Grants Strategist (Global Wellbeing)

The Happier Lives Institute conducts research into the most cost-effective, evidence-based ways to increase happiness. We then share what we’ve found with donors and decision-makers so they can take action. 

Basic information

Applications due: 23 May 2022 (extended)

Salary: £30,000-£50,000 (possibly higher for an exceptional  candidate)

Hours: Full-time (flexible)

Location: Remote

The ideal candidate will be able to participate in regular meetings in the following timezones:  UTC (GMT – London), UTC-5 (EST – New York) and UTC-7 (CST – Colorado)  

About us

The Happier Lives Institute (HLI) connects donors, researchers, and policymakers with the most cost-effective opportunities to increase global wellbeing. Using the latest subjective wellbeing data, we identify the problems that matter most to people and find evidence-based ways to solve them.

The role

How would you spend $10 million a year or more to improve global wellbeing?

The Grants Strategist will build a portfolio of large-scale, cost-effective funding opportunities to make people happier. So far, the Happier Lives Institute has focused on evaluating the cost-effectiveness of small-scale interventions, but now we’re starting to expand our scope to identify larger funding opportunities that can be delivered at scale.

We’re looking for someone with the skills and experience to create a portfolio of opportunities that could be funded by large grantmakers and/or a new Global Wellbeing Fund that we might start (see similar examples here).

You will establish our process for identifying and evaluating a wide range of interventions and grant proposals, investigate the most promising options, and make the final recommendations. We expect the portfolio will contain a mix of evidence-based “safe-bets” and potentially high-impact, but high-risk “hits-based” opportunities.

You’ll be approaching this project with two new perspectives. First, whilst funders often think about impact in terms of economic and health outcomes, you’ll focus more directly on improving subjective wellbeing. Second, you’ll take a broader approach, considering what could be done in both lower- and higher-income countries to most effectively increase wellbeing.

This role is not just an opportunity to set the direction for HLI’s work, but to set new standards for the entire philanthropic community.

Responsibilities

As this is a new role, your day-to-day responsibilities will be shaped by your skills and experience as well as the information you uncover during the process. That said, our current expectations for the responsibilities fall within the four categories described below.

Project scoping (approx 20%)

  • Speak with experts in the field of philanthropy and grantmaking to identify best-practice evaluation methods as well as promising interventions and grantees.
  • Develop the overall strategy for HLI’s grantmaking and portfolio of funding opportunities, including minimum impact standards.
  • Work with the Operations Manager to design grant management policies, workflow systems, and quality assurance processes.

Opportunity identification (approx. 40%)

  • Horizon-scan for promising interventions by keeping up with the latest literature, attending relevant events, talking regularly with domain experts, and thinking critically about mechanisms for bringing about positive change.
  • Develop a list of potential funding opportunities which have the potential to deliver impact at scale.
  • Provide guidance to our quantitative research team on which projects to prioritise.
  • Understand the priorities, needs, and ambitions of potential grantees, particularly those in the global health and wellbeing space.

Analysis and reporting (approx. 35%)

  • Conduct exploratory and systematic literature reviews to identify the most cost-effective interventions and policies in terms of subjective wellbeing.
  • Evaluate which grants will cost-effectively increase wellbeing by conducting quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the interventions and charities you’ve identified.
  • Produce recommendation reports that communicate your process and findings and explain the reasoning for your recommendations (for example, these reports on  education and climate change produced by Founders Pledge).

Outreach (approx. 5%)

  • Share your recommendations with prospective funders, working in collaboration with other HLI team members.
  • Promote HLI’s research by writing blogs, appearing on podcasts, and speaking at events as required.

Required skills and experience

  • Dedication to conducting high quality, impactful research and working to improve global wellbeing.
  • Relevant professional experience in designing grant-making processes and monitoring, particularly within international development.
  • The ability to approach a problem from multiple angles and use data to inform your views and assumptions, as well as quantifying difficult tradeoffs.
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills, especially the ability to quickly grasp complex issues, sceptically evaluate claims, and make recommendations based on rigorous analysis.
  • Excellent communication skills, particularly in writing, including the ability to clearly describe your reasoning, findings, and uncertainty.
  • Able to take responsibility and ownership for the outcome of a task.
  • A problem-solving mindset that favours evidence-based reasoning and critical thinking.
  • Comfort with contacting subject matter experts by phone and email.

Desired skills and experience

We don’t expect you to have all the skills and experience on this list. Plus, we want you to learn new skills in this role. If you are on the fence, please err on the side of applying.

  • Strong strategic planning skills and direct experience working on strategic planning for an effective altruism-aligned  organisation.
  • Familiarity with the wellbeing science literature.
  • Past research experience, especially related to global health and wellbeing.
  • Experience assessing technical proposals for future research, either formally (e.g. through serving on grantmaking panels or research management roles in industry) or informally (e.g. through discussing research ideas with colleagues and giving opinionated advice).
  • Some knowledge of descriptive as well as inferential statistics and an aptitude for mathematical reasoning.

What we offer

  • Join a team of smart and dedicated researchers to make progress on some of the most pressing research questions for increasing global wellbeing (see our research agenda)
  • Intellectual challenge and a chance to learn and grow in an interdisciplinary setting.
  • Connect with a growing network of wellbeing researchers and advocates.
  • Set your own working hours as long as you complete your work in a timely manner and are available for scheduled meetings (full time is considered to be 35 hours/week).
  • Work from wherever you like (we are a fully remote team based mainly in the UK and US)
  • 25 paid days of annual leave + 8 national holidays
  • 10% of your time (3.5 hours a week) for personal development
  • An opportunity for travel to conferences and team retreats.
  • A free HLI t-shirt!

How to apply

Please submit your application via this link, where you will be asked to include your CV and respond to the following questions:

  1. What interests you most about this position?
  2. Is there anything we should know about you that would make you an ideal candidate (that’s not already included in your CV)?
  3. If you have any previous experience in a management role or supervising the work of others, please describe (max. 100 words).

Selected applicants will be invited to complete a series of work tasks and interviews which we expect to take no longer than 5 hours in total.

Please contact hello@happierlivesinstitute.org if you have any questions.

We strongly encourage candidates of all backgrounds and identities to apply to this role. HLI is committed to building a diverse, inclusive, and supportive community where you feel happy, valued, and do your best work.

Please submit your application via this link, where you will be asked to include your CV and respond to the following questions:

  1. What interests you most about this position?
  2. Is there anything we should know about you that would make you an ideal candidate (that’s not already included in your CV)?
  3. If you have any previous experience in a management role or supervising the work of others, please describe (max. 100 words).

Selected applicants will be invited to complete a series of work tasks and interviews which we expect to take no longer than 5 hours in total.

Please contact hello@happierlivesinstitute.org if you have any questions.

We strongly encourage candidates of all backgrounds and identities to apply to this role. HLI is committed to building a diverse, inclusive, and supportive community where you feel happy, valued, and do your best work.

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