Technical Director, Quantitative Research at Busara Center for Behavioral Economics

August 9, 2023
Application deadline closed.

Job Description

Busara Center for Behavioral Economics is an advisory and research organization focused on advancing and applying behavioral science in the Global South, in pursuit of poverty alleviation. We work with organizations to build behaviorally-informed solutions to help scale their products, programs, and policies. Our rigorous approach to experimentation has generated impact in a broad range of fields from financial inclusion to health and early childhood development.

Role Purpose

  • Busara is looking for a new Technical Director, to drive technical excellence in quantitative research across our staff. At Busara, we apply behavioral science to help alleviate poverty around the world: clear-eyed, rigorous quantitative analyses are essential to that process.   We’re a non-profit organization headquartered in Kenya, with experience in over 600 projects over the last decade.
  • The quantitative Technical Director leads a team with two main responsibilities: to enable the rest of Busara to engage in high-quality quantitative work, and to pitch in and conduct particularly complex analyses themselves.
  • You and your team enable Busarians through our ongoing internal training program, through tool development, and through active mentoring and guidance.  Projects you and your team work directly contribute to include: complex experimental design and analyses, heterogeneous effects, and multi-level structural analyses of behavioral dynamics.
  • At Busara, we weave together diverse methods into a unique model of applied behavioral science in international development: that means you’ll be working side by side with qualitative researchers and designers.
  • We have no methodological purists here: rather, we honor the expertise and depth that each tradition brings, and seek to bring out the best of each approach to more deeply understand human behavior and our ability to enable positive behavior change.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Lead a small team of experts to directly contribute to behavioral science projects across the Global South. This includes quantitative research design, methodologies, and data analysis techniques, and optimizing research.  In short – do awesome quantitative work.
  • Work with your team and our qualitative technical group to develop and deliver internal training, workshops, and resources to enhance the skills and capabilities of Busarians.  In other words – help others do awesome quantitative work.
  • Listen to and learn from the technical needs of fellow Busarians, to ensure that what your team offers serves these needs.
  • Help Busara leverage data and insights effectively, fostering cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Create and improve standards and methods for research design, methodologies, and quality assurance.
  • Collaborate closely with internal and external stakeholders to ensure high technical standards. and promote best practices..
  • Interface with clients, to explore their technical needs, and talk with them about the results and implications of projects in the field
  • Partner with VPs and Directors to source and pursue opportunities for contracts
  • Think, write, and speak about new methods and approaches that Busara can benefit from.  These could be existing methods in the field, or new ones that you develop at Busara.


  • Deep expertise in quantitative methods: from experimental design and research to statistical inference. Ideally, this includes machine learning and simulation approaches.
  • A strong understanding of how these methods work in the field: with partial data, incomplete treatment compliance, biased enumerators, etc.
  • Enjoyment and expertise in applied behavioral science, including cognitive and experimental psychology and behavioral and experimental economics.
  • Experience with the realities of behavioral fieldwork: how to take academic knowledge into a practical process for designing interventions, when the environment can’t be controlled or fully understood
  • Extensive hands-on experience with applied data science: converting data into insights
  • Management experience, especially of diverse teams and multiple geographies
  • The knowledge and temperament to be an internal consultant: listening and responding to the technical needs of your colleagues and clients
  • The desire to work in the Global South (if you’re from here, or have experience here that’s best)
  • Excellent management and organizational skills; you and your team will need to effectively juggle a wide range of requests for help across the organization
  • Fluent in written and spoken English. Other languages are great too, but English is required.
  • Ideally, sectoral expertise in one of our focus areas: Health, Financial Services, Gender, Social Inclusion, Governance, and Agriculture.
  • Your formal background, frankly, doesn’t matter that much. We don’t evaluate what school you went to, who you know, or where you previously worked.
  • However, we’d learned that many applicants like to have a “benchmark” for the level of expertise that’s needed for a role. Here, it would be training equivalent of a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Science, Economics, Social Sciences, Public Policy, or related fields (and ideally a PhD in these fields); and experience equivalent to 4+ years of applied data science & behavioral science work.
  • Formal training and work experience in similar organizations can certainly help you do the job.  But what really matters is that you have the skills, the knowledge and the passion to lead this team: with strong quantitative insights for social good.