Graduate Student Project Assistant Position: Madison Guaranteed Income Pilot Program Research Fellow

The UW–Madison Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) seeks a 50% graduate student project assistant (PA) to assist in the evaluation of the Madison Guaranteed Income Pilot Project, also known as the Madison Forward Fund. The Madison Forward Fund is an experiment to determine how a guaranteed base income (GBI) could address poverty and create more access and opportunity for residents and their families struggling economically. The Madison Forward Fund is modeled after the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), which was the nation’s first municipal-level GBI program. Comparable to SEED, the Madison Forward Fund will evaluate how an income floor of $500 a month can improve the economic security of and well-being of City of Madison residents.

For the length of the pilot (at least one calendar year beginning in January 2022 with the possibility of renewal into a second year), the Research Fellow will coordinate all research and data collection aspects of the program (e.g., fielding of multiple surveys, administering incentives, potential additional qualitative interviews), working closely with the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania. The Fellow may also be asked to assist with general program implementation tasks as needed.


The ideal candidate will have a basic understanding of qualitative and quantitative research design and methods, strong computer skills, and be able to work independently. Prior research assistant leadership experience is strongly preferred. The job is ideal for someone with an enthusiasm for empirical research, and the ability and interest to learn new skills and take initiative as a project develops. Candidates must be comfortable with community-based field research, and have some experience working in a collaborative model with multiple stakeholders in and outside of government.

  • Current UW–Madison graduate student in good academic standing
  • Bachelor’s degree in social work, sociology, public policy, public health or a related field required
  • Experience coordinating large groups of people and tracking sensitive data preferred
  • Proven acumen in working with community residents experiencing financial insecurity in a way that imbues dignity, compassion, and respect into interactions with participants and control group members
  • Confident leadership, writing, verbal communication, and organizational skills required
  • Ability to manage and adapt in a constantly evolving and changing environment; comfort working with ambiguity
  • Proven success in managing multiple projects and timelines
  • Understanding of the strength of diversity, and the need for solutions to support all regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity
  • Bilingual candidate preferred (e.g., Spanish or Hmong)

Responsibilities include:

Participant Liaison and Engagement

  • Provide potential participants, both recipients and control group members with accurate and updated information through 1-1 relationships and produced materials
  • Coordinate interactions between potential participants, recipients, and control group members and outside organizations and interested parties
  • Ensure participant retention in both treatment and control groups in a community based setting
  • Field inquiries from potential participants, recipients, and control group members
  • Coordinate research compensation payments and troubleshoot issues
  • Assist with other program implementation tasks as assigned

Data Collection and Management

  • Contribute to the development of research design, data collection methods, and strategies for data management in concert with other team members
  • Manage day-to-day logistics of data collection activities, such as troubleshooting around Qualtrics survey completion
  • Troubleshoot with participants when issues with surveys arise, including issuing reminders around survey completion deadlines
  • Coordinate day-to-day qualitative research-related activities for participants (e.g., schedule and complete one-on-one qualitative interviews, meetings and other events);
  • Implement quality control processes throughout project
  • Write and format reports for external distribution
  • Create presentations for stakeholder meetings as requested. Represent research fidelity and integrity at stakeholder meetings
  • Work with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), UPenn, IRP, and Madison Forward Fund Program Manager to provide Madison-specific stories and information for national use
  • Perform other duties as assigned

For information re: policies, procedures, compensation, and benefits, see: Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures – Human Resources – UW–Madison (

Application Procedure

To apply for this position, please send a cover letter, CV or resume, and three professional references, including any current supervisor to Hilary Shager, Associate Director of IRP, at with the subject line “Madison Forward Fund Fellow Application.” References will not be contacted without advance notice. Your cover letter should address your qualifications as they pertain to the minimum number of years and type of relevant work experience listed above. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.