still encourage you to apply.
If you’re wondering which to apply to, the answer is probably “both”. The J-PAL sector is more focused on crime and violence reduction, and criminal justice/security reform. And the IPA sector is a little broader in its focus not just on violence, but also post-conflict, humanitarian, and state building issues. But in reality the overlap will be very high, and each director will be the lead for all those issues in their organization.
Perhaps the main difference is that the J-PAL job probably requires a US work permit and a willingness to be based in Cambridge MA, while the IPA position is more flexible on both fronts. I am based in Chicago, and I will have a preference for people who can be based here with me. But New York, New Haven, and DC are technically options as there are IPA offices there.
See the ads for details of the positions and to apply. Feel free to post any questions you have here and I will try to answer. (I will not be able to answer individual requests by email or social media, and will not be involved in the hiring until the short list stage, so please don’t apply to me directly.)
Nothing about this blog post is official–it just reflects my personal preferences. For all official details of the work and process see the ads themselves.