The Education Program at Innovations for Poverty Action rigorously evaluates programs that aim to improve education outcomes and school attendance, works in close collaboration with policymakers and practitioners to share and use that evidence, and is expanding our work co-creating research with governments and supporting Ministries of Education with knowledge systems strengthening.
IPA has a strong and expanding body of research––more than 50 randomized evaluations--on interventions that aim to improve access to education or education quality. In partnership with academic leaders in the field, our work has produced evidence on how to keep kids in school, such as through school-based deworming or sharing information on the benefits of schooling, and on how to make sure kids learn while there, such as in our teacher community assistant initiative in Ghana and through incentives, such as merit scholarships for students.
In the coming years, IPA is strengthening its focus to deliver better on its mission to discover and promote effective solutions to global poverty problems. We are focusing our efforts on moving evidence to policy and practice by leveraging existing evidence and developing new studies to create bodies of evidence in a more intentional way. The Education Director is a new strategic leadership position and will be responsible for leveraging our current research in this area to build a new sector program so that IPA is better able to fulfill its mission in this sector. This will involve developing the Education Sector Program’s vision, scope, and research agenda, hiring a team, and fundraising to support core sector activities. The position will be based in Washington DC, New York, NY, or New Haven, CT.
The Education Director provides leadership and strategic guidance for the current execution and future growth of IPA’s education-related research and policy work. This includes wide-ranging work streams from high-level relationship building, research project development and management, financial and grant management, program and donor development, and developing a network of academic researchers. The Education Director will work with and grow the pool of affiliated researchers, and will collaborate closely with IPA Country Programs and partners to develop research studies and a strategy to build bodies of evidence to inform policy and practice. To be successful, s/he will need to have strong education sector research experience (ideally using RCTs), have a good network in the sector, be a highly dynamic, analytical and driven individual who can build relationships and excel in a range of tasks from working with partners to develop research designs to translating academic research into sensible policy recommendations. Being successful in this role will also require the ability to develop strong professional networks with academics in the fields of both education and economics. This will require the director to not only bridge the gap between practitioners and academics but also bridge multiple academic disciplines.
Core responsibilities include the following:
- Develop the Education Program’s vision, scope, and research agenda;
- Spearhead fundraising efforts to support core sector activities and new research studies;
- Lead global policy outreach and policy relationships in the sector, oversee related policy and communications activities, and coordinate with relevant counterparts for local policy outreach in individual countries;
- Hire and manage global staff, and support IPA country office staff, particularly in countries where education is a priority sector, engaging with IPA partners to implement the Sector Program’s research and policy objectives in those countries;
- Work closely with affiliated principal investigators and attract new ones to identify and develop research opportunities that answer key questions in the sector, with frequent travel to support project development and set-up;
- Maintain key relationships among parties including donors, key sectoral partners, internal research and policy leadership, and senior academics around the world;
- Represent IPA at high-level external policy and research functions and meetings with key players in the sector;
- Ensure smooth administration of the Program, including financial and administrative oversight, project management, and grant reporting;
- Support the Policy, Right-Fit Evidence, and Country teams in the expansion of the embedded evidence labs model in education, providing technical education expertise and analytical leadership
- Lead the development of the Sector Program’s researcher and practitioner network and engagement; interfacing with senior researchers in determining key research questions and priorities for the initiative; engaging with in-country researchers from South Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa to bring a discussion of current evidence into local research and policy debates;
- Produce original research and/or policy outputs, including research synthesis, in collaboration with the Program’s future academic lead(s) and the Research & Policy team.
- Advanced degree in Education, Economics, and/or Public Policy (PhD preferred).
- At least seven years of work experience (three minimum with a Ph.D.) in education, and/or global education research;
- Strategic thinker with strong vision for how to develop key partnerships that will lead to groundbreaking research and position IPA as a major voice in the sector;
- Expertise in at least one subsector of education;
- Excellent communication, client management and presentation skills;
- Demonstrated ability to raise funds; experience in proposal writing essential;
- Familiarity with quantitative research, randomized trials, international development programs and issues facing fragile and conflict-affected states;
- Demonstrated ability to maintain high-level relationships with both western and developing country partners, including donors, international development practitioners, or academic researchers;
- Experience managing staff and successfully working across teams;
- Project and grant management experience, including budget management, grant reporting, and coordinating diverse and diffuse co-workers;
- Demonstrated project management skills, including budgeting, attention to operational and research details, and ability to manage multiple projects efficiently;
- Notable experience with field research or program implementation in developing countries a plus.
- Experience building a program and/or team a plus;
- Experience authoring and publishing peer-reviewed academic research in a relevant field a plus;
- Experience organizing policy events as well as producing policy resources and publications a plus;
- Personal characteristics that are highly valued include analytic ability, curiosity, humor, self-awareness, and humility.
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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.
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