IPA has a strong and expanding body of research––more than 100 randomized evaluations--on interventions that aim to improve access to quality health services, promote the use of health-promoting services and products, and encourage healthy behaviors, among other policy-relevant topics. With our research affiliates, we have discovered effective solutions to expand coverage of insecticide-treated bed nets, increase uptake of chlorine use for safe water, examined the role of subsidies in improving access to preventive health, and found ways to recruit effective community health workers.

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 Health & Nutrition 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 fundraising efforts to support core sector activities, hiring a team, and developing the Health and Nutrition Sector Program’s vision, scope, systems, and agenda. The position will be based in Washington DC, New York, NY, or New Haven, CT.

The Health and Nutrition Director provides leadership and strategic guidance for the current execution and future growth of IPA’s health and nutrition related research and policy work. This includes wide ranging work streams from high level relationship building, research project development, financial and grant management, program and donor development, and developing a network of academic researchers. The Health and Nutrition 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 health sector research experience 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 smoothly translating academic research into sensible policy recommendations to being able to think through the operational logistics of carrying out field work in difficult settings. Being successful in this role  will also require the ability to develop strong professional networks with academics in the fields of both public health and economics. This will require the director to not only bridge the gap between practitioners and academics but also bridge multiple academic disciplines. 

  • Develop the Health and Nutrition Program’s vision, scope, systems, and 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 health and nutrition 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;
  • 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.
  • Ph.D. in Public Health or Health Policy preferred. Advanced degree in Economics, Public Policy, International Development, or related field may also be considered;
  • At least seven years of work experience (five minimum with a Ph.D.) in public health, nutrition, and/or global health 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 health area, nutrition preferred;
  • Demonstrates 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 post-conflict states;
  • Demonstrated ability to carry 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, including finance and HR;
  • 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 (including while traveling);
  • 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 developing 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.
Application Instructions 

To apply click here.  Please submit a resume and cover letter, applications without a resume and cover letter will be considered incomplete.

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.