King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI) Fellow

King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI) Fellow

Website J-PAL North America at MIT

Reducing poverty ensuring policy is informed by evidence

J-PAL North America, a research center within the Economics department at MIT, seeks a K-CAI Fellow to join its team and contribute to its mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. J-PAL North America conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs. As a regional office of the global Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab , J-PAL North America leverages research by affiliated professors from universities across the world to generate and disseminate rigorous evidence about which anti-poverty social policies work and why. 

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to address the complex causes and consequences of poverty. To advance our mission, J-PAL North America must draw on diverse experiences from our staff and affiliated researchers in order to ask better questions and identify better solutions. We are working to increase the limited representation of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in the economics profession. Our organization is implementing strategies to attract, develop, and advance a diverse staff and building a pipeline to increase diversity among economic researchers. We are committed to engaging in self-reflection, learning, and dialogue to nurture understanding across differences. Together, we will build an equitable, inclusive culture where everyone is respected, empowered, and heard. 

To learn more about our work and team culture, see our Join Our Team brochure or visit

Opportunity Overview 

As a member of the J-PAL North America team, you’ll be part of a Nobel-prize winning scientific movement that can transform US policy making. The King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI) Fellow will help define a research agenda and build research partnerships to launch experimental transit studies that assess the impact of transportation decarbonization interventions. This is a one-year time-limited position. 

In the United States, transportation emissions are a leading contributor to air pollutants associated with large health and environmental damages. Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by negative impacts from transportation systems, including exposure to particulate matter. The K-CAI Fellow will work closely with our Environment, Energy, and Climate Change policy team and Prof. Robert Metcalfe (University of Southern California) to develop a white paper outlining existing evidence on transport decarbonization interventions, remaining policy-relevant research questions, and promising avenues for future randomized evaluation (or randomized controlled trial (RCT)) research. Key responsibilities for this role will also include conducting informational interviews and focus groups with government stakeholders and supporting the execution of a range of policy and outreach activities to ensure the white paper and evidence review inform the direction of research and policymaking in the larger transport decarbonization space. 

For our K-CAI Fellow role, we are looking for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in economics, public policy or administration, statistics, or a closely related field with interest in environment and climate, training in statistics and quantitative methods, and training in effective non-technical writing. A master’s degree in a closely related field is strongly preferred. We seek applicants from diverse backgrounds and especially encourage candidates with lived or direct experience with the social policy issues that J-PAL North America aims to address through its work. 


  • White paper and evidence review development: The K-CAI Fellow will develop a white paper outlining existing evidence on transport decarbonization interventions, remaining policy-relevant research questions, and promising avenues for future randomized evaluation (or randomized controlled trial (RCT)) research. As part of this effort, the fellow will also estimate the overall welfare effects of these rigorous studies through the marginal value of public funds framework. Finally, the fellow will develop an “evidence review” summarizing findings of the white paper for a policy audience. 
  • Stakeholder engagement: The K-CAI Fellow will conduct informational interviews and focus group discussions to solicit input from government staff, including transit authority personnel and other key stakeholders, to identify research areas with high potential for policy influence and build demand for RCT knowledge. The fellow will also engage researchers in the J-PAL network who have demonstrated or expressed interest in RCT research in transportation and mobility. 
  • Dissemination and outreach: The K-CAI Fellow will support the execution of a range of policy dissemination and outreach activities to ensure the white paper and evidence review inform the direction of research and policymaking in the larger transport decarbonization space. This may include conference and webinar presentations and direct outreach to transportation agencies to gauge interest in RCT research partnership opportunities in alignment with the transport decarbonization research agenda. 

Compensation & Benefits 

This is a full-time exempt position that is expected to last for one-year. This position is classified by MIT as a Technical Associate II position and currently offers a fixed market-based salary range that is based on experience. 

J-PAL North America staff are MIT employees, which means they are eligible for a wide array of institutional benefits. Some of these MIT benefits include comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match up to 5% of salary plus a pension-based retirement plan, tuition assistance up to $5,250 per calendar year, commuter benefits, access to MyLifeServices, a generous vacation policy, paid leave for sick time, maternity and parental leave, back-up child care benefits and much more. 

Professional Development

J-PAL North America supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly seminars, engage in small-group discussions with other J-PAL staff, participate in workshops, and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program. Staff have the opportunity to work with J-PAL affiliates and directors, as well as interact with policymakers and practitioners. 


Commitment to Mission & Values: Cares personally and deeply about policy that has the potential to reduce poverty and the rigorous research that informs it. Demonstrates a commitment to J-PAL North America’s values. 

Education: A bachelor’s degree in economics, public policy or administration, statistics, or a closely related field with interest in environment and climate is required, as is training in statistics and quantitative methods and training in effective non-technical writing. A master’s degree in a closely related field is strongly preferred. 

Experience: This position requires 4 years of relevant experience, which can include experience gained through part-time work, college level coursework, related internships, volunteer experiences, research assistant or teaching assistant experience and/or policy work. Project management experience is highly valued. 

Technical Skills: Demonstrates the ability to synthesize results across large bodies of research and an ability to tailor technical content to a policy audience. Demonstrates the ability to accurately understand and communicate about basic concepts related to research design for randomized evaluations and other impact evaluation methodologies, study results and their implications, and research generalizability with minimal support. 

Ownership of Work: Demonstrates the ability to take responsibility/be accountable for managing their own work with high attention to detail and limited supervision. Demonstrates the ability to manage projects across multiple stakeholders within and across organizations. Takes initiative and offers ideas for new ways to approach work; shares knowledge and/or talents with others as needed to complete assigned tasks or projects. 

Written Communication: Accurately, succinctly, and persuasively communicates in writing to government staff, researchers, and project stakeholders with minimal supervision. Communicates or drafts communications for high-level external audiences with some supervision from senior-level staff. 

Oral Communication: Demonstrates strong active listening skills and accurately, succinctly, and persuasively communicates information orally to government staff, researchers, and external partners with minimal supervision. Communicates with high-level external partners with direct supervision from senior-level staff. 

External Stakeholder Relations: Demonstrates the ability to work with complex partnerships, especially with government staff and researchers.

Task & Project Management: Demonstrates the ability to initiate and manage a process-oriented task, plan and organize work, delegate appropriately, coordinate with others, establish appropriate priorities and timelines, exercises follow through, finish it well, and add overall value to the team. 

Problem Solving/Decision Making: Demonstrates adeptness at analyzing facts, judgment, and strong decision-making ability. Responds to problems, issues, and opportunities that are identified by supervisors. Collaborates to identify a solution or response. 

Travel: Willingness and ability to travel as needed locally and in the US (usually minimal) to attend events or participate in meetings. 


Erin Graeber, Energy, Environment and Climate Change sector lead at J-PAL North America, will supervise the K-CAI Fellow. Professor Robert Metcalfe (University of Southern California) will serve as the academic lead on the white paper and evidence review. 

How to Apply
Ready to join a team of collaborative, inclusive, and inquisitive colleagues? Apply now. 

This position offers a flexible work model with the option to work in J-PAL North America’s MIT office in Cambridge, MA or remotely from anywhere in the United States. 

This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship. 

Submit an application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit, search for job ID 22509 (King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI) Fellow – J-PAL North America), and complete an application. 

In a single PDF uploaded to the resume field, please include: 

Cover letter which answers the following questions: 

  1. Tell us about your interest in poverty alleviation in North America, especially in the US, and your interest in climate mitigation? 
  2. What experiences have you had with synthesizing a large body of research and tailoring technical content to a policy audience? How have these experiences prepared you to be effective in this K-CAI Fellow role? 
  3. What experience do you have with stakeholder engagement, particularly government agency staff? Please emphasize which stakeholders you’ve worked with and what strategies you used to engage with them effectively. 


We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis as we receive them. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete an initial phone interview. Finalists will be called for a final interview.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.

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