J-PAL’s MENA Scholars Fellowship

The MENA Scholars Fellowship creates a pathway for MENA region-based researchers to build skills and experience to design and conduct randomized evaluations of poverty reduction and social development policies and programs.
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Over a two-year fellowship, selected scholars will build networks, have access to mentorship from the J-PAL affiliate network, participate in a dedicated training program, and have the opportunity to contribute to a randomized evaluation with J-PAL MENA.

With support from Community Jameel and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, the MENA Scholars Fellowship will support early career researchers and scholars interested in expanding their research portfolio to include randomized evaluations. Cohorts of MENA Scholars Fellows will help shape J-PAL MENA’s research portfolio and strengthen the local grounding and policy influence of impact evaluations across the region.

The inaugural group of six MENA scholars were accepted in June 2023, engaging in a comprehensive program that encompasses rigorous academic coursework, active participation in J-PAL MENA’s projects, and opportunities for mentorship and professional development.

Fellowship Program Details

The fellowship includes eight components:

  1. Work on randomized evaluation: Fellows will work on a randomized evaluation with a J-PAL affiliate, J-PAL MENA staff (for evaluations in Egypt), and implementing partners, learning about and experiencing the lifecycle of an impact evaluation.
  2. Mentoring: Fellows will be paired with a mentor from the J-PAL affiliate network, J-PAL MENA Scientific Directors, or J-PAL MENA Post-Doctoral Fellows.
  3. Networking: Fellows will be a member of their cohort and a growing network of MENA Scholars Fellows, and will join a larger worldwide network of Scholars Fellows in other regions, in addition to having access to the J-PAL MENA network.
  4. Education: Fellows will enroll and complete the MIT MicroMasters online courses to build randomized evaluation design, econometric analysis, and other related skills.
  5. Capacity Building: Supplemental training targeted at the cohort of Fellows will be delivered by J-PAL MENA post-doctoral fellows and staff, focused on unique aspects of randomized evaluations in the MENA region, personal website development, proposal writing, and to offer deeper technical training.
  6. Media coverage: Fellows will have the opportunity to receive guidance from J-PAL and a public relations firm to increase media coverage of their research and policy implications.
  7. Event participation: Fellows will be invited to present and participate at J-PAL MENA policy events in the region alongside J-PAL affiliated professors and leadership.
  8. Evaluation Design Project: Fellows will have the opportunity in the second year of the fellowship to design their own randomized evaluation on a topic of their interest in the MENA region and with guidance from their mentors.

Each Fellow will receive a USD$15,000 stipend over the two-year fellowship period. Stipends will support Fellows’ participation and commitment to fellowship program activities.


To be eligible for the Fellowship, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Education: Candidates should be specialized in Economics and/or relevant disciplines (such as public policy, political science, public health, statistics, etc.)
    • Track 1 – PhD Students: This track is open for candidates that are currently pursuing a PhD in economics or a related discipline.
      • It includes those whose nationalities are from the MENA region and are enrolled in PhD programs at universities in or outside the MENA region.
    • Track 2 – Academic scholars: This track is open for candidates who have completed a PhD in economics or a related discipline and are affiliated with a MENA academic institution.
  • Language skills: High-level of proficiency (fluent or native) in Arabic and English.
  • Quantitative skills:Proficiency in Stata or R are highly recommended.
  • Research in MENA: Fellows should manifest an interest in impact evaluation in policy issues related to poverty alleviation and development in the MENA region.
  • Ability to contribute to the work of a team: Candidates should be able to contribute to research projects related to applied microeconomics and poverty alleviation in sectors such as education, health, climate change among others. Candidates have to be keen on running randomized evaluations (but not necessarily have prior experience conducting them). Candidates should be motivated and organized to work independently, and to deliver on their responsibilities as part of a multi-year research project team.
  • Commitment: The candidate must be committed to completing all fellowship activities with J-PAL MENA for the duration of the fellowship, and actively participating in opportunities afforded via the fellowship.

How to Apply

Each applicant must complete this application form and provide a Resume and a Cover Letter as part of the application form explaining their motivation behind applying for the fellowship.

Application closes on April 30, 2024, at 11:59 pm EEST (GMT+2)

The selection process of the short-listed candidates will include a first round of applications screening by J-PAL MENA senior staff, and the following step will be an interview with the J-PAL affiliates selection committee. Shortlisted candidates will be notified by the end of May 2024.

For more information, please reach out to MENAScholars@povertyactionlab.org.

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