Communications, Policy, and Research Associate to the Executive Director – J-PAL Global

J-Pal Global


J-PAL is recruiting a Communications, Policy, and Research (CPR) Associate to the Global Executive Director (ED), Iqbal Dhaliwal, to contribute to J-PAL’s mission of promoting evidence-informed policy. This position is full-time, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.

The CPR Associate to the ED is a multifaceted position with a portfolio with the primary responsibility of substantive support to the ED, including working with a variety of teams at J-PAL’s Global office and with our regional offices. The position may also include some additional tasks typical of traditional Policy Associates at J-PAL. The CPR Associate will provide dedicated support to the ED by writing communications and policy outreach materials, preparing the material needed by the ED to engage strategically at speaking engagements and meetings, providing fundraising support, and conducting and organizing desk research from a variety of inputs. As such, the position requires a highly flexible, self-motivating individual with strong writing skills. The ideal candidate is very well-organized, quick to learn and adapt, willing to put in long hours, and has previous experience or training in international development (required) and economics (highly preferred).

This is a unique opportunity to work directly with senior leadership at J-PAL, interact directly with high-level external stakeholders, co-author articles in high-profile publications, and get a ring-side view of strategic planning and leadership at an innovative and growing organization.

Job Summary


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 225 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.

The Global Executive Director (ED) of J-PAL helps formulate and implement J-PAL’s worldwide strategy and organization-wide policies, communicate J-PAL’s mission and accomplishments to external partners, and coordinate operations and fundraising. He works closely with the directors of each of J-PAL’s three verticals (research, education, and training; policy and communications; and finance and operations) as well as with the senior leadership of J-PAL’s seven regional offices around the world. As one of the primary representatives of J-PAL to external stakeholders, he manages a complex set of projects, travel, and internal/external relations.

The Associate is based in the Policy & Communications (P&C) team. P&C plays a key role in translating research by J-PAL affiliates into actionable poverty alleviation policies around the world. Staff connect the dots between economics and policy and are passionate about working with organizations to form partnerships for evidence-informed development policy.


Your work provides the foundation and direction for J-PAL’s growing worldwide efforts. As the Communications, Policy, and Research Associate to the Executive Director, your work will entail:

  • Policy, Communications, and Dissemination: You will write materials that “translate” economic research and other J-PAL messages into policy outreach and communications, including articles, op-eds, blogs, and evaluation summaries, often co-authored with the ED. You will work independently to put the ED’s vision into words, then work collaboratively with him to finalize dissemination pieces. You will create PowerPoint presentations for the ED for his speeches at events and will coordinate with other staff to compile talking points for his speaking engagements. You will manage the ED’s social media, including regular Twitter posts.
  • External Relationship Management: You will draft correspondence to collaborators, including affiliated professors, donors, and partners. You will have the opportunity to attend conferences and events and to participate in meetings with policymakers and donors. You will create background summaries for and brief the ED on upcoming meetings and events, and will often then attend meetings with the ED and direct follow-up with other participants and stakeholders on next steps.
  • Research and analysis: You will conduct desk research for policy memos, grant proposals, and sector-specific work and provide recommendations for the ED’s priorities and next steps. This will include desk research for co-authored blogs and articles with the ED on J-PAL’s mission and activities, as well as for the ED’s speaking engagements.
  • Operations and strategy: You will work with the ED as he coordinates with the Board of Directors to refine J-PAL’s worldwide strategy, and with J-PAL’s regional leadership to help execute that strategy. You will coordinate with staff to put together the agenda for annual senior leadership meetings and will follow up with senior staff after these meetings to ensure that next steps are implemented. You will work with the Administrative Associate to the ED to ensure all the above work is coordinated with the ED’s calendar, travel arrangements, and other logistics.
  • Additional roles at J-PAL: Independent from your work with the ED, you will have the opportunity to participate in additional sector-specific or functional teams within the Policy and Communications team depending on interest and experience. Professional DevelopmentThe Policy & Communications Group invests in your professional development.


Your strong writing and communication skills, ability to remain highly organized despite ambiguity, interest in working with the executive leadership of J-PAL, and passion for international development make you an ideal candidate for the Communications, Policy, and Research Associate to the Executive Director.

  • Education: You hold at least a bachelor’s degree (master’s preferred) with significant coursework in international development and/or public policy. A good understanding of research methodology, economics, and econometrics is strongly preferred.Experience: Up to two years of relevant work experience. You may be a recent or soon-to-be graduate with related internships, or you may have previous experience in research and/or development work. You have a knack for and interest in operational, organizational, and management issues. Do you have international experience? Even better.
  • Skills: Strong and error-free writing skills are a must. You are detail-oriented, with the ability to organize information clearly and concisely without significant guidance. You are precise, clear, and creative. You are comfortable working in or learning computer applications, including Google Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, and Salesforce.
  • Organization: You are a strategic thinker. You can handle multiple projects at once, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time. You have a clear and strong vision and appreciation for how your work improves the ED’s productivity and thereby contributes to the productivity of the organization itself.
  • Communication: You are a thoughtful, clear, and concise communicator. You are comfortable engaging with senior leadership and providing direct upward feedback. You can adapt your communication style to suit different audiences to ensure your intentions and messages come across clearly. You must be able to diplomatically and confidently coordinate with senior leadership across J-PAL’s regional offices.
  • Cultural competencies: You are comfortable and adept at working in a diverse and multicultural work environment, with colleagues, partners and policymakers from around the world. You display sensitivity and adaptability to cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality, and age differences. You enjoy the opportunity to travel both domestically and internationally.
  • Attitude: You love learning. You are passionate about international development policy and the rigorous research that informs it. You are agile, adaptable, self-motivated, hardworking, and collaborative. You respond well to feedback and consistently follow up to ensure positive outcomes. You are curious about how senior-level management decisions are made and executed.
  • Commitment: The ideal candidate will be able to stay at J-PAL for at least three years.

How To Apply

Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Apply now.

All candidates should apply through the MIT human resources system. Please note that because this position is not eligible for any kind of visa sponsorship, candidates must be authorized to work in the United States.

To apply, please submit a short application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit, search for job ID 19307, and complete an application.

Note for interested applicants who have already applied to the Policy Associate position at J-PAL Global: This is a separate position with a portfolio that overlaps in parts with the Policy Associate role but requires a unique set of skills. Candidates must apply to this specific position to be considered for the role, even if they have recently applied to the Policy Associate or other positions at J-PAL. In your cover letter, please detail how your experience positions you to succeed in this specific role.

Please upload a single PDF document of the following components into the “Resume” field on the MIT portal:

  1. Cover letter (one page) clearly outlining: (1) Why you are interested in J-PAL and this role specifically. (2) How you are qualified and a good fit for the CPR Associate to the ED role, and, and (3) Your start date availability
  2. Resume/CV (no more than two pages)
  3. Transcripts (unofficial transcripts are fine)

Note: Incomplete applications will not be considered, nor will applications that did not follow the above instructions. Please read the instructions clearly before applying. Specifically, please be sure to include all three components (cover letter, resume, transcripts) in a single PDF in the “Resume” field.

Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing test. Finalists will be called for a series of in-person or Zoom interviews. The process can last 2-3 months. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we will not follow up individually with all applicants.

Please note: For applicants who successfully advance to the final stage, we will require two recommendations. We will provide you with instructions on the logistics of this step at the appropriate time.

For more information about working at J-PAL, please visit this webpage.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.

To apply, please visit:

Type: Full Time

Start date: 07/01/2021