Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) seeks a qualified Research Associate (RA) or Senior Research Associate (SRA) based in Medellin, Colombia, to support two exciting research projects. Both projects study organized crime in Medellín from an Economic and Political Science perspective and combine quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.

The first project studies the industrial organization and political economy of gangs, including how these “firms” and their markets are organized, how they compete and engage in violent conflict, and how and why they govern civilians (more information about this project can be found here). The second project is focused on understanding, from a behavioral perspective, why adolescents decide to join gangs - the factors they weigh into the decision, the beliefs they have about the potential benefits and risks, and the alternative career paths they consider.

Both research projects have the ultimate goal of developing and evaluating policy interventions that can help policymakers reduce the negative impacts that gangs have across communities in low- and middle-income countries around the world.

The team of principal investigators of these projects is comprised of Christopher Blattman (The University of Chicago), Gustavo Duncan (Universidad EAFIT), Benjamin Lessing (The University of Chicago), María Aranzazu Rodríguez (Princeton University), Santiago Tobón (Universidad EAFIT), and Pierre-Luc Vautrey (MIT).

This position provides an excellent opportunity to gain extensive academic research experience in a vibrant organization undertaking cutting‐edge development research.

  • Plan, supervise, and conduct quantitative and qualitative data collections including surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups, archive research, etc.
  • Clean, manage, and analyze qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Produce reports and policy documents for donors, researchers, and other stakeholders.
  • Design and implement monitoring systems to measure intervention program take-up and compliance.
  • Manage communication between administrative and research staff, principal investigators, implementing partners, and donors.
  • Recruit, train, and manage project staff.
  • Support project development and budgeting activities.
  • Perform related duties as assigned by the supervisor.
  • Maintain compliance with all company policies and procedures.


  • Bachelor’s degree in economics, political science, public policy, or related disciplines. A Master’s degree in these disciplines is preferred.


  • Experience conducting academic research. Experience collecting, processing, and analyzing data is strongly preferred.

Knowledge and Interests

  • Interest in academic research about urban organized crime in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Knowledge and interest in experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluation methodologies as well as data collection techniques and data analysis methodologies.

IT Skills

  • Proficiency in using Stata, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Abilities programming with Latex and using QGIS/ArcGIS, R and Phyton are considered a plus.

Soft Skills

  • Communication. Excellent verbal and written communication skills in Spanish and English, and ability to present information in an insightful and structured manner.
  • Flexibility. Ability to adapt to change, manage uncertainty and ambiguity, and willingness to learn.
  • Time management. Ability to plan objectives, prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and work efficiently.
  • Teamwork. Ability to work with others respectfully, under efficient collaboration schemes, appreciating diversity, accepting, and applying feedback, and being reliable regarding due dates and task completion.

Other. Attention to detail, high organization, and ability to work independently and carry out assignments to completion within parameters of instructions given prescribed routines, and standard accepted practices.

Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Research Associate / Senior Research Associate, Colombia”. Applications require you to include two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts. Note that you are able to submit your application without the recommendation letters. However, please be advised that we will be requiring them should you be invited for an interview.

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 600 leading academics to conduct over 830 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

Innovations for Poverty Action is an affirmative action equal opportunity employer. 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 or via phone at 1-202-386-6200. 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

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