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Director of Research, Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI) – DevLabPenn

University of Pennsylvania

Job detailsJob TypeFull-timeLocation3451 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104+ Leaflet | OpenStreetMap contributorsBenefitsPulled from the full job descriptionAdoption assistanceContinuing education creditsDental insuranceFlexible scheduleFlexible spending accountHealth insuranceShow 4 more benefitsFull Job DescriptionUniversity Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America’s Best Employers By State in 2021.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for all positions at the University of Pennsylvania. New hires are expected to be fully vaccinated before beginning work at the University. For more information about Penn’s vaccine requirements, visit the Penn COVID-19 Response website for the latest information.

Posted Job Title
Director of Research, Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI) – DevLab@Penn

Job Profile Title
Manager Research Project B

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.

Job Description

About PDRI-DevLab :
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.

Duties :

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.

Qualifications :

Master’s Degree or PhD in Political Science, Economics, International Development, Public Policy or related field (ie., another quantitative social science discipline)

At least 3 years conducting research or overseeing project implementation in developing country settings, or equivalent combination of education and experience

Deep familiarity with cutting-edge international development research across disciplines and issue areas

Academic training and/or practical experience in quantitative research and impact evaluation, including a familiarity with causal inference designs such as RCTs and/or quasi-experimental designs.

Exceptional communication and writing skills

Proven experience in successful grant writing

People and project management experience

Experience living and working in developing countries

Experience in raising 6-7 figure grants

Experience in working with university administration or operations teams

The following application materials are requested:
Cover letter
Curriculum vitae or resume
List of three references

Job Location – City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
School of Arts and Sciences

Pay Range
$61,046.00 – $95,972.00
Salary offers are made based on the candidate’s qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits

Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts : Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family’s health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.

Tuition : Take advantage of Penn’s exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.

Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn’s Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.

Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family-whatever your personal needs may be.

Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you’re newly hired, you won’t have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.

Wellness and Work-life Resources : Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That’s why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.

Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.

University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University’s libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There’s always something going on at Penn, whether it’s a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you’re right in the middle of the excitement-and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.

Discounts and Special Services : From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you’ll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.

Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.

Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.

Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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