Program Manager



The Opportunity Lab (O-Lab) is a new initiative at UC Berkeley that addresses issues surrounding poverty and inequality in the United States and abroad using data-driven research. It is a cross-campus effort led by professors Hilary Hoynes, Jesse Rothstein, Ben Handel, and Edward Miguel. O-Lab’s network of 20 affiliated researchers generate rigorous, policy-relevant evidence across multiple domains, including crime, climate, education, taxation, social safety nets, and health. The O-Lab works closely with the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), a hub for research on global development with its headquarters at UC Berkeley. O-Lab’s current focus is on motivating research in priority areas, including labor science--which leverages advances in computer science and machine learning to transform the way labor markets are defined, studied, and regulated in the U.S. and abroad--and place-based policy--which explores policy tools for mitigating geographic income and employment disparities. At the same time, O-Lab is constantly exploring new ways to leverage faculty interest and expertise to address critical challenges associated with global poverty and inequality.


The O-Lab seeks a talented Program Manager to coordinate existing research initiatives in labor science and place-based policy while identifying and pursuing new research and fundraising opportunities that advance O-Lab’s mission and vision. S/he will assume responsibility for the management of scientific convenings, partnership development, grant-making, donor reporting, fundraising, outreach, and research dissemination, as well as the development of effective administrative, performance management, and information systems to help O-Lab achieve its goals. The Program Manager will work closely with the O-Lab co-directors and under the direct supervision and mentorship of the Executive Director at CEGA.

The incumbent will be a self-starter with strong project management experience and deep knowledge of domestic policy research related to inequality and opportunity. This is a challenging opportunity for candidates who are passionate about domestic policy research and data-driven efforts to reduce poverty; have a strong desire to expand and deepen their skills in research management, strategic planning, grant writing, and partnership development; and who are energized to help build a growing and dynamic organization.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Identify new, strategic funding opportunities for O-Lab; draft grant proposals with input from faculty; manage relationships with funders;

  • Facilitate the cultivation of new and existing partners; conduct outreach to policymakers, implementing organizations, and other stakeholders;

  • Organize scientific conferences and workshops, including content development, recruitment of partners and academics, press coverage, and strategic development of agendas;

  • Solicit and integrate insights from faculty, leadership, and partners on development of the two research initiatives and for the broader O-Lab;

  • Manage budgets and financial tracking for the two initiatives and for O-Lab as a whole;

  • Liaise with Berkeley's Campus Shared Services, who will actively manage new proposals and awarded grants/contracts in campus systems;

  • Increase visibility for O-Lab by drafting content for newsletters, the website, social media and other select communications;

  • Help to disseminate O-Lab research by drafting articles, policy briefs, white papers, and blogs;

  • Develop subject matter expertise in social science research; stay up-to-date on relevant research and policy trends in fields relevant to O-Lab.

  • Lead the creation of a pilot fellowship program for promising graduate students interested in data-intensive research on labor inequality. Manage recruitment related to this cohort, as well as the organization of bi-monthly meetings and bi-annual workshops;

  • Manage competitive grant-making processes, including RFPs, peer review, project monitoring, and grantee reporting;

  • Mentor graduate and undergraduate student research assistants, including work plan design, performance management, and professional development;

  • Participate in O-Lab and CEGA-wide management activities, internal work groups, performance management, process documentation, and strategic planning.  

Required Qualifications

  • BA/BS in a quantitative discipline, including Economics, Public Policy, Computer Science, Psychology, Statistics, or Public Health (epidemiology)

  • 2-5 years professional experience in an academic, non-profit, or social enterprise setting, including at least 2 years of proven management experience;

  • Exceptional communicator, both verbally and in writing;

  • Experience writing research proposals, managing grants, and interacting with private and public donors;

  • Commitment to scientific, evidence-led domestic policy;

  • Solid understanding of policy issues and relevant research on U.S. labor markets, place-based policy, social safety nets, taxation, health insurance markets, education, and/or criminal justice;

  • Well-organized, with strong administrative skills and outstanding attention to detail;

  • Self-directed, intrinsically motivated; proven capacity to manage work independently, multitask and be responsive to time-sensitive deadlines;

  • Strong financial management skills;

  • Strong skills in short-term and long-range planning, analysis, problem-anticipation and -solving; ability to independently investigate solutions to challenges and anticipate leadership/sponsor needs;

  • Strong and effective interpersonal skills in working with colleagues at all levels. Ability to use discretion and maintain confidentiality;

  • Ability to contribute to remaining flexible and able to adapt to change;

  • Strong competency with MS Office (including solid understanding of Excel) and Google applications.

Desired Qualifications

  • MA/MS in a quantitative discipline, including Public Policy, Economics, Public Administration, Information Science, or Public Health (epidemiology), or extensive relevant work experience;

  • Previous experience managing research projects, or working with researchers and faculty in an academic setting;

  • Proficiency with STATA;

  • Solid understanding of economics research on poverty and inequality in the United States, as well as O-Lab faculty member research

  • Perfectionist with high attention to details;

  • Experience using Salesforce;

  • Experience with Adobe Creative Suite (including Adobe InDesign and PhotoShop);

  • Sense of humor with a positive attitude in approaching challenges and uncertainty.

Application Requirements

This is a one year full-time position with possibility for extension pending funding.

Online application via the UC Berkeley jobs portal is required. Please visit and search for Job ID# 26123. Applications should include a resume, brief cover letter, writing sample, and three professional references.

Please note O-Lab is only able to hire individuals who are eligible to work in the US, either through an Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa or as a result of being US citizen or permanent resident.