Data Scientist (Postdoc)

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 in less developed countries. Using rigorous field trials, behavioral experiments, and tools from data science, we measure and maximize the impacts of economic development programs throughout the world. We are seeking outstanding applicants for a Postdoctoral researcher (Postdoc) to support the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI). 

Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative

Co-implemented by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT and CEGA, ATAI generates data and insights needed to inform productive investments in agricultural development. The program is led by a consortium of leading social scientists who conduct large-scale randomized evaluations in direct partnership with implementers like the CGIAR, World Bank, international NGOs, and national ministries of agriculture. 

More than one hundred thousand individuals have been surveyed to date as part of ATAI evaluations. Per ATAI policies, each of these data are to be made publicly-available as a resource for the global policy and research community. Valuable information is included in these resources, including household and plot-level information on prices, production, and a variety of farmer welfare indices. In addition, ATAI requires all full-scale RCTs collect information on program costs for the interventions being evaluated. This requirement came into effect in June 2015, and currently all active studies are collecting this information. 

Postdoc Scope of Work

In 2018, ATAI launched renewed activities to generate learning across its portfolio of field experiments. As part of these efforts, we will mobilize a Postdoc around a series of activities to examine ATAI data resources, identify and advance opportunities for meta-analysis, and propel findings into the public domain. 

Specific tasks include the following: 

Aggregation, analysis, and display of existing data resources: Over the past eight years, ATAI has supported nearly 50 randomized evaluations in 17 different countries across Sub-Saharan African and South Asia. The Postdoc will aggregate these resources as part of a new “ATAI dataverse,” working collaboratively with J-PAL’s knowledge management and data quality team to build and maintain the portal. As data is brought together, the Postdoc will collaborate with ATAI’s faculty directors to identify ways to link this information in a manner that allows for meta-analysis and maximum cross-study comparability. The Postdoc will then support analysis, suggesting hypotheses, performing analytics, and reporting findings. Opportunities to link these efforts to external resources (for example, UN FAO, the University of Washington Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group and the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Survey) should be fully explored and implemented where possible. The ATAI Postdoc will similarly work with J-PAL’s knowledge management and data quality team to specifically assess the program’s costing data, organizing and presenting this information in a manner that ultimately allows ATAI to compare across interventions and potentially project cost-effectiveness for replications and scale-ups of programs tested elsewhere. 

Advise and support new data collection efforts: ATAI is preparing to launch a new “diagnostic” funding window to encourage researchers to collect information on areas where good descriptive data is lacking. In the immediate term, diagnostic data collection exercises will be oriented toward gender equity, nutrition, food security, and longer-term indicators of economic diversification, agroindustry, value addition, and mechanization. The goals of this mechanism include building foundational knowledge that opens new avenues of inquiry, harmonizing data collection across studies, generating hypotheses, and offering insights for program and policy planners. The ATAI Postdoc will support the program’s faculty directors in making recommendations of where valuable diagnostic data could be collected, the mechanisms by which to do so, and then analyze this information to inform policy and research questions. 

The position will work with guidance from ATAI’s Board Officers Craig McIntosh (UC San Diego), Tavneet Suri (MIT), and Jeremy Magruder (UC Berkeley) and with direct support from members of the ATAI Secretariat. 

Core Responsibilities:

  • Work closely with faculty leaders and staff from ATAI to develop a robust data analytics research agenda for the program  
  • Become familiar with ATAI’s datasets (including fields, data types, and constraints), and the software used to view and analyze them (GIS skills strongly preferred);
  • Work with faculty leaders to suggest key hypotheses to test using ATAI data and other data sources; 
  • Perform data analytics and report hypotheses, summary statistics, and findings to ATAI faculty in a clear, logical, and reproducible manner;
  • Develop visualizations, summary statistics, and presentations, which use ATAI data inform policy and research communities on the advancement of smallholder agriculture;  
  • Identify datasets that can be linked with ATAI survey data, perform linkages, and display results;
  • Collaborate with J-PAL’s knowledge management and data quality team to assess and implement options for cost effectiveness analysis across the ATAI portfolio;
  • Develop and manage the ATAI dataverse, collaborating with J-PAL’s knowledge management and data quality team to support regular flow of data publication, tracking project completion and compliance with data publication policies;  
  • Review ATAI funding applications, assessing opportunities for additional “diagnostic” data collection exercises, advising faculty directors, and proposing data collection methods; 
  • Serve as resource for ATAI on survey questions, modules, and data collection strategies for ATAI’s new “transformation metrics”;
  • Understand and adhere to ATAI’s policies and protocols regarding data security and confidentiality.

Required Qualifications:

  • Completed a PhD in economics, social sciences, public policy, mathematics, statistics, or related fields. Training in microeconomics, econometrics, and statistics is required.
  • 3‐5 years experience wrangling large, heterogeneous data sets, particularly demonstrating aptitude with spatial data; candidates should also demonstrate competence working with survey, administrative, and/or time series data;
  • 3‐5 years experience using GIS software as well as R, Stata, SAS, and/or Microstrategy, preferably with strong experience using Python and/or other scientific computing languages;

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience designing, managing, and implementing different data gathering strategies, including: (i) semi-structured interviews, (ii) focus groups, and (iii) surveys;
  • Interest in agricultural development and ways in which quantitative research and data science can be used to create valuable global public goods;
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials;
  • Experience working in developing countries (preferably in a research-related capacity);
  • Experience cleaning, labelled, and documenting datasets for public repositories;
  • Experience developing data visualizations (using Tableau or similar platform) that are accessible to non‐academic audiences;
  • Ability to interact with individuals at all levels in a fast‐paced environment, sometimes under pressure, while remaining flexible, proactive, tactful, resourceful and efficient, and with a high level of professionalism and confidentiality.

How to Apply

Please upload brief cover letter, CV and contact information for two academic references to the "ATAI Data Scientist Postdoc" Submittable page: https://cega.submittable.com/submit/131396/atai-data-scientist-postdoc

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) Collaborative: 2019-2020 Visting Fellowship Application

Deadline: March 1, 2019 

Further details/template found here: https://berkeley.box.com/v/EASSTVisitingFellow2019

About the Fellowship 

The EASST Visiting Fellowship seeks to equip East African social scientists with the skills needed to carry out rigorous evaluations of economic development programs. Researchers will be based at the University of California, Berkeley for four months during the fall academic semester (approximately August 20th - December 20th 2019) or the spring academic semester (approximately January 16 – May 16th 2020).

Each Visiting Fellow will be paired with a faculty mentor affiliated with the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), a research network based in the United States. A list of CEGA faculty affiliates is available online at http://cega.berkeley.edu/faculty/. CEGA staff and Ph.D. students will provide additional mentorship during the fellowship and after the scholar returns home. The EASST program will cover the costs of room and board in Berkeley, health insurance, a monthly stipend, visa fees, and round-trip economy airfare for selected Fellows. Please note that the fellowship does NOT provide financial support for spouses or other family members.  

Upon completing the fellowship, scholars are expected to return to a university or research institute in East Africa and assume a leading role in promoting the use of rigorous evidence in economic development. After successful completion of the fellowship, fellows will be eligible for: 1) “catalyst grants” of $5000-$7500 to administer trainings in impact evaluation methods and work to build institutional capacity to conduct rigorous evaluations; 2) research grants of up to $50,000 to work with a CEGA affiliate to conduct an impact evaluation to answer an economic development question in East Africa; and 3) policy engagement grants of $8000-$10,000 to facilitate the scale-up of research and forge meaningful linkages with policymakers. 

About EASST

Launched in 2009, The East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) Collaborative is a multi-institution research network with a mission to promote rigorous evaluation of social and economic development programs in East Africa. EASST builds regional leadership in evaluation research by offering competitive fellowships and grants to junior social scientists at East African research institutions. EASST also facilitates collaboration between U.S. and East African researchers. Through these and other activities, EASST seeks to empower the “next generation” of social scientists to measure the impacts of development interventions, and then translate research findings into better public policies.

Currently, the EASST network is comprised of researchers at Makerere University, Addis Ababa University, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), the University of Dar es Salaam, the University of Rwanda, Twaweza, Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA), Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI), United States International University (USIU), the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), and others in Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda. The network is administered by the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at UC Berkeley. Learn more about EASST at: http://www.easst-collaborative.org

FELLOWSHIP ACTIVITIES

During the fellowship period, visiting researchers will: 

  • Participate in seminars and conferences on research in social and economic development;
  • Present their own work during seminars and workshops;
  • Audit courses, including rigorous doctoral-level seminars in impact evaluation;
  • Carry out an independent research project under the mentorship of faculty member (projects can use existing data for retrospective analysis or set-up a study design for future data collection);
  • Meet and collaborate with faculty or students in multiple academic departments;
  • Design impact evaluation curricula that will be taught at an East African institution;
  • Participate in policy dissemination by contributing to policy briefs, attending meetings with policymakers and stakeholders, and presenting at events; and
  • Work with the World Bank and other partners to identify opportunities for future research.

Eligibility 

Eligible candidates for all EASST programs must:

  • Be a national of an East African country participating in EASST (i.e. Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi, or Uganda);
  •  Have completed a PhD within the last 8 years, or be enrolled in a PhD program in economics, statistics, epidemiology/public health, or another social science discipline (in exceptional cases, the applicants will hold a Masters’ degree in a relevant field and have plans to pursue a PhD in the future. These cases will require a direct referral by a former EASST fellow;
  • If not a current student, hold a staff or academic position at a research institution, university or other organization in East Africa, preferably one that supports policy-relevant, quantitative social science research;
  • Plan to return to a research institute in East Africa for at least 1 year after the fellowship.

Selection Criteria

Successful candidates must:

  • Demonstrate strong analytic skills, with past coursework in economics or statistics
  • Have participated in or have familiarity with impact evaluation research (either randomized or quasi-experimental studies), policy analysis, and micro-level field data collection;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to and experience with engaging policy-makers and implementing bodies and disseminating research findings; 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to building the capacity of African research institutions/universities;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to institutionalizing rigorous evidence within their institution; 
  • Submit a clear and innovative research proposal to evaluate a specific public policy or program, using randomized controlled trial or quasi-experimental methodologies;
  • Be computer literate, fluent in English, and a strong public speaker.

A total of four fellows will be accepted for the 2019-2020 Academic Year. Of these, two slots will be reserved for fellows interested in studying infectious disease (HIV excepted, unless in the case of co-morbidities with other infectious diseases) with a rigorous implementation science lens (see here). The other two slots are available for fellows interested in various fields related to economic development—including agriculture, financial inclusion, gender, technology for development, energy and climate change, and others. 

Female applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Preference will be assigned to fellows who have already completed a doctoral degree (PhD) in a relevant field of study. 

Application Instructions:

Carefully review Appendix A: Detailed Application Instructions in the Visiting Fellowship Announcement, here. 

Required Documents:

Please ensure that all supporting documentation is submitted in English.

1. Personal Statement (1 page): Please describe your personal motivations for applying to the EASST fellowship--of all fellowships available to you, why are you particularly interested in EASST?  What do you hope to accomplish during the semester and beyond? 

2. Curriculum Vitae/Resume

3.Transcript of any coursework completed within at least the last 5 years (i.e. your scores or grades from university courses). Scanned copy is acceptable.

4. Research Proposal:  Not to exceed 2 pages. Refer to Appendix A “Instructions for Research Proposal” and Appendix B “Research Proposal Example” below. During the fellowship, you should work on the proposal you have submitted, unless you decide to change it (with agreement from CEGA staff and your mentor.)  

5. Evidence of Leave Approval from the applicant’s supervisor or department chair demonstrating support and certifying that, if the applicant is selected, he/she will be able to take a 4-month leave of absence. 

6. Letters of Recommendation (2 required, 1 optional)

a) Required: One academic letter that describes the applicant’s research capacity, quantitative skills, and qualifications for the EASST fellowship. Please use the provided recommendation template (Appendix C). 

b) Required: One letter from a government agency or policy maker indicating the fellows past policy engagement or engagement potential.  Please use the provided recommendation template (Appendix D).

c)  If you are applying with only a masters degree (not currently working towards a PhD), you must submit a reference letter from a former EASST fellow to apply. Please use the provided recommendation template (Appendix E). 

7. OPTIONAL: You may attach one working paper or publication.


All documents should be submitted at the following link by March 1st, 2019: https://cega.submittable.com/submit/130532/easst-2019-2020-visiting-fellowship-application.   

East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) Collaborative : 2019 Request for Proposals

  OVERVIEW

In Spring 2019, EASST will award grants for the evaluation of innovative interventions in East Africa. A total of $240,000 in research funding will be awarded across all projects. Researchers may request up to $50,000 in funding. 

Research teams with two lead investigators – one from CEGA and one from a research institution in East Africa – are invited to jointly develop a research proposal for consideration by EASST. Research teams may request funding for a new project or supplemental funding for an ongoing project. Proposals will be peer reviewed by a panel of researchers. Successful proposals will achieve two primary goals: (i) creating new knowledge that will improve the design of development programs in East Africa, and; (ii) enhancing East African researchers’ skills and capacity to lead future evaluations.   

Note that the CEGA partner and the East African researcher are expected to be full partners in the research—from the writing of the proposal, to design of survey modules, to data collection, to data analysis, to writing up results. Priority will be given to projects that are likely to result in at least one co-authored publication.

  COMPETITION DETAILS

Funding: EASST anticipates funding a total of $240,000 during this 2019 Call for Proposals, with a maximum of $50,000 per grant. 

Topic Areas: Funding will support impact evaluations (randomized control trials or quasi-experimental studies) that address a topic of critical importance to economic development in East Africa, i.e. agriculture, health, youth empowerment, financial inclusion, etc. It is strongly encouraged that projects incorporate a focus on gender to the extent possible. Applications will be accepted for work in Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, or South Sudan. Please note that approximately 20% of the funds available in this round are earmarked for impact evaluations that use methods from implementation science to examine the socioeconomic dimensions of infectious disease (TB, Malaria, etc.—HIV excepted, unless in cases of co-morbidities with other infectious diseases). This subset of funding is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Eligibility: Submissions must be made by at least one CEGA affiliated Principal Investigator (affiliate or grad students sponsored by affiliate) and one East African Principal Investigator. While the competition is open to any East African researcher, preference will be given to EASST fellows. 

Period of Performance:  The official period of performance is from May 1st 2019—to May 1st 2020, though requests for extension may be considered. 

Co-Authorship: Please see the accompanying document “EASST Co-Authorship Statement”, which lays out expectations for collaboration between the CEGA affiliated PI and the East African PI. 

IRB Approval. Applicants are encouraged to submit their proposals for IRB review before submitting to EASST, in order to facilitate expedient processing of the award.   the processing of subawards, UC Berkeley requires proof of IRB approval. 

To Apply: Please see Appendix 1,  “EASST Application Instructions” and apply via the submittable portal (https://cega.submittable.com/submit/130722/2019-easst-request-for-proposals) by April 1, 2019. 

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Proposals will be judged on their academic significance, innovativeness, methodology and viability. Please see RFP for a detailed layout of this criteria. In addition, reviewers will assess the likelihood that the study will strengthen East African leadership in impact evaluation through effective knowledge transfer. East African researchers must benefit professionally from the collaboration (see the EASST co-authorship statement in the appendix). Please note that CEGA researchers are welcome to work with any East African researcher, but projects co-led by fellows trained through the EASST program will be given preference. 

To apply, compile the following documents:

1) Cover Sheet  

2) Research Proposal This proposal narrative must not exceed five (5) pages in length and must address all eight items discussed below in the Proposal Guidelines. The proposal should be written in Times font, Size 11 and may be single-spaced. We strongly advise you to refer to the EASST Research Proposal Example when writing your statement, which is included in the proposal package.

3.) Budget: This document must be completed in its entirety using the accompanying excel sheet “EASST_BudgetTemplate.”  We strongly recommend that you refer to the budget in the EASST Proposal and Budget Example, when completing your excel sheet. 

4) Save the coversheet and research proposal as a single PDF.The filename should read “Proposal_CEGAPIname_EASSTPIname.” Save the budget as “Budget_CEGAPIname_EASSTPIname.” 

4) Submit files on Submittable portal here: https://cega.submittable.com/submit/130722/2019-easst-request-for-proposals

The deadline for submission is: 11:59 PM US Pacific Time on April 1,  2019.

The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) and the Experimental Social Science Laboratory (Xlab) are excited to host the 2019 Symposium on Economic Experiments in Developing Countries (SEEDEC) at UC Berkeley on Thursday, May 30th and Friday, May 31st. SEEDEC, now in its eighth year, brings together a community of scholars who employ laboratory experimental economics methods for research in developing countries. Learn about past events here.

This year's Symposium will feature keynote addresses by Stefano DellaVigna (UC Berkeley) and Pam Jakiela (University of Maryland).

Call for Papers

We invite submissions of papers involving economic lab experiments in low- and middle-income countries, or with clear lessons for LMICs (this does not include field-based randomized controlled trials). Please submit your full paper and supporting materials (optional) using this form no later than March 1st, 2019 at 11:59 PM PT. Successful applicants will be notified by March 31st, 2019.

Submissions will be evaluated based on the quality and novelty of the paper as well as balance across institutions and genders. Though not a formal requirement, preference will be given to papers employing research transparency and reproducibility tools and methods including pre-registration, pre-analysis plans, and open data, materials and code. Authors may provide such details in the comments section of the online form, or disclose whether some or all of their data or materials cannot be shared for legal or ethical reasons.

Travel and Accommodation

Participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation. Visit this link for a list of accommodations close to campus. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on both days. 

RSVP

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP here to attend.

Contact

Please contact Aleks Bogdanoski (abogdanoski@berkeley.edu) with questions about this Call for Papers.

Center for Effective Global Action