Research Associate - Johannesburg - J-Pal Africa

Research Associate - Johannesburg - J-PAL AfricaJ-PAL Africa seeks Johannesburg-based Research Associates to support its mission of reducing poverty by ensuring policy is informed by scientific evidence. We are looking for RA's to support fieldwork on two exciting labour-market studies in Johannesburg, South Africa. The role will involve a good mix of practical fieldwork, data collection, analysis, writing and project management. We are looking for individuals with strong technical skills, a dedication to quality and a passion for working with diverse communities on poverty alleviation strategies. RA's will work closely with J-PAL affiliated researchers and principal investigators and the J-PAL Africa research team. The position holder will be employed by J-PAL Africa, the Africa hub of J-PAL, which is part of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) in the University of Cape Town (UCT) School of Economics.The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) consists of a global network of academics who specialize in conducting randomized evaluations (also known as randomized control trials or RCTs) of social policies/programs in order to generate scientific evidence about what works in the fight against poverty. J-PALs research associates work closely with these leading academics and partner organisations (often NGOs and governments) to design and implement these studies.These roles provide excellent opportunities to work at the frontier of rigorous research and evidence-based policymaking, contributing to knowledge that can improve the lives of citizens across Africa and beyond. J-PAL Africa provides the flexibility for accelerated growth and learning by supporting proactivity and encouraging top performers to take on more responsibility.Research associates, in particular, are given significant project and staff management responsibilities, challenging data analysis tasks and opportunities to find creative solutions to research implementation issues. They are also charged with managing important relationships with study partners (often senior policymakers). Research Associates perform these tasks with support and guidance from peers, managers and the academics who lead the studies, and receive sponsored formal training where required. Our research team culture is rooted in rigorous, careful practices, backed by a system of scientific oversight and a supportive management structure.Please note that this position will be based at our office in Johannesburg for proximity to the study partner organisations, program beneficiaries and J-PAL Africas research manager all based in Gauteng and surrounding provinces.Responsibilities includeManaging one or more field research projects on development economics or political science topics. Current projects include the design and testing of interventions to improve outcomes in youth unemploymentGetting out into the field, setting up workflows, setting up equipment, figuring out solutions to field issuesScoping the feasibility of randomized evaluations and helping to design study implementation methodsConducting literature reviews or consulting related literature to inform study designDesigning survey instruments, focus group discussions and other data collection tools and methods to achieve study objectives in partnership with academicsCoordinating data collection efforts including hiring, training and managing teams of field staffProgramming survey instruments, performing high-frequency checks and data cleaning processes to ensure data quality (often in Stata and/or R)Analyzing and presenting data for needs assessments, study design or computation of results (often in Stata and/or R)Maintaining productive relationships with study partnersAssisting in managing finances and donor reportingEnsuring that the project complies with IRB and J-PAL data collection and security protocols with the help of the J-PAL teamTraining others on research practices and contributing to J-PALs global knowledge repositories and external capacity building effortsMinimum requirementsA minimum of an Honours degree in economics, the social sciences, or other Honours level degrees involving training in statistics or coursework in quantitative research methodsStrong proven quantitative skillsComfort with using new software / a willingness to learn new toolsExcellent knowledge of MS Word, MS Excel and StataStrong oral and written communication skills in EnglishExcellent management and organizational skills, detail-oriented with the ability to work independently and to be supervised remotelyExcellent interpersonal skillsFlexible and self-motivatedFamiliarity with randomised evaluations / randomised control trialsValid drivers licenseRight to work in South Africa (citizenship, permanent residency or critical skills visa).Note: J-PAL Africa cannot sponsor work permitsHighly advantageousPrior experience in field researchExperience with data cleaning, merging and management using Stata/R programmingSurvey programming experience in SurveyCTO or equivalentProficiency in an official South African language other than English (e.g., isiZulu, isiXhosa)Interest in labour economicsHow to ApplyPlease follow this link and complete the form. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and will likely be required to undergo an assessment process before interview rounds. Recruitment will follow UCTs hiring procedure and remuneration is commensurate with UCT pay-scales. UCT is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity and redress. Our Employment Equity Policy is available as a .pdf here .
Johannesburg, GT, ZA