Researcher

· Boston, Massachusetts
Employment Type Full-Time

UPDATE (January 2021): In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe that helping smallholder farmers ensure their food security and livelihoods is more important than ever. Because PAD's advisory services are digital, we are able to continue and even expand most of our services while our staff work remotely from their homes. We are actively hiring for the role below, and we encourage qualified applicants to apply.



Precision Development (PxD) is a global non-profit organization that harnesses technology, data science and behavioral economics to empower people living in poverty to improve their lives. By providing actionable information to the right people, in the right way and at the right time, PxD empowers poor people living in developing countries to improve their livelihoods, mitigate risks, and advance environmental sustainability. PxD, through its primary project, Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD), delivers customized agricultural advice to smallholder farmers via their mobile phones. PAD implements this pioneering model of agricultural extension in collaboration with partner organizations to maximize scale, and continuously experiments, iterates, and gathers evidence on impact to improve service delivery and demonstrate value. PAD currently works in nine countries in Africa and Asia, is launching operations in Latin America, and is rapidly expanding as governments and organizations look for innovative ways to utilize new technologies to deliver actionable information to people who need it. As of the end of the third quarter of 2020, PAD was serving 3.6 million farmers through a range of services providing tailored information on crop optimization, pest management, input utilization and environmental stewardship. PxD is piloting the use of mobile technology to deliver information in sectors beyond agriculture, including the use of SMS to facilitate math education in Kenya.



We are looking for a driven, creative and independent person to join a high-performing flexible team. As a Researcher, you will work closely with PAD and affiliated researchers to provide guidance to PAD country teams in designing and implementing A/B tests and experimental research projects, and contribute to analyzing data and generating research outputs, including journal articles, working papers, presentations, policy briefs, and partner/donor reports. You will also support other implementation and management tasks to ensure the quality of PAD’s work across geographies.


PAD conducts research to inform program designs, identify market and behavioral failures, and test potential solutions using latest technologies and data, as well as insights from behavioral economics and data science and works closely with leading researchers, including Shawn Cole of Harvard Business School and Nobel Laureate for Economic Sciences, Michael Kremer of the University of Chicago’s  department of economics and new Development Innovation Lab


Responsibilities


The Researcher will be responsible for the following main tasks:

 

  • Work closely with PAD scientific advisors, PAD researchers, and other affiliated researchers to coauthor journal articles, working papers, and policy briefs based on A/B tests and RCTs conducted by PAD and its partners
  • Present research and represent PAD at relevant conferences and other outreach events.
  • Develop new research ideas that support PAD’s programs and partners across geographies through research projects.
  • Oversee the lifecycle of research projects including development, proposal implementation, and review and management stages.
  • Provide guidance to PAD’s field teams to design and carry out exploratory research, A/B tests, evaluations, and data analysis
  • Provide oversight to Research Assistants, Research Managers, and Data Managers across PAD geographies.
  • Ensure data quality remains high and that documentation for research projects is properly maintained.
  • Develop or contribute substantially to proposal applications for prospective funders and partners, alongside other PAD team members.
  • Contribute to grant and funder reporting requirements.
  • Contribute to general management tasks important for PAD’s functioning and success

 

Qualifications


Required Qualifications and Experience:

 

  • PhD in economics, agricultural economics, public policy, or related field
  • Experience with action research in developing countries
  • Experience with field experiments
  • Strong communication skills
  • Strong writing skills
  • Strong organizational and planning skills
  • Willingness and ability to work under tight timelines, and flexibility to engage in multiple projects
  • Ability to work independently in a global start-up NGO environment
  • Ability to work well with teams with diverse backgrounds and experience
  • Willingness to be based in one of PAD’s field sites, or to travel up to 40% or as reasonable given the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Experience in agriculture and technology for development and experience in managing a field research team a plus


Logistics 


  • PAD has a strong preference for the Researcher to be based in one of our country offices in India, Pakistan, Kenya, or Ethiopia. 
  • Country nationals with work authorization in countries where PAD has active projects are strongly encouraged to apply (India, Pakistan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia)
  • Due to the ongoing pandemic, PAD operations have been remote since March 2020. PAD will continue to monitor the situation in all of our countries of operation to assess safety and feasibility of our office operations. 
  • Anticipated start date is June 2021, with the option to start sooner when the selected candidate is available. 


Application process


Interested candidates should submit an updated CV with contact information for three references, a cover letter and their job market paper or recent working paper on our website’s job portal by February 28, 2021. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.


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  • Location
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Employment Type
    Full-Time