Working with IPA
Project Development
Research Review Committee (RRC)
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Staff Training
Project Management
Employing Staff

Research Resources
Research Protocols
Research Transparency
Departments & Contacts
Country Office Contacts
Staff Directory
Researcher Directory

FAQs

General

  • Who should I contact for (insert any reason)? As a Researcher, your primary point of contact should be the Country Director or Country Representative in the country where your research activities are taking place.
    • See a complete listing of IPA’s country contacts here and a list of functional departments and responsibilities here.
    • What should I do if the country director does not know, is not responding, or it is a multi-country issue? If you are are new to IPA, then please contact pd@poverty-action.org. If it is something in a specific region, then please contact the Regional Director.
  • What services does IPA provide researchers? IPA provides a broad range of project management and research oversight services to our research network, supporting projects throughout their lifecycle. This includes:
    • Data collection and management: IPA/J-PAL Research Protocols, Research Resources, and additional IPA support services
    • Research project staffing, including recruiting, hiring, training, and managing outstanding Research Assistants
    • A deep, lasting in-country presence with networks of contacts in civil society, government, and academia
    • Support with early stages of concept development, and research design through the Research Review Committee
    • Assistance with identifying funding opportunities, grant applications, and proposal budgets
    • Grants administration and financial management
    • Legal support for risk management and to ensure compliance with, for example, local labor and immigration laws.
    • Institutional Review Board protocols and compliance
    • Human resources and staffing support
    • Training services
    • Communications and dissemination support for research findings
    • Code check prior to data publication; assistance with date curation and data sharing

 

Project Development

  • I’m interested in starting a project with IPA, what do I do? At this time, IPA is focusing on project development in countries where we currently have country programs. Details on our global presence is available here. If the country you want to work in is on this list, please reach out to the relevant IPA contact listed below as soon as possible. They will discuss the feasibility of your project and determine any next steps for moving forward. An ideal timeframe for contacting IPA is at least 4-6 week in advance of any donor deadline.
  • The country I want to work in isn’t on this list. What do I do? You can reach out to our partner organizations which work in different countries than IPA including J-PAL, CEGA, CERP, EPoD, etc if appropriate.
  • IPA approved my concept, and we are going to prepare a proposal submission. What should I expect? IPA Country Directors/Representatives will work with you on all proposal inputs, including the narrative and budget, based on a set process and timeline for final submission according to IPA internal procedures. Most proposals must go through IPA’s Research Review Committee (RRC) which provides an opportunity for academic feedback to ensure the quality and feasibility of project proposals. Researchers may be exempt if they meet one of the exemptions laid out here. Typically the researcher will do the heavy lifting on writing up the technical parts of the proposal (research design, power calcs, etc), while IPA will take the lead on drafting the budget based on the agreed upon project. Researchers will have the opportunity to review and comment on the draft budget. Researchers must get all materials to IPA at least 3 business days before the donor’s deadline. This is critical to ensure sufficient leeway for a final internal review, making any final changes in collaboration with the Researcher, and packaging and submitting the proposal.
  • Can I submit a proposal naming IPA as a partner and tell you if/when I win? No. A researcher should not submit any proposal which names IPA as a partner unless you have been in contact with country management, and they have given their approval for you to submit. IPA should be involved in all steps of the proposal/project development, especially in writing the proposal budget to ensure we can cover our costs.
  • How do I become an IPA Researcher? The majority of our researchers are PhD-level researchers at academic institutions (see our directory here). If you meet these qualifications and are interested in working with IPA as a researcher, please reach out to the most relevant country contact.
  • How do I begin to budget for a project with IPA? For an introduction to the process of budgeting for a new project with IPA, see this section on the Project Development page.

Research

  • What is the Research Review Committee? Who can be exempt? IPA’s RRC was formed to provide an opportunity for academic feedback and to ensure the quality and feasibility (given the context) of project proposals written by potential IPA researchers. Researchers may be exempt if they meet one of the exemptions laid out here.
  • I have questions about IPA’s IRB process? Please see our list of IRB FAQs here.
  • What are IPA’s research protocols? What is additionally recommended? IPA’s extensive experience in managing academic-level research surveys for RCTs has led it and J-PAL to jointly develop a standard set of procedures and processes for managing research projects. These protocols include specific requirements for adhering to human subjects regulations, developing survey instruments, fielding data collection teams, implementing data quality reviews, and producing and cleaning datasets for analysis. Read them here.
  • What resources are available for survey assistance? IPA’s Research & Knowledge Management team provides:
    • Research Resources: a central repository of manuals, guidelines, templates, and examples of documents for research projects. Read more
    • Random Help Google Group: an online form and support helpline for people working on RCTs. Read more

 

Hiring

  • How do I get staff hired on a research project? Decisions regarding project staffing should be made in collaboration between researchers and country management, with country management reserving final decision-making authority. Read more about the process here.
  • Can I hire project staff in countries without an IPA country office? IPA limits hiring project staff to IPA country locations. Please see our list of current countries here. Limitations to domestic hiring relate to IPA’s state registrations. Note that this is a change in practice from prior years.
  • What are IPA’s staffing costs? For purposes of project budgeting, researchers should work closely with country management to arrange the appropriate staffing plan on the project. Read more on IPA’s international salary structure here.
     

Finance and Donor Communications

  • What Financial Reports will I receive, and when? You will receive monthly, budget vs actual reports on main project expenditures. These reports will typically be sent 30 days after month end.
    • What should I do if I am not receiving these? Contact the Country Director.
  • What types of reports does IPA provide?
    • Financial system reports in Sage versus donor reports - There are two types of reports – the financial system reports from the Sage General Ledger System and reports which summarize allowable grant costs and accompany the invoice to the donor. The financial system reports (at the project level) in Sage reflect our actual expenses, including country office support costs. These are real costs that are actually incurred by the project - e.g. country management's work on the project, rent or country administrative support.
    • The donor report includes costs that were agreed upon in the grant budget.
    • Some things may be rightly included in the financial system report, but not be included in the donor report because it is important to determine exactly how much a project really costs to complete.
  • How can I receive reimbursement?
    • Researchers receiving compensation in any form will be set up in Replicon, a cloud-based time and expense management software platform
      • Through Replicon, researchers can request both compensation as well as any project-related expense reimbursement
      • A designated approver within IPA, usually staff within country management, will be alerted to researchers’ requests
      • After review and approval, the request will be sent to Global Accounts Payable section for processing
    • Researchers who do not receive compensation, but who may incur expenses that need to be reimbursed, will not use Replicon
      • Instead, researchers will need to use a standard IPA expense report template and submit their reimbursement requests to the designated country management approver who will review and approve requests
      • After review and approval, the request will be sent to Global Accounts Payable section for processing
  • Can I communicate formally with my donors? Because IPA is the institution of legal record on all grants and contracts, all formal communications with donors must be routed through the relevant staff on the Grants Team. Failure to do so could jeopardize IPA’s compliance with donor rules and regulations. This relates to proposal submission, donor reporting, and any communications during the grant award or requests for changes to the terms of the agreement, including extensions.


Research Transparency

  • Do all research studies have to be registered in the AEA RCT Registry? Yes, all IPA studies are required to register. Registration of a pre-analysis plan, in addition to registering more basic information about the study, is optional. Read more.
  • Is data publication required for IPA studies? IPA requires that researchers share data from IPA-implemented and IPA-funded research projects in our public repository. The timeframe for sharing is three years following the completion of final data collection. The timeframe is intended to allow time for publication; where a first major publication is still pending, we will work with researchers on an extended timeframe. (We also welcome materials earlier, when it is feasible.) Read more.
  • Will IPA provide staff support for data publication? Yes, IPA has staff support available to help with preparing data and other materials for publication, as well as to add materials to our repository. We are happy to offer assistance with code checks and other tasks prior to publication upon request, as this may often be a helpful service to researchers asked to share data/code with journals. Please reach out to Research Support to get started or read more here.
  • I have other questions about data sharing? Read our Guidelines for Data Publication here or contact the Research Transparency team.

 

Communications & Policy Outreach

  • Will IPA support the dissemination of my research findings? Yes, IPA’s Communications Team works closely with country offices and program teams to promote findings through online study summaries, dissemination events, blogs, social media, and traditional media. Reach out to comms@poverty-action.org to get started.
  • Will IPA produce a policy brief for my project? Yes, IPA’s Communication’s Team will support the writing and design of policy briefs. Reach out to comms@poverty-action.org to get started with a quote.
  • Do I get to approve the project summary language? Yes, IPA seeks approval from the appropriate researcher on the language that IPA uses to describe our studies in IPA publications and outreach activities. Once we have obtained approval on standard language from the researcher for dissemination, we may continue to use the approved standard language in other mediums.