Project Research Officer - The Centre for the Evaluation of Development Policies (EDePo)
Duration: Fixed-term contract of 24 months (March/April 2018 – March/April 2020)
Salary: £40,000 - £43,000, dependent on experience
Who we are
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is the UK’s leading independent microeconomics research institute. Our goal is to promote effective economic and social policies by better understanding their impact on individuals, families, businesses and the government's finances. Our findings are based on rigorous analysis, detailed empirical evidence and in-depth institutional knowledge. We seek to communicate them effectively, to a wide range of audiences, thereby maximising their impact on policy both directly and by informing public debate.
The Centre for the Evaluation of Development Policies (EDePo), based at IFS, is a focal point for research on the impact of a range of specific interventions related to early child development, health, nutrition, skills acquisition and education, sanitation, credit and insurance, and tax and transfer policies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Work at the Centre is strongly grounded in economic theory and enriched by the development and use of innovative measurement tools and by collaboration with researchers from other disciplines. The Centre also provides support to institutions conducting evaluations and engages in advocacy on best practice in evaluations and on the design of interventions themselves.
The Project Research Officer will work with Principal Investigators (PIs) and IFS researchers to plan and manage a number of rigorous research projects to evaluate the impacts of early childhood, education and skills interventions in Colombia, Ghana and Vietnam. The Project Research Officer will work closely with, and report to, Dr. Sonya Krutikova, Associate Director of EDePo.
- Build strong relationships with a wide range of research, governmental and non-governmental partners and data collection agencies;
- Plan, manage and undertake high quality research projects from project inception to completion. This will involve working with PIs to design rigorous evaluation methodologies , develop sample frames, obtain ethical approval, develop, pilot and refine data collection instruments, oversee enumerator training and data collection activities, and develop processes and systems to assure data quality;
- Clean, compile and analyse quantitative survey and administrative data and prepare baseline, midline and endline reports. Contribute to the development and drafting of research outputs such as IFS briefing notes and working papers;
- Coordinate project communication, liaison and engagement activities and work with IFS researchers to explain research methods and disseminate research findings.
- Work with researchers to identify project funding opportunities and develop high quality funding proposals and budgets in line with both funder and IFS requirements;
- Develop realistic and implementable project plans and ensure that all project activities progress according to evaluation, implementation and donor timelines;
- Develop and manage the negotiation of research deliverables, work plans and budgets for data collection agencies and sub-contractors;
- Communicate effectively with donors, draft narrative reports and ensure the timely submission of all project milestones and deliverables.
Human resource/personnel management:
- Line manage fixed-term Research Assistants;
- Support recruitment and management of other temporary staff.
A Ph.D in Economics. Outstanding candidates with an MSc in Economics and significant relevant professional experience will be considered.
Skills and experience – essential:
- At least five years of experience in research and public policy or international development;
- An in-depth understanding of quantitative research methods and evaluation design, including randomised control trials (RCTs);
- Experience of managing data collection activities in low- and middle- income countries, including developing and piloting survey instruments, coordinating ethical approval, overseeing data collection processes and assuring the quality of data;
- Strong quantitative and data analysis skills; experience of working with large and complex administrative datasets and in the use of electronic data collection platforms; and proficient in the use of STATA, Matlab or R;
- The ability to outline project objectives and to plan work in a structured and systematic manner in alignment with the stated objectives, assessing progress and making changes to project plans to reflect changing timelines and realities;
- The ability to communicate effectively and confidently at all levels and to different audiences, and to work closely with diverse project stakeholders, including academics, donors and governmental and non-governmental partners;
- Well-developed writing skills, including the ability to explain complex economic ideas in plain language;
- Willingness to combine strategic project management with a hands-on approach to day-to-day challenges;
- Excellent problem solving and analytical skills and a strong attention to detail;
- Good interpersonal skills and experience of working effectively in a diverse team;
- The ability to think creatively, work independently and take initiative to promote successful project outcomes;
- An interest in the economic analysis of development issues, and a motivation to bridge the gap between academic research and issues of practical policy design or evaluation;
- A willingness to travel to various project locations, including in Colombia, Ghana and Vietnam.
Skills and experience - desirable:
- Understanding of early childhood, education and/or skills development programmes in LMICs;
- Familiarity with early childhood, education and skills tests and measures, for example the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development;
- Spanish language skills.
Start Date and Location
The successful candidate will start in March or April 2018, and the initial contract is on a fixed-term basis for 24 months, with the possibility of extension subject to funding. The post is based at IFS’s offices in Central London.
The successful candidate will be paid at on a salary scale between £40,000 - £43,000 dependent on experience.
Please send a CV and a covering letter explaining how your qualifications, skills and experience meet those outlined in the Person Specification. The covering letter should not exceed 2 pages in length.
Please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting the reference “Project Research Officer - EDePo” in the subject line by 12 March 2018.