Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) seeks a highly motivated, technically skilled Senior Research Associate, who is passionate about working in Africa with large amount of data on issues of political economy. The Senior Research Associate will work closely with lead researchers at Stanford and MIT, civil society groups, and Sierra Leone’s major political parties, as well as the IPA Country Director on a large scale Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) in the run up to Sierra Leone’s nation and local elections in 2018. The RCT will examine the impact of greater openness in the process political parties use to select candidates as well as the impact, at scale, of debates between candidates from different parties in the general election. The study will start in the summer of 2017 run through Sierra Leone general election in 2018.

The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research. The work will stretch your analytical, inter-personal and management skills and will require your full commitment in a challenging environment. This position will be based in Freetown, but will require frequent field visits throughout Sierra Leone as well as close cooperation with the rest of the research team both in Sierra Leone and in the US.

A previous RCT during the last election showed that public debate screenings improved voters’ general political knowledge, as well as knowledge of specific candidates and their policy positions. They further improved the alignment between the voters’ reported policy positions and those of the candidates they voted for. Candidates also conducted more visits and increased campaign spending. Additionally, in the year after their election MPs who participated in the debates engaged more and invested more in their constituency among other notable impacts. The study can be found here.

  • Ensure adherence to data quality protocols, including overseeing staff, monitoring data collection, conducting data quality audits, and ensuring data security
  • Manage the high-level logistics of large-scale field experiments, including managing budgets, timelines, and procurement
  • Coordinate effectively across multiple stakeholders
  • Coordinate effectively with Country Director and Principle Investigators
  • Coordinate the revision and field piloting of survey instruments, including development of tracking instrument and protocol for reducing attrition
  • Hiring, training, and managing project staff
  • Assist in data checks, cleaning and analysis
  • Ensure timely exchange of data and information between IPA and partners, incl. participating in meetings with key stakeholders and presenting research findings
  • Write reports detailing research findings and propose recommendations
  • Ensure that all necessary research permit and human subjects approvals are in place
  • Perform related duties as assigned by the Country Director
  • Maintain compliance with all IPA policies and procedures
  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in economics, public policy, political science, international development, or related fields.
  • Strong statistical skills and previous team management experience.
  • Strong interest in electoral processes, civic education, governance, and other related topics a plus
  • Expertise in Stata or R required.
  • Excellent organizational skills; meticulous attention to detail required.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including ability to effectively communicate with high-level external partners.
  • Excellent coordination skills and experience in understanding different stakeholder perspectives.
  • Must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines, while maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Ability to work independently and to carry out assignments to completion within parameters of instructions given, prescribed routines, and standard accepted practices.
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently and a team player.
  • Experience working or living in developing countries desirable.
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials.
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Senior Research Associate, Debates”.  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 non-profit 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 400 leading academics to conduct over 600 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.