Senior Policy Associate and Donor Liaison - Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative - J-PAL Global

J-PAL Office 
United States
Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
More than two years
Start Date 

Agricultural development remains one of the cornerstones of the fight against global poverty. A majority of the world’s poor work as farmers, and investments in the sector can significantly improve their lives. However, some of the most essential components of productive farming systems – access to credit, insurance, inputs, or markets – underperform throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The international community has mobilized to address these challenges, but little is known about what projects and strategies can actually produce the transformative change the sector needs.

Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative

In  a unique collaboration, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at UC-Berkeley lead the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), a transformative research program  generating the knowledge needed to inform agricultural investments in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Over nine successive funding rounds, ATAI has sponsored more than 50 randomized evaluations in 17 different countries, leveraging the expertise and experience of 50 implementing partners and more than 100 faculty researchers. ATAI’s work focuses on unlocking the constraints to smallholder agriculture, specifically including credit and savings, risk and insurance, input and output markets, information, land and labor. ATAI researchers and staff host trainings and share our findings with leading practitioners and policymakers. ATAI is implemented with generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK Aid from the British People.

Senior Policy Associate and Liaison

ATAI is committed to funding high-quality research related to agricultural transformation, increasingly a core component of the strategies of major agricultural donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Aid, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Millenium Challenge Corporation, among others. As part of these efforts, ATAI will also increase its connections to its primary donors -- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK Aid from the British People -- aiming to both generate new research partnerships and ensure that the results of existing and ongoing ATAI studies inform the donors’ strategy development and programming priorities.

The Senior Policy Associate and Liaison will be key to achieving these goals. Working under the direction of J-PAL’s Agriculture Policy Manager and as part of J-PAL Global’s Policy and Communications group, the Associate and Liaison will perform a series of tasks designed to enhance ATAI’s connections with its primary donors. This member of the team will coordinate ATAI’s responses to new research opportunities, work closely with ATAI staff, academic leadership, and donor representatives to understand key research priorities, and create policy-oriented summaries of the ATAI evidence to inform donor strategy and implementation. This position will be based at J-PAL’s Global Offices at MIT in Cambridge, MA and require periodic domestic and international travel.

Roles and responsibilities

Specific tasks for this position include:


  • Serve as a point-of-contact for key partners looking to collaborate with ATAI researchers on new initiatives, reviewing possible opportunities for basic fit issues and directing new partnership options to members of the ATAI faculty network
  • Support and coordinate follow ups in terms of ensuring timely responses new partnership opportunities, setting up meetings, and facilitating dialogue as needed
  • Support increased awareness about matchmaking opportunities within ATAI’s key partners by describing the process used, distributing materials, and following up on promising opportunities
  • Work with ATAI colleagues to actively identify new investments that might benefit from faculty partnership and support engagement with program officers on these opportunities.
  • Share proposals to ATAI that were funded as part of our competitions with relevant program officers to get them up-to-speed with research occuring in their areas and see what connections might be.  


  • Identify and map key stakeholder teams, including units within funder organizations and other programs funded by ATAI’s donors, for high-potential dissemination opportunities  for ATAI research to support activities 
  • Work with ATAI faculty leaders and staff to quickly distill ATAI research publications and outputs to the specific needs of program officers
  • Coordinate ATAI’s annual update and presentation  of its “emerging insights” series, setting schedules, coordinating work, and ensuring high-quality outputs
  • Identify opportunities for ATAI faculty to present at the headquarters and field offices of our donors, keeping track of travel schedules for faculty and supporting event preparations and implementation and follow ups 
  • Write publications that “translate” J-PAL’s economic research into lessons for policymakers around the world. You will create materials for policy outreach, including publications, evaluation summaries, and website content. Associates have the opportunity to help organize events and further their communication skills by attending conferences and participating in meetings with policymakers and partner organizations.
  • Analysis: Conduct research and analysis for policy memos, grant proposals, and sector-specific work. Collect and examine project implementation data to conduct cost-effectiveness analyses. Associates also have the opportunity to work with senior staff on specific research tasks. 

ATAI core functions:

  • Support ATAI liaison on core functions for the initiative, including website updates, competition planning, event preparations, grant reporting
  • Participate in weekly coordinate meetings with ATAI Secretariat
  • Support the development of policy-outputs for ATAI faculty directors, including writing drafts of blogs, policy briefs, preparing presentations, and evaluation summaries. 

Desired qualifications

  • At least a Master’s degree with significant training in economics, including intermediate-level economics, econometrics, impact evaluation methods, and calculus.
  • At least three of professional experience, working in the field of international agricultural development, philanthropy, management consulting, or international development more broadly. A preference for those with experience, working with research organizations or implementers who have carried out randomized evaluations
  • Strong written and oral communication, the ability to distill complex information or research  findings into summaries appropriate for fast-moving policy environments
  • Strong familiarity with smallholder agriculture, the organizations, issues, and interventions involved in supporting agricultural development and knowledge of experimental literature on themes critical to agricultural development
  • Field experience, working on agricultural development programs or evaluations in developing countries, especially Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia
  • Experience working on randomized evaluations, familiarity with methods, tools of analysis, and key investigators working in the field
  • Familiarity with philanthropy, the process, and strategies driving cutting-edge grant making
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal and networking skills. You are detail-oriented and have advanced writing skills. You understand how to communicate policy lessons from technical academic research in ways that policymakers and practitioners understand. You are precise, clear, and creative.
  • Organization: You are a strategic thinker. You can handle multiple projects at once, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time.
  • Attitude: You love learning. You are passionate about international development policy and the rigorous research that informs it. You are self-motivated, work hard, and enjoy working in teams.

How to Apply

Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Have permanent U.S. work authorization? Apply now.

1. Create a single PDF with the filename “ATAI_SPADL_LastName_FirstName” that includes:

  • One-page cover letter stating:
    • Why you’re interested
    • Why you’re qualified
  • Curriculum vitae or resume (no more than two pages), including references.
  • Transcripts of your undergraduate and graduate courses (unofficial transcripts accepted) 

2. E-mail the PDF to with the subject line “ATAI_SPADL_LastName_FirstName”

Please note this position is not eligible for US visa sponsorship. 

Given the volume of applications received, only candidates shortlisted for an interview will be contacted.