Impact & Learning Manager, Investments

Stanford Impact Labs
🌎 Location
💵 Salary

$105,000 - $147,000

🗓️ Posted

September 27, 2023

Stanford, CA (Hybrid)

The world’s biggest social problems are complex, multi-faceted, and pervasive. No academic center, company, or organization can solve systemic issues – such as economic inequality, inequitable access to health care and education, and racial discrimination – alone. We need leaders with different skills and experiences to come together to generate fresh insights, evidence, and action to make progress.

Stanford Impact Labs (SIL) – a major initiative at Stanford University – invests in mission-driven teams of researchers and practitioners from government, business, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropy. These teams – or impact labs – work together on social problems they choose and where practical progress is possible. With our support, they rapidly develop, test, and scale new solutions to social problems that affect millions of people worldwide.

To support this effort, SIL is hiring an Impact & Learning Manager to join the Investments & Accountability team. SIL is an equal opportunity organization and is strongly committed to racial and social justice. To that end, we particularly encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply for open positions.


SIL is aiming to reshape how research and development (R&D) can make progress on the world’s most pressing social challenges, but blazing a new trail requires knowing where we’re headed and how we’ll know when we get there.

The Impact & Learning Manager will play a critical role in using data & evidence to drive SIL’s investment strategy, while building out and executing on a nimble approach to impact measurement. This role will report into the Director of Investments & Accountability at a unique time for our investment team—as our portfolio of investments in teams matures and the social science we’ve funded is beginning to be put to use. You’ll be tasked with understanding the extent to which SIL’s investments are on track to significantly improve people’s lives at scale.

Specifically, you will:

Design and execute an impact measurement strategy. You will own the approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning for SIL’s portfolio of investments. A successful strategy will help to change how we put social science to work for society, aggregate data to measure the impact and cost effectiveness of the portfolio and the fund as a whole, report on interim progress and in so doing critically inform the strategy of the fund. Your work will include:

  • Designing and implementing a repeatable and reproducible approach to understanding the Expected Impact of SIL investments. As some of SIL’s early investments mature, your nimble, iterative approach will avoid spurious precision and help to provide early indication of the long-term impact of the work SIL supports.
  • Over time, conducting a Social Rate of Return Analysis to credibly estimate the net social benefits of SIL’s portfolio of investments and compare those to the costs of the fund.

Use data and evidence to drive investment strategy. You will be a cultural leader on our team, promoting different strategies to test and learn in service of improving decision-making. This will include:

  • Build a culture of learning & experimentation to drive continuous improvement of SIL’s investment approach, including by supporting the team to (a) conduct a set of rapid experiments within investment team operations to improve how SIL selects and supports the teams we support; and (b) test key hypotheses in Stanford Impact Labs’ own theory of change.
  • The role will directly produce and consume evidence about the ways SIL can better direct its limited resources to where it can do the most good. This includes understanding findings from related fields such as meta-science, research on research use, implementation science, the science of scaling, systems thinking, and the diffusion of innovation. In addition to understanding the current evidence base, this role will also generate evidence around key questions central to our mission: for example, what characteristics predict high-impact investments?
  • Own a set of processes and tools to incorporate feedback from key stakeholders to improve the quality of our investment process and our approach to managing our portfolio.

Participate in SIL’s core investment process and portfolio management, including supporting teams to define what success looks like and responding to requests for support from the teams we support. In collaboration with other members of the Investment team, you will act as an internal advisor to staff and partners involved in evaluation and learning initiatives–such as assisting the teams SIL invests in to refine their theories of change and refresh their goals and objectives based on learnings gathered from their work.


  • You have at least 7 years’ experience at the intersection of monitoring & evaluation; advanced research methods; evidence-informed policy; or related fields. This can include time pursuing an advanced degree, such as a PhD, however, the strongest candidates will marry an advanced degree with professional experience.
  • You are committed to impact. You carry with you a relentless focus on outcomes that improve people’s lives. You can quickly understand and narrow in on the key questions to be able to understand whether an idea, intervention or policy change would improve people’s lives.
  • You are rigorous and practical. You can operate within constraints. This experience should include adapting impact measurement approaches to diverse needs, in constrained environments, and accompanied by a comfort with ambiguity, and “good enough” information.
  • You have superb communication skills, including synthesizing, interpreting, and presenting complex information to a variety of audiences. This includes the ability to speak to both expert and non-expert audiences while refraining from jargon, and framing complex issues in clear and simple language.
  • You have a highly versatile skill set and “roll up the sleeves” / “no task too small” attitude.
  • You demonstrate intellectual curiosity and comfort working across social science disciplines and sectors. You have a track record of humility and commitment to learning. You approach disagreements with a curiosity and an “ask questions first” mentality.
  • You are committed to inclusion. You have experience working to make people from different experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives feel welcome, valued, and cared for. You value equity and are looking for opportunities to incorporate these principles into our impact measurement, evaluation and learning activities.

We Would Also Love

  • Advanced degree in economics or related social science discipline with substantial experience in research and program evaluation. PhD or equivalent preferred, though candidates that have a Masters Degree with relevant research experience should also apply.
  • Strong grasp of the use of counterfactuals to understand the impact of programs or policies in racial equity, health, criminal justice, education, democratic governance, or other sectors. This includes when counterfactuals can be difficult to directly estimate.
  • Experience with software applications and systems to support data management, analysis, and visualization.

No candidate will meet every requirement. We encourage applications from people who are a good fit - through work experience, volunteering, and other personal experiences - and who will grow and thrive in this position.

Salary & Benefits

The expected pay range for this position is $105,000 - $147,000 per annum.  Stanford University provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the university reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location, and external market pay for comparable jobs.

Imagine a world without search engines or social platforms. Consider lives saved through first-ever organ transplants and research to cure illnesses. Stanford University has revolutionized the way we live and enrich the world. Supporting this mission is our diverse and dedicated 17,000 staff. We seek talent driven to impact the future of our legacy. Our culture and unique benefits empower you with:

  • Freedom to grow. We offer career development programs, tuition reimbursement, or audit a course. Join a TedTalk, film screening, or listen to a renowned author or global leader speak.
  • A caring culture. We provide superb retirement plans, generous time-off, and family care resources.
  • A healthier you. Climb our rock wall, or choose from hundreds of health or fitness classes at our world-class exercise facilities. We also provide excellent health care benefits.
  • Discovery and fun. Stroll through historic sculptures, trails, and museums.
  • Enviable resources. Enjoy free commuter programs, ridesharing incentives, discounts and more


Stanford, CA (Hybrid)

To apply, please submit the following materials via the Stanford Career Portal:

  • A 1-2 page resume highlighting examples of relevant skills and experiences
  • In lieu of a cover letter, please answer the following questions (no more than two paragraphs for each):
  • What does “impact” mean to you?
  • Please describe a time when you have used the scientific method to make a big decision for yourself or your team.
  • Please describe a time when new evidence or information has led you to change your mind about something important to you or your team.

The hiring process will involve work trials intended to give you a sense of what working at SIL is like. The work trial will involve written tasks and a simulated work meeting. A subset of finalists will be invited for at least 2 additional interviews. We will check references for final candidates only.

Stanford Impact Labs

Impact & Learning Manager, Investments

$105,000 - $147,000


Stanford, CA (Hybrid)


Business for Good



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