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Policy and Communications Associate - J-PAL Global

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of over 260 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.

The Policy & Communications Group plays a key role in translating research by J-PAL affiliates into actionable poverty alleviation policies around the world. Staff connect the dots between economics and policy and are passionate about working with organizations to form partnerships for evidence-informed development policy.

J-PAL is recruiting a Policy and Communications Associate to contribute to this mission of promoting evidence-informed policy. The position will be based in Cambridge, MA, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (J-PAL Global staff are currently expected to be in the office a minimum of one day per week. When Covid restrictions end, staff will be expected to be in the office Monday through Wednesday and may work remotely Thursday and Friday.) Visa sponsorship is not available for this position. Only applications following all instructions at the bottom of this page will be considered.

J-PAL values diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our work and the broader perspectives our staff bring. We encourage people of color, first-generation college students/graduates, and other underrepresented groups to apply to this role. In your cover letter, please consider sharing how your racial, gender, socioeconomic, and/or other identity has influenced your drive and desire to work at J-PAL. (This is not required, but rather an opportunity for us to get to know you.)  Read more about J-PAL Global's commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The Policy and Communications Associate's primary responsibilities include:
Writing and editing (30%): Work with J-PAL subject matter experts to write and edit communications materials, including blog posts, email campaigns, newsletters, op-eds, press releases, media pitches, policy briefs, and evaluation summaries that highlight the results and policy implications of academic research.

Own J-PAL’s social media presence (20%): Develop and execute strategy and daily content for J-PAL’s Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts that engage our target audiences of researchers, policymakers, and partners. This includes helping internal subject matter experts translate complex economics research into plain language suitable for broad audiences, working with J-PAL’s lead designers and video production team to create content tailored for social media, and regularly analyzing metrics to identify and act upon user trends. 

Strategic communications (20%): Serve as a core member of J-PAL’s communications team, developing multi-platform communications strategies for new research results, policy insights, and the launch of major J-PAL partnerships and initiatives. Provide communications guidance, training, and support for staff in regional offices to help raise J-PAL’s profile and policy reach across J-PAL’s seven regions. Support website content updates, new website features, and email marketing campaigns. 

Lead alumni engagement (10%): Create and edit J-PAL’s quarterly alumni email newsletter, developing new written and multimedia features to showcase former J-PAL staff who have gone on to serve in leadership positions in government, nonprofits, the private sector, and academia.

Topic specialization (20%): Develop in-depth knowledge of RCT research in one of J-PAL’s
sectors (Agriculture, Crime, Violence, & Conflict, Education, Environment, Energy, & Climate Change, Finance, Firms, Gender, Health, Labor Markets, and Political Economy & Governance) and provide evidence support to policymakers. The associate may also have the opportunity to support the administration of competitive research funds and support partnership development between implementing groups and research affiliates to spark new research projects.

As a member of the MIT community, you benefit from more than just your salary. 
J-PAL hires highly qualified staff and rewards them accordingly. Total compensation packages are competitive for the non-profit international development field with excellent MIT benefits, including comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match and pension-based retirement plan, tuition assistance, commuter benefits, MIT community discounts, a generous vacation policy, and more. We like working at MIT and think you will too.

The ideal candidate is familiar with quantitative impact evaluation methods, has experience in marketing and communications related to social policy or international development, is creative and analytical, and has a strong interest in J-PAL’s mission.

Education: You hold at least a bachelor’s degree with intermediate-level training in economics (econometrics, statistics, and/or quantitative analysis training is a plus). Do you have a demonstrated academic interest in journalism, public policy, international development, marketing and communications, and/or international experience? Even better.

Technical skills: You are familiar (through coursework, independent research, or professional experience) with quantitative impact evaluation methods, including randomized evaluations and quasi-experimental evaluations.

Experience: Two years of relevant work experience. You may be a recent or soon-to-be graduate with related internships, or you may have previous experience in research, communications, and/or development work.

Communication: You are detail-oriented and have advanced writing and editing skills. You understand how to craft a story to communicate a message, including drawing out policy lessons from technical academic research in ways that policymakers, practitioners, and the general public can understand. You are precise, clear, and creative. Accuracy and thoroughness are important to you; you know when to ask the right questions to gather the information you need.

Organization: You are efficient and organized. You enjoy working on several projects at once and have a proven ability to plan, prioritize, and meet tight deadlines. 

Cultural competencies: You are comfortable and adept at working in a diverse and multicultural work environment, with colleagues, partners, and policymakers from around the world. You display sensitivity, adaptability, and inclusivity in your engagement with people from diverse backgrounds including age, ability, culture, gender, nationality, race and ethnicity, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and other identities. We appreciate candidates who have familiarity with concepts and frameworks such as racial equity or gender analyses. 

Language skills: English language fluency (written and spoken) is required. Knowledge of Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, French, Portuguese, Spanish, or other languages spoken in our regions of work is a plus, but not required.

Attitude: You love learning, and look forward to enthusiastically taking on a broad range of communications-related assignments. You thrive when working as part of a team to achieve shared goals. You are passionate about the importance of communications to effectively translate research into effective policies and programs, and excited about diving deep into economics papers to pull
out key policy lessons. You are adaptable, self-motivated, hardworking, and collaborative.

How to Apply

Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Apply now.
Applications are due January 30, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET. Given the large volume of applications we receive, only the first 60 eligible applications are guaranteed to be considered, after which additional applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as needed. For this reason, we encourage applicants to apply early.
All candidates must apply through the MIT human resources system and must submit our Google Form (details below). 
MIT does not sponsor visas for this position. Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the United States for a minimum of two years. 
To apply, please follow the two-step process below. (Note: Due to the high volume of applications that we receive, applications that do not follow these instructions will not be considered).
1 Submit a short application via MIT’s human resources system: Visit, search for job ID 20586 (Policy and Communications Associate - J-PAL Global) and complete the application. In the “Resume” field on the MIT portal, please upload a single PDF document that includes the following materials:
  • Cover letter outlining why you are interested in J-PAL Global and why you are qualified for this role.
  • Resume.
  • Transcripts (unofficial transcripts accepted).
If you have questions about these instructions, please email for assistance.
2 Complete this Google Form. The form will ask questions about your qualifications, and you will be asked to submit your cover letter, resume, and transcripts as a combined PDF through this form, as you did in the MIT system.
Note: Incomplete applications will not be considered; please be sure to include all three components (cover letter, resume, official or unofficial transcripts) in a single PDF file in the “Resume” field on MIT’s human resources system, and complete the Google Form. 
If you experience technical difficulties preventing you from applying, please email for assistance.
After applying:
The recruitment process can last up to three months from when the posting closes. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing exercise and a short virtual video (Zoom) interview. Finalists will be invited for an extended interview. Due to the volume of applications we receive, unfortunately we are not able to follow up individually with all applicants.
For more information about working at J-PAL, please visit this web page and our FAQ page.
MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.