IPA Sierra Leone in partnership with Project on Resources and Governance (PRG) is seeking a highly-motivated and conscientious research professional to work on a project on governance of mineral resources in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is rich in precious minerals and mining sector is hugely important to the country’s economy, representing over 90% of its exports. The (Senior) Research Associate (S/RA) will work closely with the National Minerals Agency (NMA) of Sierra Leone to design and implement policies and monitoring tools for NMA’s staff who enforce regulations in the country’s artisanal mining sector. Successful implementation of this project will help NMA determine which policies lead to higher performance from its staff and reduce corruption and smuggling of minerals. The S/RA will play a vital role in maintaining a close working relationship with NMA and other stakeholders in country. The S/RA will work under guidance of researchers at the Project on Resources and Governance (PRG).

Project on Resources and Governance (PRG) is a research initiative at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) that aims to increase the quality and use of evidence in policymaking in resource-rich countries. Developing countries with abundant natural resources are often affected by corruption, environmental degradation, and social unrest – outcomes sometimes described as a “resource curse.” While this problem has been well-characterized, comparably little is known about what policies and programs effectively address features of the resource curse. PRG seeks to address that gap by implementing and supporting evaluations of governance and developmental interventions in resource-rich countries.

The right candidate will be enthusiastic about learning, care deeply about the quality of research, and be comfortable navigating new settings and dynamics. We are a small team that values open and direct communication, critical thinking, and active collaboration. We are looking to add a similarly-minded person to our team. Commitment to quality and a fastidious and thorough approach to work are essential qualities for a successful candidate.

The S/RA will be based in Freetown, Sierra Leone with travels to mining areas of the country.

We strongly encourage people of color, women, and disabled and neurodivergent people to apply for this position. The position is open to non-U.S. citizens and current work authorization in the U.S. is not required.

  • Technical support and implementation of a training plan for NMA field officers (30%)
    • Work with NMA officials to implement training program for NMA’s field officers. This will include finalization of training materials, development of training protocol, fine-tuning set-up of mobile data collection tools, and leading training sessions as appropriate. The training is expected to take place in NMA’s four regional offices.
  • Design and implement an M&E system for the program pilot (40%)
    • Design and implement a data management system to monitor and measure intervention take-up and compliance
    • Gather qualitative and quantitative data on program implementation
    • Develop a feedback system for NMA based on collected data to continuously improve the program implementation
    • Report inconsistencies and risks of the program implementation to the researchers
  • Manage Key Relationships and serve as liaison between NMA and researchers (30%)
    • Maintain ongoing communications and in-person meetings with key decisionmakers and policymakers
    • Represent researchers’ interest at policy conversations and at events
    • Keep researchers informed about developments in Sierra Leone’s mining sector and government in general and pertinent policy conversations.
  • A degree (Master’s preferred) in economics, political science, public policy, international development, or related fields.
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills, meticulous attention to detail, ability to work independently;
  • Experience working (preferably in the field) research-related capacity
  • Experience liaising with a wide range of stakeholders, in particular, experience working with academics, policymakers, and civil society partners in developing country settings;
  • Strong quantitative skills and experience with statistical analysis packages (such as Stata or R) and GIS software is preferred;
  • 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.
  • Must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Experience working in Sierra Leone 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.
  • Working experience managing randomized controlled trials and other quasi-experimental designs
  • Someone wanting to pursue a PhD track and undertaken data analysis

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability and willingness to travel to various project sites
  • Ability to safely and successfully perform the essential job functions consistent with government standards, including meeting qualitative and/or quantitative productivity standards
  • Ability to maintain regular, punctual attendance consistent with IPA standards
  • Must be able to talk, listen and speak clearly on telephone
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Senior Research Associate, Sierra Leone”. Most applications require you to include two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts. 

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 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.