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The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa at the American University in Cairo launches fellowship to support emerging development researchers

Cairo, Egypt
  • The MENA Scholars Fellowship will seek to build a community of regional researchers with technical and hands-on experience designing and conducting randomised evaluations of poverty reduction programmes
  • The fellowship is supported by Community Jameel and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development.
  • Applications for the fellowship will open today until 31 December, 2022.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at the American University in Cairo (J-PAL MENA at AUC) announced today the launch of the MENA Scholars Fellowship and has opened the call for applications for the fellowship’s first cohort.

The fellowship provides researchers from or based in the MENA region with opportunities to build their technical skills and experience to design and conduct randomised evaluations of social development programmes and policies aimed at reducing poverty and improving development outcomes.

Supported by Community Jameel and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, the fellowship provides scholars with a two-year stipend to support their time participating in fellowship programme activities. These activities include working on a randomised evaluation with a J-PAL affiliate, mentorship and guidance from J-PAL affiliated professors, becoming a member of the worldwide network of fellows from other J-PAL fellowships, enrolling in MIT MicroMasters courses, attending training sessions and workshops from J-PAL MENA staff and presenting in J-PAL MENA policy events in the region.

The fellowship is offered to committed researchers who are fluent in both Arabic and English, can demonstrate quantitative and research skills, and are either currently pursuing a PhD or have already completed a PhD in economics or a related field from the MENA region or affiliated to a MENA academic institution. Interested applicants can consult the fellowship webpage for more details and should complete an application form by December 31, 2022. The first cohort of fellows is set to be selected in early 2023.

Alison Fahey, executive director at J-PAL MENA, said: “We are thrilled to launch the MENA Scholars Fellowship. Ensuring the expertise and perspective of researchers in the region helps shape the questions we are asking, will strengthen the impact evaluations we conduct, and we hope will enrich the community of development economists working in MENA countries. We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of fellows next year and integrating them into J-PAL’s work across the region.”

George Richards, director of Community Jameel, said: “Through randomised evaluations of development interventions and applying the results to inform policymaking, J-PAL has time and again demonstrated the importance of rigorous evidence to making people’s lives better. At Community Jameel, we believe that researchers in and from the communities affected by these interventions and policies need to be contributing to this work, and so we are excited that the J-PAL MENA Scholars Fellowship will support more early career researchers from and based in this region to participate at the heart of the great work that J-PAL does.”

Noura Selim, executive director of the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, said: “We are pleased to support such a crucial scholarship programme, the MENA Scholars Fellowship as part of our support to the Egypt Impact Lab, to be able to create a new community of region-based researchers and equip them with the tools and the hands-on experience in conducting rigorous research. We at Sawiris Foundation believe in the power of evidence and data in guiding our decisions in the development field, and we strive to invest more in evidence-based programmes as the era of developing programmes just using good intentions in development has to end. Therefore, equipping a team of researchers with the skills and information was not only a necessity but a need if we want more profound decisions and more efficient poverty reduction programmes.”

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