Claire Walsh

Senior Policy Manager
Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab
Award presented by 
Martin Schmidt

Our next Outstanding Contributor is Claire Walsh, a Senior Policy Manager at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. For the uninitiated, J-PAL, in the Economics Department, is dedicated to the reduction of poverty—global and domestic. The lab has nearly a thousand field research projects ongoing in more than 80 countries, with 300 staff worldwide. And in her six years at J-PAL, her colleagues say, Claire Walsh has been instrumental to that growth and success.

Soon after her arrival, Claire took on the technically challenging job of creating publications based on affiliated professors’ research papers. The J-PAL publications library now spans research from dozens of countries and all sector areas and is accessed thousands of times a year. This summer, Claire co-authored a first-of-its-kind guide to measure women’s empowerment that has become one of J-PAL’s most downloaded technical resources. She also led a two-year-long website redesign, increasing its appeal and its functionality with a massive increase in viewership to half a million unique visitors per year.

As manager of the Environment & Energy sector, Claire has worked across MIT to create a joint funding mechanism for MIT research. She also collaborated with MIT’s development office to launch a new partnership with Conservation International to fund PhD students’ climate change research—one of several important global partnerships Claire has forged.

When the Indonesian office suddenly needed management support, Claire volunteered to move to Jakarta as the interim Deputy Director. When that office later made her an offer to stay on in that role, she declined because of her love for the MIT community and her responsibilities here.

Claire’s colleagues say they have a tough time coming up with a grand enough superlative to do her justice, except to say that “Claire is really, really amazing. Really.