Research Associate, Play to Learn

Global TIES for Children - New York University
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Posted
    Sep 15

Position description

At New York University’s Global TIES for Children we design, evaluate, and advise on programs and policies to improve the lives of children and youth in the most vulnerable regions across the globe. Led by University Professors Larry Aber and Hiro Yoshikawa, we work with some of the world’s leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and with governments in low-income (LI) and conflict-affected (CA) countries on developing and evaluating innovative approaches to promoting the health, education, and social development of children and their communities. Together with our key strategic partner organizations, our work leverages cutting-edge scientific methods and interdisciplinary collaboration to:

  • Generate actionable evidence to promote child and youth development by conducting and evaluating powerful strategies to transform relevant “social settings” (i.e., classrooms, schools, families, communities, etc.) that are key drivers of children’s learning and well-being;
  • Communicate actionable evidence by engaging diverse stakeholders across sectors and regions and disseminating a rigorous evidence base to inform program and policy decisions for children and youth in LI and CA countries;
  • Build human, administrative, and institutional capacity for robust global science and practice through the provision of professional development and training activities.


Job Details

  • Project: Global TIES for Children/ECD in Emergency & Conflict
  • Title: Research Associate, ECDEC
  • Division/Department: Steinhardt/ IHDSC – Global TIES for Children
  • Reports to: Dr. Alice Wuermli, Co-Principal Investigator, or TBD, Research Scientist
  • Work Location: New York University, Washington Square
  • * Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, our research center is working remotely until the University authorizes our safe return to the office. Preliminary teleworking options may be available or an option. *
  • Work Schedule: Full-time
  • Salary (Pay Range): Commensurate with experience
  • Benefits Eligible Yes
  • Start/End Date: As early as November 1, 2020, for a 1-year contract.
  • (Possibility of annual contract renewal contingent upon satisfactory performance and availability of funding)
  • Global TIES for Children - Early Childhood Development in Emergency & Conflict (ECDEC)


About ECDEC’s Play to Learn and Ahlan Simsim Initiatives

The Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises are two of the defining humanitarian issues of our time, with millions displaced due to conflict and war. In addition, we know from decades of research that all children need nurturing care, a comforting routine, and opportunities to learn through play in the critical first years of life. Yet only about 3 percent of humanitarian assistance goes to education and only a tiny sliver of that 3 percent to early childhood development services.


The Play to Learn initiative is a partnership between Sesame Workshop, BRAC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and NYU Global TIES for Children to develop, provide and evaluate high-quality early childhood development services and mass media for young children in Rohingya refugee families in Cox’s Bazar. Ahlan Simsim is a partnership between Sesame Workshop, the IRC, and NYU Global TIES for Children to develop, provide and evaluate high-quality early childhood development services and mass media for young children in Syrian refugee families in the Middle East. Research for these projects is implemented in three countries in the Middle East -- Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq – and in Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh. These partnerships are funded by a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation (Play to Learn) and the inaugural 100&Change award from the MacArthur Foundation (Ahlan Simsim). NYU Global TIES for Children is leading the external evaluations of the programming in these projects, including formative and implementation research, impact evaluations, and a large longitudinal prenatal-cohort study in Bangladesh.

We partner with Sesame Workshop, BRAC, and the IRC to bring the most rigorous qualitative and quantitative evidence to bear on how to best serve families and children in these communities. We pay special attention to the measurement of multiple domains of early childhood development, as well as the observational measurement of the quality of implementation of programming in homes, centers, and communities.

The project team includes Hirokazu Yoshikawa (Principal Investigator), Alice J. Wuermli (Co-PI), Lizzie Goodfriend (Project Managing Director), J. Lawrence Aber (Co-Investigator), and research partners at BRAC, IRC, and Sesame Workshop.


Position Summary

The Research Associate will be responsible for assisting Research Scientists with all aspects of research management, measurement selection, data collection (e.g., coding tablets to facilitate the smooth, clean transfer of data from the field), data verification, management, and analysis tasks. The position includes providing research support for several different impact evaluations and studies simultaneously, with a dedicated focus on at least one study. The project is specifically looking for candidates with extensive expertise in Global Early Childhood Development, experience in direct assessments of early child development (ECD), and/or observational assessments of service/program quality. Key tasks include literature reviews, instrument design, data cleaning, organization, analysis (including but not limited to psychometric analyses), and interpretation as well as assisting with the dissemination of findings (e.g., writing up of results into reports and academic journal articles). Work will include liaison with project management staff on the planning and logistics of the research activities. The majority of the research will be quantitative in nature, but the ideal candidate should feel comfortable triangulating between theory, empirical findings, and qualitative findings.

When safe to do so, this position will require travel to Bangladesh and/or the Middle East.


The Research Associate is responsible for active involvement in all stages of research management and data analysis, including:

  • Liaising and coordinating with in-country research partners and counterparts *
  • Supporting the planning of logistical and operational needs of the research
  • Developing and testing research Instrument designs
  • Supporting data quality check, cleaning, and management
  • Contributing to analysis planning and modeling decisions
  • Conducting data analysis
  • Writing methodological approaches and analysis findings into reports and academic journal articles
  • Providing updates for internal project reporting on plans and activities
  • Training and supervising volunteers and temporary research assistants

The Research Associate will report directly to Dr. Alice Wuermli or one of the project team’s Research Scientists and work closely with NYU faculty members (including Drs. Hiro Yoshikawa and Larry Aber) as well as researchers and practitioners at TIES, IRC, and Sesame Workshop.

* In the Middle East our data collection partners are the IRC. In Bangladesh, our data collection partner is Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). NYU Global TIES works with the data collection teams hired by the IRC and IPA in training and supervision of data collection waves.

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • Mastery of other statistical analysis software (e.g., MPlus, ArcGIS).
  • Expertise in advanced quantitative methods, such as missing data treatment, causal inference, longitudinal and multi-level modeling, and structural equational modeling.
  • Experience working with large-scale experimental and quasi-experimental policy and/or program evaluation projects.

The position will be based at NYU NY.


The candidates should have:

  • An MA/MS in education, international education, developmental science/psychology, human development, economics, sociology, or a related social science field.
  • Expertise in Global Early Childhood Development and substantial experience in using and training on direct assessments of early child development (ECD) and/or observational assessments of service/program quality, ideally in a global setting.
  • 2+ years of experience implementing and managing large scale research projects in LMICs.
  • Experience working with displaced/refugee populations in low-income/conflict-affected contexts.
  • Strong quantitative analytic skills and 2+ years of experience in cleaning, managing, and conducting analysis with large quantitative datasets in STATA or R.
  • Ability to work well independently and in a multidisciplinary, multi-country team.
  • Excellent organization skills, efficiency, and attention to detail.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.

Application instructions

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