Director of Research (Academic Coordinator II)

The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is a hub for research on global development, with a network of nearly 100 academic researchers extending across the University of California, Stanford University, and the University of Washington. Our faculty affiliates design and test solutions for the problems of poverty, generating actionable evidence for policy-makers across numerous sectors—including health, governance, agriculture, financial inclusion, and energy—in low-income countries. Using rigorous field trials, behavioral experiments, and tools from data science, CEGA measures and maximizes the impacts of economic development programs throughout the world.

The Director of Research is a core member of the CEGA leadership team, reporting to the Executive Director. S/he will collaborate closely with the CEGA Faculty Director, Edward Miguel, and Faculty Advisory Committee. S/he is responsible for driving the intellectual agenda for the Center, working closely with the Faculty Director(s), Executive Director, faculty investigators, and program managers to identify and proactively pursue high-value research, capacity building, and related proposal development opportunities. Specifically, the Director of Research will work to facilitate the development of new timely and innovative academic research portfolios; encourage the growth of existing portfolios in new directions; bolster CEGA’s efforts to build rigorous research and research uptake capacity in low-income countries; and expand CEGA’s policy footprint in the countries and regions where we work. This is an exciting opportunity for an active researcher and expert in the development economics field who is interested in contributing to the success of a fast-paced and dynamic research network. In addition to engaging in cutting-edge research and resource development for the Center, s/he is encouraged to maintain an independent research portfolio in development economics, to regularly present at conferences, and to publish blogs, position papers, and journal articles that advance CEGA’s mission and vision.

Key Responsibilities

Core functions of the Director of Research include:

Strategic Research Projects. The Director of Research will engage in research projects of strategic importance to CEGA. S/he will:

  • Serve as principal investigator on select Center grants, including leading proposal development and providing intellectual leadership and oversight for funded activities;
  • Work closely with CEGA faculty on interdisciplinary research projects and case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of new measurement tools and/or research methods in advancing our understanding of global economic development (includes designing studies, overseeing field data collection, developing statistical models, conducting analyses, and publishing findings);
  • Work with external experts, postdoctoral scholars, and others as needed to integrate best practices for research transparency, costing, long-term impact evaluation, and other approaches into CEGA programming;
  • Provide intensive technical mentorship to visiting scholars from low-income countries who come to UC Berkeley via CEGA’s capacity building initiatives;
  • Maintain an independent research portfolio in development economics.

Advance CEGA’s Research and Capacity Building Agenda. The Director of Research is responsible for articulating and advancing a strategic research and capacity building agenda for CEGA. S/he will:

  • Cultivate strong networks of donors, partners, and end-users that support CEGA’s mission and vision;
  • Track research, program, and policy trends and source ideas for new research and capacity building opportunities from CEGA’s global network of faculty, collaborators, staff, and partners;
  • Identify high-yield funding opportunities that advance CEGA’s research agenda, including those that bolster existing research portfolios or launch new portfolios; Draft concept notes and generate buy-in for multi-investigator research and capacity building programs;
  • Work with the Executive Director and program teams to respond to relevant calls for proposals;
  • Develop and oversee new international graduate student and executive training programs, in partnership with CEGA faculty and low-income country research institutions;
  • Contribute to high-level decision-making at CEGA by regularly engaging with the Executive Director, Faculty Director(s), Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC), and Director of Operations.

Policy Engagement and Dissemination. The Director of Research will liaise with policymakers, foundations, journalists, policy-makers, and program implementers to ensure that key research findings are effectively communicated and put into practice. S/he will:

  • Identify novel opportunities for research translation and dissemination that strategically introduce evidence-based recommendations into ongoing policy dialogues;
  • Foster linkages between researchers and their counterparts in government and the private sector;
  • Work with postdoctoral scholars and low-income country governments to develop sustainable pathways for expanding CEGA’s policy impact in the countries and regions where we work, for example through Open Policy Analysis;
  • Author blogs, position papers, and journal articles that raise visibility for CEGA and challenge the way policy-makers and researchers think about development;
  • Present on new research at major relevant conferences and events;
  • Leverage networks of donors, partners, CEGA fellows, and end-users to source ideas for policy engagement and identify potential scale-up projects;
  • Work with postdocs and program managers to develop and review policy reports, briefings, and syntheses for policymakers.

Required Qualifications

  • PhD (or equivalent foreign degree)

Preferred Qualifications

  • PhD in economics, public policy, political science
  • Knowledge of relevant technical skills (econometrics, impact evaluation methods, etc.);
  • Demonstrated experience in research, focused on development economics;
  • Written and verbal communication skills, allowing for effective communication with internal and external staff and partners at all organizational levels;
  • Minimum 2 years experience conducting empirical research in low-income countries including supervising data collection and cleaning activities;
  • Experience and competency with statistical software packages such as STATA, SAS, R, and ability to render accurate statistical analysis;
  • Experience and demonstrated success with technical grant writing for impact evaluation and/or global development research projects;
  • Experience and competency working with decision-makers in multilateral, government, and/or large research institutions;
  • Experience living and working in a low-income country;
  • Practical knowledge of aligning diverse faculty research interests with the needs of policy-makers and donors;
  •  Demonstrated networking skills (brings network, presents well to stakeholders);
  • Experience working with research center or institute (has organizational insight; understands CEGA’s vision and has good intuition about how we can succeed);
  • Experience working with policymakers in low-income countries (understands needs of end-users).

Online application via the UC Berkeley Academic Personnel jobs portal is required: https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/JPF02020

This is a one-year full-time position with possibility for extension pending funding. Anticipated start date of the position is April 1, 2019.