Innovations for Poverty Action seeks a qualified Senior Research Associate (SRA) to primarily manage the GiveDirectly Cash Benchmarking Evaluation and serve as a technical lead for other IPA Liberia projects.

The SRA will have the opportunity to work on a 3,000-household study that examines cash transfers to alleviate hunger and poverty among rural farming households in Liberia. The study will evaluate the impact of cash transfers, delivered by GiveDirectly, on rural poor households in Liberia. In Liberia, small-scale agriculture employs the vast majority of the rural population, in spite of low levels of productivity and farming income. In addition to the transfers, the team is also implementing an agricultural market access intervention to understand how greater access to agricultural inputs impacts the investment into productivity-enhancing assets for farmers in the study. Another key component of the study is a high-frequency phone survey, which will be used to evaluate the dynamic impacts of the cash transfers. This study also seeks to evaluate the effects of new methodologies such as audio computer-assisted interviews on reporting of sensitive issues.

The study will be implemented in close coordination with Give Directly and USAID. The Principal Investigators are Jon Robinson (University of California, Santa Cruz), Jenny Aker (Tufts University), Alan Spearot (University of California, Santa Cruz) and Shilpa Agarwal (India School of Business).

The Senior Research Associate will provide high level technical expertise and leadership to the primary project. Additionally, the SRA will work closely with senior management to ensure effective support is provided to other IPA projects, and that projects are working within the relevant minimum must do policies and procedures. The SRA will be the thought leader and systems thinker, ensuring that all projects benefit from IPA’s new creative technical innovations, coding systems and research best practices. The SRA will be mentored by senior management team to develop their skills in areas of project development and policy conversations as well as capacity building for themselves and their colleagues in Liberia.

This position provides an excellent opportunity to gain extensive hands‐on experience in a field setting and to have significant management responsibility in a vibrant organization undertaking cutting‐edge development research, as well as the opportunity to work in close collaboration with a private sector developing country partner.

Key areas of involvement will include: supervising a field manager and 40+ enumeration team, coordinating and collaborating with the partner and donor, designing survey questionnaires, recruiting, training and managing survey teams, designing and supervising logistics for the field activities, cleaning and analyzing survey data, assisting in the writing of project reports and policy memos, and liaising with key government and nongovernmental stakeholders. The work will develop your analytical and management skills and require your full commitment in a challenging environment. 


The Senior Research Associate will perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to:


  • Keep the Country Director and Research Manager apprised of all developments on the projects in their portfolio, and serve as key link between the field office, project staff, and Principal Investigators
  • Ensure project adherence in the field to general research design, sample selection, data management and analysis, and overall project management
  • Oversee project financial management, including creation and monitoring of project budgets, and ensure smooth integration of projects into IPA financial systems
  • Directly supervise project research staff, and support Research Manager in staff transitions, on-boarding of new research staff and maintaining “institutional memory” of project activities
  • Coordinate research and implementation efforts with all relevant stakeholders
  • Develop and pilot the survey instruments, including programming digital data collection
  • Ensure that project deliverables, such as reports and financial statements, are submitted to donors and partners on time
  • Provide high level statistical data analysis including regression analysis, correlation statistics and balance tables
  • Lead training on data management and general project management for new/incoming project research staff
  • Promote inter-project best practices and take a lead in sharing best practices with projects through formal and informal training opportunities
  • Be the point of contact for data management for project staff
  • Attend meetings with local government officials and partners to ensure success of both project specific and key IPA programmatic activities
  • When requested, support the dissemination of results via presentations and reports to academic and non-academic audiences
  • Support the Country Director and Research Manager in the development of new research studies in cooperation with principal investigators and partner organizations
  • A degree (Master’s preferred) in economics, political science, public policy, international development, or related fields.
  • Excellent project management skills and attention to detail, with a quality-focused mindset.
  • Experience interacting with partners, government officials and other key stakeholders.
  • Cultural sensitivity and demonstrated ability to work successfully with diverse constituencies.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.
  • Ability to work independently, problem-solve, and enlist support when needed.
  • Strong quantitative skills and proficient knowledge of STATA.
  • Must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Experience working in Liberia or the West African context would be preferable.
  • Knowledge of randomized controlled trials and econometrics.
  • Knowledge of measurement and instrument development.
  • Experience supervising data collection and teams of field workers. 
  • Demonstrated ability to lead staff efficiently to achieve project goals.
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently and a team player.

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience working (preferably in a research-related capacity) in developing countries in the region.
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials and other quasi-experimental designs
  • Someone wanting to pursue a PhD track and undertaken data analysis
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Senior Research Associate, Cash Benchmarking Evaluation”.  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 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

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