BFI Employment Opportunities

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) works with the Chicago Economics community to turn its evidence-based research into real-world impact. BFI takes a unique approach to bridging the divide between academic researchers and decision-makers in the business community and government by translating and packaging the rigorous work of the Chicago Economics community into accessible formats, and proactively sharing those findings with relevant decision-makers and thought leaders around the globe. BFI is a collaborative platform serving the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School.

View open positions and apply below. 

Open Positions

  • Grants & Contracts Associate, BFI

    Job Summary
    The job provides professional support for pre-award and/or post-award activities relating to grant and contract proposals and funding within a department or unit. Pre-award activities include research, preparing applications, and editing proposals. Post-award activities include compliance monitoring, payment processing, and salary allocations. Performs work with moderate guidance and utilizes knowledge of University and business drivers.

    Responsibilities

    • Finance and accounting – analyzes and monitors comprehensive financial activities within the BFI departments, primarily in the areas of finance, auditing, budgeting and forecasting, purchasing, and other operational/education-related financial activities. Allocates, authorizes, monitors, and controls expenses.
    • Maintains accounts including oversight, reconciliation, and error correction.
    • Prepares and submits financial transactions through the University systems (ePayments, GEMS, BuySite, etc.); tracks against annual budget.
    • Coordinates drafting of award letters, transfer of fund, and monitoring of progress reports of BFI internal grants such as BFI Data and Research Awards with other departments/units/division.
    • Assists faculty and staff with review and execution of contracts and data use agreements; works to understand needs, assesses contract suitability to meeting those needs, and negotiates with vendors to ensure contracts comply with University standards and guidelines. In addition, assists faculty and staff with requests to access datasets within the BFI data library.
    • Creates pivot table reports in Excel as needed.
    • Helps to maintain a financial administration manual for staff with relevant University policies and procedures.
    • Liaise as necessary with staff and Financial Services.
    • Processes cost and payroll transfers.
    • Serves as a resource for team members.
    • Pre-award activities includes reading proposal guidelines; collecting, composing, and/or preparing administrative components of proposal submissions; preparing applications, developing and preparing budgets, and monitoring regulatory compliance requirements.
    • Post-award activities includes account creations, regulatory and compliance monitoring, salary allocations, effort reporting, grant projections, cost allocations, cost center charges, equipment inventory, invoice preparation, grant closing process, and account closing.
    • Monitors spending on all federal, non-federal, and internal grant accounts. Analyzes monthly grant financial reports and ledgers for accuracy, recommends and initiates action to correct discrepancies and follow-up until resolved.
    • Prepares drafts of financial sections for components of grant and supplement applications, including draft budgets and budget justifications. Coordinates with sub-award administrators to assist with preparation of financial materials for all major grant-related activities.
    • Manages the execution of subawards, sponsored sonsulting agreements, and subaward amendments.
    • Partners with University Research Administration (URA) to monitor pre- and post-award activities, such as timely submission of applications and progress reports (RPPRs); requests for no-cost extensions; obtaining sponsor approvals for major changes to project work scope or major changes to anticipated expenditures, etc.
    • Works closely with the Senior Grants Manager to collect grant data for the annual budget.
    • Works directly with the faculty and research staff to seek new avenues for funding and new grant opportunities.
    • Works with a broad array of sponsors, interpreting regulations and guidelines of multiple program funding with broad and complex guidelines for spending.
    • Responsible for timely submission of applications, renewal/continual amendments, ensuring timely submission of technical reports, just-in-time submissions, no-cost extensions, and Agency required re-budgeting.
    • Responsible for all data entry and preparation of grant reports and trend analysis.
    • Interacts with University Research Administration, faculty, postdocs, and pre/post-award colleagues from other departments and sections, and Financial Services Office personnel.
    • Seeks new avenues for funding and grant opportunities and ensures that notices of relevant opportunities are brought to faculty attention. Works with sponsors to draft proposal budgets in accordance with University needs, with a moderate level of guidance and direction.
    • Reviews all applications against University guidelines, in addition to drafting progress reports, non-competing applications, amendments, and budgeting. Responsible for all data entry and preparation of grant reports and trend analysis.
    • Prepares summaries of grants and effort allocations for Principal Investigators, meets with them and responds to their questions. Coordinates with other departments/units/divisions regarding multi investigator grants. Serves as department contact for annual audits and agency site visits.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications
    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • Associate’s degree in accounting, finance or related field.
    • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or related field.

    Experience:

    • Progressively responsible grant/contract and financial administration in an academic setting.
    • Experience with budgets, ledgers, invoices, and fiscal reporting.
    • Experience in one or more aspects of sponsored program administration in a research environment.
    • Experience with accounting systems.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Computer skills including word processing, database management, and spreadsheet skills.
    • Working knowledge in financial administration, accounting or grant and contract.
    • Knowledge of procurement and finance systems.
    • Knowledge of general accounting standards and auditing.
    • Knowledge of research methods and funding sources.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
    • Attention to detail.
    • Flexible and adaptable work style.
    • Strong organizational skills.
    • Strong financial and analytic skills.
    • Demonstrated initiative in improving processes and enhancing systems.
    • Exercise sound judgment, discretion, and tact.
    • Excellent independent time management skills along with the ability to handle multiple and concurrent tasks within deadlines.
  • Finance Administrator, BFI

    Job Summary
    The Finance Administrator will serve as the primary analytic and financial liaison for assigned departments and initiatives and will be responsible for providing those departments with budget development and financial management support. The Finance Administrator will also support the development and integration of unit-specific financial data analytics and reporting, with a focus on the development of a common set of metrics and methodologies for evaluating both University and unit-specific financial performance. At the instruction of others, performs work that contributes to the development of long- and short-term financial goals, business strategies/plans, and financial forecasts/models. Utilizes moderate knowledge of finance to help coordinate quarterly and year-end reporting for the operating budget.

    Responsibilities

    • Analyzes, reviews, and tracks comprehensive financial activities for the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), the Macro Finance Research Program (MFR), and the Energy and Environment Lab (E&E Lab), primarily in the areas of finance, auditing, budgeting and forecasting, purchasing, and other operational-related financial activities.
    • Plans, develops and manages budgets, including developing multi-year budget forecasts.
    • Oversees the review, approval, and reporting of all expenditure goods and services, and costing allocations.
    • Monitors and reconciles actual expenditures and revenue against budget and prepares monthly, quarterly, and annual variance reports. Works closely with departments to understand variances and develop recommendations for programmatic changes or cost containment strategies to avoid deficits.
    • Reviews financial reports for consistency and accuracy. Flag potential errors to be investigated and corrected. Prepares and submits account corrections as necessary, including both payroll and non-payroll.
    • Oversees and tracks multi-year faculty fund support packages. Provides faculty periodic reports of spend and available balance.
    • Works in close partnership with UChicago Global and UC Trust to oversee, process, and manage the transfer of funds for international programmatic activities.
    • Prepares and submits financial transactions through the University systems (ePayments, GEMS, Buysite, etc.).
    • Assists staff with the GEMS system and runs reports to ensure that transactions are reconciled at regular intervals.
    • Builds and maintains complex financial models using Excel and other analysis and reporting tools and systems as necessary.
    • Prepares presentations to convey financial and administrative matters to leadership and members of the assigned departments.
    • Develops and manages budgets for assigned BFI Initiatives.
    • Coordinates and manages Calls for Proposals and awarding of internal grant funds to faculty. Assists faculty and staff with review and execution of contracts and data use agreements; works to understand needs, assesses contract suitability to meet those needs, and negotiates with vendors to ensure contracts comply with University standards and guidelines. In addition, assists faculty and staff with requests to access datasets within the BFI data library.
    • Assists the Director of Finance and Operations to develop and implement metrics and methodologies toolkits for evaluating financial performance for both the unit overall and specific assigned departments.
    • Assists the Director of Finance and Operations in the annual budget process such as preparing departmental budget packets and inputting budgets into Delphi.
    • Helps to develop and maintain a Financial Administration manual for staff with relevant University policies and procedures.
    • Liaise as necessary with staff and Financial Services.
    • Serves as a resource for team members.
    • Analyzes and prepares budgets, create accounts, and works with the financial accounting system to allocate, authorize, monitor, and control expenses.
    • Prepares monthly reports, conducts and corrects errors in accounts using existing procedures that are in place, and provides advice on the financial impact of human resources and academic affairs decisions.
    • May work with other administrators on the procurement process, allocates expenditures for authorization, and advise in communications regarding funding agencies, subcontractors, and others at the instruction and direction of others.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications

    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business administration, or related field.
    • Master’s degree in finance, accounting, business administration, or a related field.

    Experience:

    • Minimum of 3 or more years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Knowledge of financial computing and database software applications.
    • Knowledge of various financial principles, practices, and applications including budgeting, financial planning, and financial reporting.
    • Experience with accounting systems and budget systems.
    • Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
    • Knowledge of procurement and finance systems.
    • Advanced in Microsoft Excel, which includes advanced usage of pivot tables, v-lookups, macros, and formatting.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Must be a self-starter with a high level of attention to detail.
    • Strong written, interpersonal, and verbal communication skills.
    • Manage multiple projects simultaneously and meet tight deadlines.
    • Excellent organizational skills.
    • Work both independently and as a team member.
    • Superior degree of professionalism.
    • Outstanding analytical and problem-solving skills. Detail-oriented with the ability to prioritize and complete multiple concurrent projects.
    • Demonstrates capacity to work independently in an organized detailed manner while maintaining a collaborative team environment.
    • Exercise sound judgment and absolute discretion regarding confidential matters with tact.
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
    • Demonstrated time management ability to deliver high-integrity products within established deadlines.
    • Personable, professional, and consultative work style.
  • Pre-Doctoral Research Opportunities

    The Predoctoral Research in Economics program (PREP) is intended to serve as a bridge between college and graduate school for students interested in empirical economics. The program offers unique research and professional training opportunities at the University of Chicago.

    The program offers economics research and training opportunities at the University of Chicago. Responsibilities span all stages of research, including managing projects, collecting and analyzing data, creating presentations, and editing manuscripts. In addition to working closely with faculty as research assistants, predoctoral research professionals typically attend classes and seminars at the Becker Friedman Institute (BFI), the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), the University of Chicago, and affiliate institutions.

    The program provides two key events for professional training. At the beginning of each year, there is a five-day long customized orientation and training workshop. The training sessions cover topics such as: Data management practices, version control, coding reviews, causal inference and econometric methods, working with spatial data, and science communication tools. In the winter, BFI will hold a retreat dedicated to professional career development. Junior and senior faculty attend and present on issues such as: Applications to graduate school, the development or research ideas and projects, grant applications, potential pitfalls in graduate school and how to avoid them, and cutting-edge statistical methods.

    Program Benefits

    Along with the day-to-day contact with BFI faculty supervisors, the fellowship provides two key events for professional training. At the beginning of each year, pre-doctoral fellows participate in a five-day orientation and training workshop. The training sessions cover topics from data management practices to econometric methods and science communication tools. In the winter, BFI holds a retreat dedicated to career development. Faculty present on issues such as completing applications to graduate school, developing research ideas and projects, applying to grants, and performing cutting-edge statistical methods. They also provide advice on how to avoid common mistakes and succeed in graduate school.

    BFI’s outstanding pre-doctoral fellows have gone on to some of the country’s top PhD programs, securing places in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School; Urban Planning at the University of California at Berkeley; and more.

    How to Apply

    Applications for the program are reviewed in fall, winter, and spring cycles. The winter application cycle for 2022 is now live, with a priority deadline of January 30.

    Applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree by June of the year they are applying, and have strong quantitative and programming skills. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with experience in Stata, R, Python or Matlab. The ideal candidate would begin in July and work for BFI for one or two years before applying to graduate school in Economics or another quantitative social science. BFI offers a competitive salary and employee benefits.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Do you offer visa sponsorship for international applicants?

    Yes, BFI sponsors work or student visas.

    2. Are there any specific requirements for the writing sample?

    There are no requirements for the length or topic of your writing sample. Many successful applicants submit economics research papers (e.g. a thesis, or term paper) that highlight their abilities in writing and empirical analysis.

    3. What kind of applicant does BFI look for?

    Successful applicants have typically completed advanced coursework with high marks in economics, math, statistics, or computer science. Many pre-doctoral research professionals have had past economics research experience at their university, or other research institutions such as the Federal Reserve, World Bank, J-PAL or IMF.

  • Field Research Associate, Energy and Environment Lab

    About the Department
    The University of Chicago Energy and Environment Lab (EE Lab) partners with agencies at the federal, state and local level to identify, rigorously evaluate, and help scale programs and policies that reduce pollution and improve environmental outcomes, while ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy. The EE Lab applies rigorous evaluation and modeling methods, including natural and field experiments, randomized controlled trials, behavioral economics, and machine learning, to help policymakers identify and generate evidence on innovative approaches and policy solutions to their most pressing environmental and energy challenges.

    Job Summary
    The EE Lab is seeking self-driven and enterprising Field Research Associates to conduct air quality data collection in Colorado. The Associate will work with staff at the EE Lab and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to strengthen the existing partnership between EE Lab and CDPHE and collect on the ground data for a research project on monitoring methane emissions from oil and gas operations in the state. The Associates will assist in developing an air quality monitoring data collection plan and executing methane emissions measurements throughout the year. The Associates will work in teams to drive to data collection sites in the vicinity of oil and gas facilities, where they will conduct air quality measurements using gas analyzer technology. The Associates will be responsible for the logistics of ensuring the data collection plan is on track, will monitor the quality of the collected data, and will troubleshoot technical issues as they arise. This position offers a unique opportunity to apply modern emissions monitoring technology and data analytics to measure methane emissions and contribute to policy innovation. Candidates must be willing to live in greater Denver, Colorado for the duration of employment.

    Responsibilities

    • Performs sampling and data collection in the field using remote sensing equipment. Leads troubleshooting of technological, logistical, and meteorological problems in real time.
    • Coordinates with EE Lab principal investigators and research staff to develop an efficient but flexible data collection plan.
    • Develops and executes a weekly data collection plan, and makes daily adjustments as necessary, accounting meteorological conditions on the ground.
    • Provides technical assistance and recommendations to EE Lab staff regarding emissions monitoring.
    • Works closely with the research team to solve complex problems relating to the administration of the project, including planning new procedures, adapting existing procedures to the needs of the project, and thoroughly documenting all decision points.
    • Develops and maintains effective working relations with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and other stakeholders to cooperate on emissions monitoring efforts.
    • Collects and assists in analyzing data. Assists with preparation of reports, manuscripts and other documents.
    • Analyzes and maintains data and/or specimens. Conducts literature reviews. Assists with preparation of reports, manuscripts and other documents.
    • Installs, sets up and performs experiments; interacting with students and other laboratory staff under the direction of the principal investigator.
    • Maintains recruiting and scheduling research subjects; assisting with developing or amending study protocols; assisting with developing data collection tools; assisting with building databases; and providing general administrative support. Has general awareness in research techniques or methods, regulatory policies and procedures, and relevant scientific field.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications
    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through < 2 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, statistics, computer science, IT, chemistry, other sciences or a related field.
    • Coursework in physics, chemistry, environmental science, and statistics.

    Experience:

    • Prior experience obtained while in school or in a similar field.
    • Designing and carrying out data collection and sampling plans. Knowledge of data organization and management best practices is a plus.
    • Background working with large datasets.
    • Working knowledge on environmental monitoring research, field experiments and randomized controlled trials.

    Certifications:

    • Valid U.S. driver’s license; safe automotive driving record in the U.S. for past 2 years.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Skilled at troubleshooting and resolving technical challenges.
    • Knowledge of oil and gas operations.
    • Familiarity with Microsoft and Google suites.
    • Basic understanding of atmospheric science and air pollution concepts, and quickly learn how to operate new equipment and computer software.
    • Working knowledge using emissions monitoring equipment.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Proven work ethic, flexibility and punctuality.
    • Proven ability to work both independently, in a self-directed manner, and as part of a team.
    • Resourcefulness, adaptability, and flexibility.
    • Excellent analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
    • Proven organizational skills and high attention to detail, with a strong focus on results.
    • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Project Associate, Energy & Environment Lab

    Job Summary

    The University of Chicago Energy & Environment Lab is seeking a Project Associate (PA) with strong research, methodological, and programming skills to support environmental policy research projects. The PA will work on a portfolio of projects designed to evaluate the impact of promising energy and environmental interventions. Typical research projects involve the analysis of environmental and energy data, utilizing quasi-experimental and experimental methods to provide government partners with guidance on key policy questions.

    The successful candidate will have experience with data management, econometrics, and statistical modeling. The PA will contribute to all aspects of research, including data collection, model development, and implementation. This position requires an individual who is able to work as part of small research teams, and on multiple projects concurrently, while also being self-directed and independent. The position offers the opportunity to work directly with leading policy researchers and faculty at the University of Chicago and other universities, and policymakers in state and local environmental agencies.

    Responsibilities

    • Works as part of faculty-led research teams to contribute to development, design and implementation of applied economics research studies.
    • Collaboratively leads data collection, study management, subject sampling, randomization, and analysis including cleaning and assembling datasets for analysis; conduct field research as needed.
    • Coordinates research activities, assists in preparing human subjects protocols, manages and analyzes data across multiple projects.
    • Contributes to building traditional statistical models and machine learning algorithms for a variety of research projects.
    • Prepares results of analysis for research papers, policy briefs, and memos and presentations targeting both policymakers and academic audiences.
    • Helps build and maintain strong relationships and effective communication with government agencies, and other research partners and organizations.
    • Conducts thorough and critical reviews of relevant literature.
    • Supports fundraising and reporting efforts, such as helping prepare grant proposals and progress reports to funders.
    • Maintains technical and administrative support for a portfolio of research projects.
    • Takes responsibility for the following non-laboratory duties: transcribing and coding data; developing data collection instruments; presenting research; and recruiting and scheduling research subjects. Acquires higher-level skills and knowledge in the process.
    • Maintains technical and administrative support for a research project.
    • Analyzes and maintains data and/or specimens. Conducts literature reviews. Assists with preparation of reports, manuscripts and other documents.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications
    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.


    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through < 2 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • Bachelor’s degree in economics, statistics, computer science or other relevant field.
    • Coursework in econometrics and/or mathematical statistics.

    Experience:

    • A minimum of one year of relevant research experience. Experience gained in school counts towards requirement.
    • Background working on field experiments / randomized controlled trials.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Experience working with Stata, R, Python, and/or other programming languages.
    • Experience cleaning and analyzing data.
    • Experience building predictive models.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Strong interest in environmental policy.
    • Extensive background in applied statistics and econometrics.
    • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
    • Work on multiple projects simultaneously and meet tight deadlines.
    • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
    • Work both independently, in a self-directed manner, and as a team member.
  • Associate Director of Water, Development Innovation Lab

    Job Summary
    The Associate Director of Water will build on research by Michael Kremer and coauthors suggesting that water treatment is among the most cost effective interventions for reducing child mortality (https://bfi.uchicago.edu/working-paper/2022-26/), DIL scaling up research and policy implementation to increase access to dilute-chlorine solution for household-level water treatment in low- and middle-income country.

    To do this, DIL is looking to hire an Associate Director of Water to work as a leading member of the DIL water team focusing on scaling this intervention through partnerships with various government offices in several countries. Reporting to the Initiative Director, the main role of the Associate Director of Water will be partnership management and stakeholder engagement while also including evaluation support, project management, research design and management, as well as policy writing and outreach. We are looking for candidates with an understanding of impact evaluation, economics and statistics, water and public health policy, and government program implementation. Candidates are expected to be equipped with excellent oral and written communication skills, attention to detail, strong project management skills, and who can take ownership of their work independently and collaborate effectively with other members of the team.

    This position will travel to Kenya and/or one of the other countries where we have projects. Applicants must be willing to travel frequently to remote areas of the countries involved. This is a full-time position for one-year with possibility for renewal.

    Responsibilities

    • Supports engagements with government officials, policy practitioners, and researchers working on chlorine/safe water projects in various countries.
    • Builds and maintains strong relationships with key partners in the relevant government offices.
    • Scopes work for developing research and policy designs in several countries, including background research on chlorine practices and clean water access as well as travel and fieldwork to meet with potential partners and conduct interviews and focus group discussions among target populations.
    • Shares feasibility assessments and initial analyses with policymakers and researchers through in-person meetings, memos, and phone calls.
    • Supports DIL researchers and our partners on the study design. This includes refining the program’s theory of change; identifying constraints and potential threats to the integrity of the study; and providing deep local context and cultural sensitivity to the project design.
    • Supports DIL researchers and our partners with the implementation and potential scale-up of projects. This includes the execution of piloting, roll-out, and data collection plans.
    • Reports regularly to PIs and DIL senior management on project progress. Flags potential problems such as delays, overspending, data quality issues, or threats to validity; and recommend solutions to the problems.
    • Manages processes for establishing and executing research projects. This includes managing the development of proposals; maintaining funding initiative records and tracking compliance with donor requirements; and organizing policy outreach webinars and events and engaging with stakeholders.
    • Drafts publications and presentations that summarize and synthesize the policy implications of key research results.
    • Creates guides, documents, and presentations on research processes and methods that can serve as resources for policymakers and implementing partners.
    • Provides expertise to researchers on compliance of research activities with institutional, state, and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives and mandates.
    • Provides expertise to researchers and research support staff. Oversees activities related to data collection and analysis.
    • Leads the establishment of new laboratories and provides assistance with purchasing new laboratory equipment; ensuring efficient operation of laboratory, including overseeing maintenance and repair of laboratory equipment.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications
    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • A Master’s degree in economics, public health, or a closely related, quantitatively rigorous field.

    Experience:

    • Minimum of seven years of previous job experience.
    • Experience working with non-profit organizations and government officials on WASH projects.
    • Background in randomized controlled trials.
    • Experience interacting and collaborating with government officials, non-governmental organizations, and other key stakeholders in a developing country context.
    • Experience with presenting research findings at public forums, including non-research focused audiences.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Complete fluency in English.

    Preferred Competencies

    • A background (education or experience) in water is strongly encouraged.
    • Strong quantitative, analytical, and financial management skills.
    • A strong track record of managing complicated projects in the field, particularly in a matrixed environment.
    • Strong attention to detail.
    • Work independently and problem-solve, as well as enlist the support of other teams within the organization.
    • Strong written and oral communication skills.
    • Strong knowledge of the social and cultural context in relevant countries.
  • Initiative Director - Agriculture, Development Innovation Lab

    Job Summary
    DIL at the University of Chicago is seeking a full-time Director to set up and lead our initiative on agriculture and to lead research efforts for the Commission on Innovation for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture, one of DIL’s flagship projects. The Commission will convene former heads of state and ministers of finance to address challenges at the intersection of climate change, food security, and agriculture. The Commission will assess innovations that could provide social benefits, but are currently underfunded and propose institutional mechanisms that promote the development and scaling of innovations.

    The Director will work closely with DIL Faculty Director and Commission Chair, Michael Kremer, the Commission Secretariat Director, Paul Winters, and the rest of the DIL leadership to establish and lead this new agricultural initiative within DIL. The Director will be responsible for strategy for the initiative, high-level relationship building, research project development and management, financial and grant management, and program and donor development. To be successful they will need to have strong experience working in development economics research, be a highly dynamic and analytical individual who can excel in a diverse set of responsibilities from working with partners to developing research designs to translating academic research into policy and implementation recommendations.

    The Director will play a key role within the Commission Secretariat providing leadership in guiding the research agenda of the Commission as the Secretariat’s Research Director. The Commission will convene an Advisory Board of some of the world’s leading economists and other researchers, and the Director will work closely with these academics to build and coordinate innovation teams to advance the development and scale-up of promising innovations. The Director will also directly lead in the writing of key reports with the Commission. The Director will serve as a bridge between leading researchers and senior policymakers.

    Responsibilities

    • Identifies, develops, and manages research projects, with travel as necessary to support project development and set-up.
    • Designs and executes strategies to enable scaling of relevant innovations through partners.
    • Builds relationships with key partners in governments, NGOs, foundations, and multilateral aid agencies.
    • Leads global and local dissemination and policy outreach for the initiative, with a view to scaling up insights from the research.
    • Leads the writing of key reports for the Commission on Innovation for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture.
    • Coordinates the work of research teams led by innovation leads and collaborates with innovation leads in the writing of papers to be included in the final report.
    • Conducts and manages broader research on issues relevant to the Commission.
    • Leads empirical analysis on topics relevant to the Commission.
    • Hires and manages staff to meet the Initiative’s goals.
    • Spearheads fundraising and grant writing efforts to support core initiative activities.
    • Ensures smooth administration of the Program, including financial and administrative oversight, project management, and grant reporting.
    • Coordinates and collaborates with other initiative leads as required.
    • Provides input on cross-cutting lab activities as required and requested by the Executive Director or Faculty Director at Development Innovation Lab.
    • Recruira pre- and post-doctoral fellows.
    • Collaborates on research design.
    • Develops lab strategy and plans.
    • Collaborates with the larger Development Economics Center at the University of Chicago including with the Weiss Fund for Development Economics.
    • Collaborates across policy or research activities, especially where there is crossover or common partners between initiatives.
    • Develops goals and operating procedures, practices, and guidelines for research activity based on department strategy.
    • Reviews research of others, and may conduct own research, in area of expertise. Edits and approves articles, reports and manuscripts. Presents research findings at meetings and/or conference. Manages the research of processes in clinical or non-clinical settings. Program and use computers to store, process, and analyze data.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications
    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • PhD or Master’s degree in economics, public policy or international development including significant training in economics.

    Experience:

    • Seven or more years of relevant work experience. PhD can count for up to 3 years of experience.
    • Prior experience working on randomized evaluations, development economics research, and/or public policy in developing countries.
    • Substantial experience working in one or more of the initiative areas in developing countries.
    • Experience working with developing country governments or large bilateral and multilateral funders.
    • Organizing policy events as well as producing policy resources and publications.
    • Experience effecting change within governments or large multilateral organizations and/or implementing large scale programs.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • PhD level training in microeconomics and econometrics.
    • Candidates from a policy background or related academic background who can demonstrate similar knowledge will also be considered.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Demonstrated ability to maintain high-level relationships with governments, international development practitioners, and/or academic researchers.
    • Excellent communication and presentation skills.
    • Demonstrated project management skills, including managing stuff and successfully working across teams, budgeting, attention to operational and research details, and ability to manage multiple projects efficiently.
  • Grants & Contracts Manager, Weiss Fund

    Job Summary
    A primary activity of the Weiss Fund is a bi-annual request for proposals (RFP) process and the year-round management of those who have received awards from the Weiss Fund. This position supports the Weiss Fund team in running the annual RFPs and ongoing awardee financial and programmatic management.

    The Grant and Contracts Associate supports routine pre-award and/or post-award activities relating to the Weiss Fund’s grant and contract proposals and funding. Pre-award activities preparing for and executing the Request for Proposals process including collecting applications, facilitating the review period, and organizing the award decision process. Post-award activities include compliance monitoring, awardee reporting and NCE processing, invoice payment processing, and salary allocations. Performs work with guidance from others.

    Responsibilities

    • Seeks to improve and maintain processes for efficient grant management of outgoing awards from the Weiss Fund.
    • Prepares grant reports and analysis as requested by the primary donor.
    • For the primary award to UChicago, handles straightforward post-award activities including account creations, regulatory and compliance monitoring, salary allocations, effort reporting, grant projections, cost allocations, cost center charges, equipment inventory, invoice preparation, grant closing process, and account closure.
    • Plans and oversees the RFP process including updating the application, coordinating stakeholders for various review stages, and preparing materials for the committee meeting.
    • For outgoing awards to Weiss Fund recipients, handles all award notifications, coordinates contracts with URA, manages programmatic reporting requirements, processes no-cost extension requests, ensures invoices are compliant with Weiss Fund policies, and processes invoices.
    • Works closely with Weiss Fund and UChicago team members to execute the complexities of Weiss Fund grant management.
    • Creatively problem solves as unorthodox grant management questions arise. Weiss Fund is an organization that is giving out grants, an atypical arrangement for a University setting, so the role works closely with the University administration to identify appropriate processes and solutions.
    • Reviews all applications against University guidelines, in addition to drafting progress reports, non-competing applications, amendments, and budgeting. Responsible for all data entry and preparation of grant reports and trend analysis.
    • Handles straightforward post-award activities including account creations, regulatory and compliance monitoring, salary allocations, effort reporting, grant projections, cost allocations, cost center charges, equipment inventory, invoice preparation, grant closing process, and account closing.
    • Prepares summaries of grants and effort allocations for Principal Investigators, meets with them and responds to their questions. Coordinates with other departments/units/divisions regarding multi investigator grants. Serves as department contact for annual audits and agency site visits.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications
    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or similar field.

    Experience:

    • Accounting and budgeting experience.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Project management skills; plan tasks for teams, monitor progress, make corrections to plans.
    • Contracting and grant management experience.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Analyze financial data.
    • Great organizational skills.
    • Ensure compliance
    • Team player with good problem solving and time management skills.
    • Work under pressure and meet deadlines.
    • Strategic thinking and analytical skills.
  • Research Manager, Energy and Environment Lab

    About the Department
    The University of Chicago Urban Labs partners with government and non-governmental organizations to identify and rigorously evaluate the policies and programs with the greatest potential to improve human lives at scale. Urban Labs’ evidence-based approach gives policymakers and practitioners the knowledge they need to effectively achieve the greatest social good per dollar spent. The University of Chicago Energy & Environment Lab (E&E Lab) partners with agencies at the federal, state, and local level to identify, rigorously evaluate, and help scale programs and policies that reduce pollution and improve environmental outcomes, while ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy. The E&E Lab applies rigorous evaluation and modeling methods, including natural and field experiments, randomized controlled trials, behavioral economics, and machine learning, to help policymakers identify and generate evidence on innovative approaches and policy solutions to their most pressing environmental and energy challenges.

    Job Summary

    The University of Chicago E&E Lab is seeking a Research Manager (RM) with strong research, methodological, and management skills to support large-scale environmental policy research projects. The RM will help manage a growing portfolio of projects designed to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of promising energy and environmental interventions. The RM will contribute to the design, implementation, and analysis of energy and environment research projects with direct applicability for policymakers. This role works closely with U.S. government agencies, municipal governments, researchers, and a dedicated team of research analysts, data scientists, and staff, to support research projects led by Faculty Director Michael Greenstone.

    Responsibilities

    • Works with partners to identify analytical approaches to answer specific research questions or to provide analytical support to government partners.
    • Constructs, trains, and deploys scalable machine learning algorithms for a variety of predictive analytics research projects.
    • Meaningfully contributes to research design, analysis, and implementation of policy-relevant research projects.
    • Manages data collection, econometric analysis and provides quality assurance for research projects.
    • Manages research partnerships with government agencies and serves as project manager for research and technical assistance projects, including communications and project deliverables.
    • Prepares results for memos, presentations, and papers targeting both policymakers and academic audiences.
    • Helps manage project teams and junior staff, leads task supervision and quality oversight.
    • Ensures compliance with institutional, state and federal regulatory policies and procedures as well as internal data privacy and security policies.
    • Assists with writing grant proposals and managing grant reports.
    • Supports data collection and analytical needs of research projects. Conducts literature reviews and helps write reports and manuscripts. Ensures project compliance with different policies, procedures, directives, and mandates.
    • Takes responsibility for the following non-laboratory duties: transcribing and coding data; developing data collection instruments; presenting research; and recruiting and scheduling research subjects. Acquires higher-level skills and knowledge in the process.
    • Takes responsibility for the following laboratory duties: recognizing abnormal results and varying conditions or procedures to correct problems; setting up and performing experiments. Analyze the meaning, significance, causes, and effects of the subject.
    • Maintains technical and administrative support for a research project.
    • Analyzes and maintains data and/or specimens. Conducts literature reviews. Assists with preparation of reports, manuscripts and other documents.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications
    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through < 2 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • Bachelor’s degree in economics, statistics, computer science.
    • Master’s degree in economics, statistics, computer science.

    Experience:

    • A minimum of three years of relevant research experience.
    • Experience working on field experiments / randomized controlled trials.
    • Coursework in statistics, econometrics, data science, and computer science.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Proficiency with R, Python, or Stata.
    • Experience working with large and complex datasets.
    • Applying machine learning algorithms in operational environments.
    • Explaining complex statistical ideas and/or research projects to non-experts.
    • Experience with relational databases.
    • Experience with GitHub.
    • Strong background in applied statistics and econometrics.
    • Knowledge and understanding of energy and environmental policy topics.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to present research concepts to non-technical audiences.
    • Strong time management skills with a proven ability to multitask and to prioritize activities to successfully complete projects on tight deadlines with little supervision.
    • Strong project management skills with exceptional attention to detail.
    • Work both independently, in a self-directed manner, and as a team member.
    • Work discreetly with sensitive and confidential data.
  • Economics Writer, Becker Friedman Institute

    Job Summary

    The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) at the University of Chicago is seeking a skilled writer with a background in economics to amplify the research and expertise of UChicago economists. A successful candidate will have experience writing about economics and/or public policy, with economics coursework a bonus, and will also have experience in social media or digital journalism.

    Responsibilities

    • Works with the Senior Economics Writer and Editor to produce Economic Findings and Research Briefs.
    • Leads BFI’s presence on Twitter, facebook, and potentially other platforms:
      • Amplify new working papers.
      • Link existing working papers with current news events.
      • Monitor social media channels to align BFI content with relevant discussions.
      • Build creative social media content.
    • Provides writing and editing support for other BFI content, including website and numerous collateral projects.
    • Determines, researches, verifies, writes and edits publications, which often includes technical/scientific material for manuals or journals.
    • Uses broad knowledge of writing to write in-depth pieces relating to specialized field (e.g. scientific writing).
    • Designs and plans communications strategies.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications

    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • BA in journalism, communications or related field.

    Experience:

    • 5-10 years writing experience, including in the field(s) of economics and public policy.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Understanding of basic economic concepts, with economics coursework a bonus.
    • 3+ years of experience in social media or digital journalism, including an understanding of mainstream and emerging social channels.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Strong interpersonal skills, with fluency in the English language, including verbal and written communication with both internal and external contacts.
    • Excellent writing, spelling, and grammar skills with the ability to take complex information and transform it into easy-to-understand copy.
    • Strong research, organizational and learning skills.
    • The ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously, prioritize, and manage time efficiently in a fast-paced environment.
    • Must be self-motivated and self-directed, with the ability to work independently or as an active member of a team, including taking direction from BFI leadership.
  • Policy Lead - Market Shaping Hub, Development Innovation Lab

    Job Summary

    The Policy Lead will work with Professor Rachel Glennerster and colleagues at the Market Shaping Hub to support the development and adoption of high impact market shaping proposals that will incentivize innovations that address climate change, biosecurity, and other pressing global challenges.

    Responsibilities

    • Performs economic appraisals, including cost-benefit analysis, of market shaping proposals.
    • Analyzes policy challenges such as climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and pandemic preparedness.
    • Investigates technologies such as cooling, improved crop varieties, carbon removal, and vaccines.
    • Collaborates with market shaping proposal advocates, innovators, and funders.
    • Maintains and builds key relationships with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to impact relevant policy and funding opportunities. Provides expertise to Congress and the federal agencies in the formulation of key policy decisions.
    • Develops relationships with University faculty and administration to learn about and convey University initiatives to the federal government. Communicates information about pending federal programs and projects to University officers to help faculty and administration anticipate and participate in federally sponsored programs of interest.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications

    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • Master’s degree in economics, mathematics, statistics, public policy, or related discipline.

    Experience:

    • Minimum 5 years of relevant experience, including 2+ years of experience managing teams and projects.
    • Budgets, fundraising and grant management.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Project management skills; plan tasks for teams, monitor progress, make corrections to plans.
    • Fluent in English.
    • Data and spreadsheet skills (e.g. building models for economic and financial appraisal).

    Preferred Competencies

    • Comfort with uncertainty and willingness to engage in back-of-the-envelope, or Fermi, economic calculations and estimates.
    • Team player with good problem-solving and time management skills.
    • Excellent interpersonal skills as well as written and oral communication skills.
    • Work under pressure and meet deadlines.
    • Careful understanding of economic incentives and an ability to creatively apply economic principles.
    • Curiosity and interest in climate change, biosecurity, including pandemic preparedness.
    • Excellent analytical and critical-thinking skills.
    • Manage and prioritize multiple projects simultaneously.
    • Experience managing teams and projects.
    • Develop and maintain strong partnerships with external collaborators, funders, journalists, or other important constituencies.
    • Support building relationships across diverse cultures and backgrounds, within the University, the regional ecosystem, and globally.
    • Excellent oral and written communication and public speaking skills including the ability to translate technical ideas into non-technical content.
    • Familiarity with working in a university setting.
  • Policy Lead - Scaling, Development

    Job Summary
    The Policy Lead position will support policy outreach in the agriculture sector and work to get proven innovations to scale. As the first line of work, we are looking for a Policy Lead who can drive the Lab’s efforts to catalyze the scale up of Asset-Collateralized Loans (ACLs), an innovation proven to have large effects on access to finance for an agriculture technology. The Policy Lead will work with the Agriculture Initiative Director and other Agriculture staff at the Lab to creatively and effectively push for scale. This work will include first working to scale with other dairy SACCOs in Kenya, then working to scale towards other productive assets, and finally scaling both in dairy and with other assets in other emerging markets. The Lead will meet with stakeholders and policymakers, liaise with partners, hire and manage staff if needed, fundraise, manage budgets, and most importantly, innovate and drive towards an effective scale pathway. Note: this role will require substantial travel to low-income countries. This position will likely be based in Chicago, but we will consider applicants interested to be based in Nairobi.

    The top priority for this role is to get ACLs to scale, first in Kenya but then in other geographies. This work will include raising money from impact investors, working with partners to set up a revolving fund for capital for productive assets, and working with SACCOs in emerging markets to set up the systems to offer and administer these loans. This work will be both broad and deep – the successful candidate should expect to spend time brainstorming with the DIL directors in Chicago, making pitches to impact investors, and spending significant time in Kenya (or other geographies) working directly with SACCOs to set up loan systems, talking to farmers to understand their motivations, and meeting with policymakers.

    Responsibilities

    • Catalyzes the scale up of innovations proven to be effective by DIL researchers. First and foremost, works to catalyze the scale up of Asset-Collateralized Loans (ACLs).
    • Gets ACLs to scale, first in Kenya but then in at least one other geography.
    • Creates and manages budgets, including for internal and external resources.
    • Fundraises for catalytic scale funding from donors and impact investors. Manages grants and investments, including coordinating with partners and subcontractors.
    • Hires and manages staff as needed for effective scale support.
    • Creates and updates written materials as needed, such as policy briefs about proven innovations, pitch decks to potential donors, business cases, scaling information on the website, etc.
    • Works to understand the financial systems in Kenya and other emerging markets, including mapping inefficiencies and possible solutions to barriers impeding scale up.
    • Builds a consortium of partners working to scale proven innovations, especially ACLs.
    • Maintains and builds key relationships with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to impact relevant policy and funding opportunities. Provides expertise to Congress and the federal agencies in the formulation of key policy decisions.
    • Collaborates with external organizations and associations that advocate for national policies that promote federal support of higher education and University science. Advocates for funding and programs within the Department of Energy that support the missions of Argonne and Fermi lab.
    • Develops relationships with University faculty and administration to learn about and convey University initiatives to the federal government. Communicates information about pending federal programs and projects to University officers to help faculty and administration anticipate and participate in federally sponsored programs of interest.
    • Uses subject matter and best practices knowledge to perform lab and/or research-related duties and tasks. Works independently to assist with project design.
    • Solves complex problems relating to the administration of projects, including planning new procedures, adapting existing procedures to the needs of the project, and making significant contributions to methodology.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Minimum Qualifications

    Education:

    Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

    Work Experience:

    Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

    Preferred Qualifications

    Education:

    • Master’s degree in economics, mathematics, statistics, public policy, or related discipline.

    Experience:

    • Minimum 5 years of relevant experience, including 2+ years of experience managing teams and projects.
    • Experience with budgets useful.
    • Working in emerging markets.
    • Experience in the financial sector.
    • Fundraising and managing grants.
    • Managing teams and projects.

    Technical Skills or Knowledge:

    • Project management skills; plan tasks for teams, monitor progress, make corrections to plans.
    • Fluent in English.

    Preferred Competencies

    • Strong budget management skills.
    • Excellent interpersonal skills.
    • Team player with good problem solving and time management skills.
    • Work under pressure and meet deadlines.
    • Develop and maintain strong partnerships with external collaborators, funders, journalists, or other important constituencies.
    • Support building relationships across diverse cultures and backgrounds, within the University, the regional ecosystem, and globally.
    • Excellent oral and written communication and public speaking skills including the ability to translate technical ideas into non-technical content.
    • Familiarity with working in a university setting.
  • Summer Research Assistant, Energy & Environment Lab

    Job Summary

    The E&E Lab is seeking Summer Research Assistants (RAs) with strong research, methodological, and programming skills to support large-scale environmental policy research projects. The RAs will work on a portfolio of projects designed to evaluate the impact of promising energy and environmental interventions. Typical research projects involve the analysis of environmental and energy data, utilizing quasi-experimental and experimental methods to provide government partners with guidance on key policy questions.

    Responsibilities:

    • Project development and project coordination
    • Coding, review, and cleaning of data
    • Data analytics, statistical analysis, and modeling
    • Literature reviews
    • Assisting in writing, formatting, and editing reports and works for dissemination

    Job Requirements

    Competencies:

    • Interest in and aptitude for developing advanced programming and analytic skills
    • Experience with at least one statistical analysis language required; STATA, R, or Python strongly preferred
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to synthesize multiple sources
    • Strong initiative and a resourceful approach to problem-solving and learning
    • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
    • High attention to detail and organizational skills
    • Knowledge of environment and/or energy policy issues preferred

    Education:

    • Significant progress towards an undergraduate or graduate degree in a relevant discipline
    • Coursework in computer science, statistics, or engineering
    • Research experience in an academic setting preferred

    Documents Required:

    • Resume
    • Cover Letter
    • Academic transcript(s)

    Successful candidates will be paid a stipend and would join the E&E Lab for a period of approximately ten weeks, with a flexible start date. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, with decisions made on a rolling basis. Due to the high volume of applications, only candidates shortlisted for an interview will be contacted.

    The E&E Lab main office is in Chicago; some research staff are based in the offices of our federal and state government partners. Summer Research Assistant positions are available in: Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, Sacramento, CA, Albany, NY and Washington, DC. Locational preferences should be noted in your application. (All placements and in-person activities will be subject to public health guidance regarding the COVID pandemic.)

    About E&E Lab

    The University of Chicago Energy & Environment Lab (E&E Lab) partners with agencies at the local, state and federal level to identify, rigorously evaluate, and help scale programs and policies that reduce pollution and improve environmental outcomes, while ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy. The E&E Lab uses natural experiments, randomized control trials, behavioral economics, and machine learning to help policymakers identify and generate evidence around innovative approaches to their most pressing environmental and energy-related challenges.

    The E&E Lab is part of the Urban Labs, a collection of labs that partner with government agencies to identify and rigorously evaluate policies with the greatest potential to improve human lives at scale. Urban Labs’ evidence-based approach gives policymakers and practitioners the knowledge they need to effectively achieve the greatest social good per dollar spent.