IPA seeks a qualified applicant for the position of Project Director in Mexico.

The project is led by Rodrigo Canales at the Yale School of Management, together with Jim Baron (Yale School of Management), Amy Wrzesniewski (Yale School of Management), Tom R. Tyler (Yale Law School), and Mushfiq Mobarak (Yale University).  In addition to leading the project, the project director will also act as IPA’s country representative in Mexico, and in that capacity, will lead the development of new projects in IPA Mexico.

Project Description:

Crime, violence, and a weak rule of law jointly present some of the most pressing issues for Latin America. They affect citizen behavior and relations at every level of society, so these shortcomings impose a significant cost on the economy and constitute a severe threat to economic development and political stability. This project seeks to explore how to design local police forces in Mexico (and Latin America more broadly) that can rise to the challenge of reducing violence, increasing institutional legitimacy and trust in institutions, and strengthening the rule of law. The project thus focuses on three sets of questions:

  1. The specific organizational capabilities and structural characteristics that are systematically proven to deliver better results (or questions of basic organizational design);
  2. the process and sequence through which these organizational capabilities should be incorporated into new or existing police organizations (or questions of organizational construction and change);
  3. how, given an organizational design, police organizations can build citizen engagement, participation, and trust through their protocols, practices, and interactions with citizens (or questions of the enactment of practices). This includes an understanding of how police organizations in Mexico should implement evidence-based interventions that have been proven to effectively reduce violence.

To address these questions, the proposed project will work in two parallel streams. The first will be in close collaboration with the National Security Commission (CNS) and will focus on questions of organizational capabilities and design—(a) and (b) above. The second stream will be in partnership with the Mexico City Police (SSPCDMX) and will focus on questions of the enactment of practices and interactions with citizens—(c) above.

The Project Director will work closely with IPA Regional Director in project strategic planning, guaranteeing high research standards, managing project external relations with academic researcher and high level government officials, managing a team of local and international staff, and guaranteeing sound operation in the country. This position provides a unique opportunity to be closely involved in cutting-edge, policy-relevant research and to work with top academics in development research.


Oversee high-quality research

  • Conduct project and budget planning during the initial stages of the project to ensure evaluations meet IPA standards and costing structures.
  • Manage relationships with and provide services to Principal Investigators (academic researchers).
  • Ensure that IPA research is implemented according to IPA’s quality standards and Principal Investigators’ direction.
  • Help build, structure, and manage local research teams on the ground, including the management of local partners who will help with different components of the project.
  • Provide research management for Research Associates and project teams.
  • Oversee data collection and data entry operations for all studies and ensure projects meet IPA’s research protocols and data quality standards (includes electronic survey).
  • Manage project budgets and donor reporting, in coordinating with IPA’s global Grants team.
  • Build systems and structures to ensure overall data quality.
  • Work to incorporate best practices and lessons learned in research and operations by other IPA offices and research affiliates.

Manage external relations and new project development

  • Represent IPA Mexico to national and local government agencies and partner organizations.
  • Manage relationships with the project’s partner organizations, ensuring an excellent coordination and reporting of project activities.
  • Work with various partners and donors to develop new projects

Ensure sound operation and oversee finances

  • Oversee and manage a team of Research Associate and project members.
  • Oversee and manage human resources, IT, operations, and finance; manage the Finance Manager.
  • Oversee finance systems to ensure the systems are robust and compliant with strict donor requirements.
  • Ensure proper compliance with financial procedures, approve expenditures, make accurate projections and ensure overall compliance.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills.
  • A track record of successful coordination across multiple teams across multiple locations.
  • A strong understanding of the motives behind research and impact evaluation. Experience or familiarity with RCTs highly preferred.
  • Strong quantitative skills.
  • 5+ year of professional experience, and at least one experience of working with academic researchers in the fields of economics or quantitative political science, public health, or equivalent.
  • Master’s degree in international affairs, international public policy, development economics, or field related to international economic development.
  • Experience with budgeting and project planning.
  • Ability to lead a large and complex research project.
  • Excellent management and organizational skills and ability to work independently.
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player.
  • Proficiency in Spanish and English.
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Country Representative/Project Director, Mexico”.  Most applications for research positions require you to include at minimum two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts.

Note that you are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application.

Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

About IPA 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 


Innovations for Poverty Action is an EO Employer-MF/Veteran/Disability. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected class. IPA will endeavor to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business. If you believe you require such assistance to complete this form or to participate in an interview, please contact us at jobs@poverty-action.org or via phone at 1-203-772-2216. Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the specified position. The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to jobs@poverty-action.org.

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.