PDRI-DevLab is hiring for a Director of Research to join our leadership team, help grow our portfolio of research, and lead strategic initiatives.
Job Description Summary
As part of PDRI-DevLab’s leadership team, the Director of Research will have dual responsibilities: advancing PDRI-DevLab’s research activities by leading new project development, and overseeing the development of PDRI-DevLab strategic initiatives, events and other activities.
The Director of Research’s core activity is to identify, initiate, and develop opportunities for new research in the international development space. This includes forming research collaborations, conducting outreach to leadership at government agencies and non-profits to explore new research opportunities, liaising with potential donors, and leading the writing of grant proposals.
In addition, the Director of Research will implement other strategic initiatives and carry out key management functions, by helping to direct PDRI-DevLab’s hiring efforts as well as its communications and outreach strategy, and developing new programs such as DEI fellowships and curricular initiatives.
This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a young, fast-growing international development research initiative, and shape its strategy and future direction in the years to come.
PDRI-DevLab brings together an interdisciplinary community of researchers and practitioners to address urgent global challenges.
PDRI-DevLab Is an applied learning environment that focuses on connecting social scientists at Penn who work in international development with the community of development practitioners to create rigorous programming, collect monitoring and evaluation data, and conduct impact evaluations of development projects. PDRI-DevLab connects faculty and graduate students from several departments and schools at Penn who have extensive experience in both international development and program evaluation, including a broad range of donor activities in the areas of education, health, governance, environment, gender, urbanization and migration, labor markets, poverty, and economic growth.
In addressing these issues, we bring together scholars and students attuned to the research frontier and with advanced capabilities in experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluation designs, survey design and other data collection tools, and data analytics, including web scraping and geospatial analysis. As established social scientists, we are able to identify opportunities for knowledge generation that will benefit the Penn community of scholars and the scientific community more broadly. As academics trained in applied statistics, we are able to offer advice on best practices for cutting-edge program evaluation to practitioners. Our setting also gives us access to a range of experts on the frontier of technology relevant to program evaluation. PDRI-DevLab partners with a wide variety of funders and implementers, including the World Bank, MCC, Social Impact, IOM, Winrock International, the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, and many others.
Through regular seminars, conferences, collaborative research projects, and dissemination activities and products, PDRI-DevLab makes it possible for faculty and graduate students at Penn to expand their efforts to conduct research that advances science and contributes to the improvement of well-being in developing countries.
The Director of Research will have dual responsibilities: (a) advancing PDRI-DevLab’s research activities by leading new project development and (b) overseeing the development of PDRI-DevLab strategic initiatives, events, communications, and other outputs.
New project development and fundraising: The Director of Research’s core activity is to identify, initiate, and develop opportunities for new research in the international development space. This includes forming research collaborations, conducting outreach to leadership at government agencies and non-profits to explore new research opportunities, liaising with potential donors, and taking the lead in writing grant proposals, among other responsibilities. The Director of Research will also work with the business office and the Office of Research Services (ORS) to prepare budgets and secure approvals for proposal submission. This stream of work also involves identifying funding opportunities for PDRI-DevLab’s strategic priorities beyond discrete research projects.
Developing and managing strategic initiatives: In this role, the selected candidate will help to develop and lead the implementation of PDRI-DevLab strategic initiatives. This includes visiting fellowships (e.g., the PDRI-DevLab Visiting Fellowship for African Scholars), predoctoral programs, as well as curricular initiatives and opportunities to partner with other centers at and beyond Penn on shared priorities.
Operations, human resources, and administration: in this role, the Director of Research will take a leading role in managing the hiring and onboarding of permanent and temporary staff, by writing job descriptions, sourcing candidates, and working closely with Penn’s HR department; and supervising the organization of weekly seminars and workshops.
Leading outreach, events, and communications strategy: The Director of Research will also lead the development of PDRI’s public-facing presence at Penn and externally, by planning seminars and workshops, conferences, and overseeing PDRI-DevLab’s online presence and public-facing outputs (e.g., policy briefs, newsletters, social media).
This position is a two year term appointment with a possibility of renewal.
The following application materials are requested: