Senior Manager – MERL (Grade-11)

Website Causal Design

Creating cultures of evidence and impact

Senior Manager – Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (Grade-11)

Causal Design is an economic consulting firm conducting rigorous program evaluations and analysis for international development organizations. Our evaluations are designed to provide timely and practical information to decision makers working to end poverty and inequality.

We are looking for a senior researcher to join our team. While we work collaboratively on all our projects, the Senior MERL Manager will be expected to work fairly independently as they are often on site with our NGO partners (including in the field). This is primarily a technical role with some client-facing responsibilities. Senior MERL Managers (Grade-11) are expected to spend 70% of their time directly supporting projects; the remaining time will be spent training/mentoring staff and supporting proposals for new projects.

The position is expected to participate in all aspects of our business, but the primary role is to manage a portfolio of performance evaluations and/or other MERL products. This position is Denver, CO-based with extensive international travel.


The Senior MERL Manager will independently supervise, conduct, and deliver significant evaluation and research products for clients, including USAID, at times supervising multiple researchers and field work to ensure best data quality, and the integration of diverse findings into top-tier deliverables with a coherent message and recommendations. The MERL Manager should already be fluent in diverse methods, their tradeoffs, and research designs—both qualitative and quantitative in nature—as well as how to best mix methods for a specific end and need. The emphasis in this role, however, is leadership of performance and process evaluations, needs assessments, context analyses, and research based primarily on qualitative inquiry, specifically. Related, s/he must possess excellent written and verbal communication skills, demonstrated experience successfully working within a team environment to provide complex deliverables, and a knack for distilling complex concepts, research findings, as well as limitations and relevance, into concise written formats and for oral and written presentation before clients, including government.

A track record of engagement with the research, evaluation, and/or international development community, including engagement with relevant communities of practice (whether methodological or for a specific technical domain of interest), is preferred, as is supervisory experience. Engagement with the industry’s state-of-the-art is also desirable (emerging methods and learning agenda), while remaining focused on ensuring effective client relations and quality of products. Finally, proven experience incorporating gender and social inclusion, or human rights, into evaluation and research, or other proven domain expertise, is strongly preferred. Other preferences in a candidate include experience with CLA best practices, and qualitative data visualization experience.

Technical & Professional Responsibilities

  • Develops and conducts program and policy analysis for clients to understand their relevance and effectiveness – and improve the outcomes for the beneficiaries they serve. Utilize appropriate research and evaluation techniques to identify ways to improve services to client program populations.
  • Plans and performs activities involved in conducting studies of project/program populations. Activities include questionnaire design, sampling, field operations, appropriate levels of project management, and coordination of researchers and data collection.
  • Conduct analyses, interprets data; identifies critical factors such as data limitations, biases, sampling errors, and inconsistencies. Revises or develops new methods as necessary to ensure optimum research results.
  • On the basis of findings, develops client-facing products or reports; represents the methods, results and Causal Design at briefings with the client, donor, or public audiences.
  • Assume responsibility for the quality of products and client relations over life of projects, and portfolio. Ensure a sterling reputation.
  • Develop familiarity with industry trends, and USAID learning agenda.
  • Directly contribute to the profession through outward-facing blogs, publications, and/or novel proposals.

Managerial Responsibilities (if applicable)

  • Supervise other MERL staff and maintain oversight and responsibility for their collective work, its quality, and alignment with unit goals or objectives.
  • Directly ensure the mentorship and capacity development of supervisees.


  • Master’s Degree with 4+ years, or a PhD with 1+year experience in applied research or MERL.
  • Degree in political science, economics, international studies/development, sociology, or anthropology.
  • Supervision – Two years of experience supervising technical staff or teams is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated track record of leading process and performance evaluations utilizing different methodologies and frameworks.
  • Demonstrated competence with industry-accepted CAQDAS.
  • Familiarity with MEL systems and applied research best practices, including experience with data collection, IRB, and informed consent.
  • Procedural and conceptual knowledge of appropriate methods for research and evaluation.
  • Exceptionally strong written and oral communication skills, in particular with respect to communicating nuanced research findings to clients.
  • Understanding of the donor landscape; previous experience with USAID strongly preferred.

Our Team
We are a small firm with an ambitious vision. Our team is passionate about innovating practical evaluation strategies and providing phenomenal support to our clients working to end poverty. You should be excited about being client facing. Our goal is to support implementers – not just do research. We strongly prefer researchers who have a background or experience in implementing projects, so the more you understand and empathize with the challenges of their work the better.

This is a full-time, exempt, position as an employee role with Causal Design. The salary range is $72,995 to $94,889 and will be based on experience. Other compensation includes participation in our 401k with a 4% company match, our QSEHRA which provides $300-500/month in tax-free health reimbursements, and travel insurance policies. Causal Design observes all 11 Federal Holidays and provides 20 days of paid time off. Additional paid time off is provided (as described in our handbook) for major family events, emergencies, and for performing certain civic duties.

All applicants must have current work authorization for the United States. We are not able to sponsor US visas or work permits.

INSTRUCTIONS: Click “APPLY FOR JOB,” complete the form; click “SEND APPLICATION.” You must include your CV on the form.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Apply Today!