Economist – Financial Inclusion

Employer: LEAD at Krea University

Location: New Delhi, India

Assignment type: Full-time

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience

About LEAD at Krea University

LEAD, an action-oriented research centre of IFMR Society (a not-for-profit society registered under the Societies Act), leverages the power of research, innovation and co-creation to solve complex and pressing challenges in development. LEAD has strategic oversight and brand support from Krea University (sponsored by IFMR Society) to enable synergies between academia and the research centre. LEAD is a collaborative hub that brings experts from diverse disciplines and sectors together to develop innovative solutions by harnessing innovation, technology and analytics.

Krea University is an emerging liberal arts institution offering multidisciplinary undergraduate programs which equip students to find their niche in the fluid, interconnected world of development. The world-class University is home to the School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences (SIAS), IFMR Graduate School of Business and LEAD.

About the Role

LEAD has been instrumental in shaping financial inclusion policy and practice for over 15 years under different banners, but with the same enthusiasm, rigor, and intellectual curiosity. With an eye to the future, LEAD is positioning itself to expand its role and thought leadership in the sector. For this purpose, we are actively seeking a motivated, organized, and self-driven Economist who will assist the Financial Inclusion Vertical Head in leading, designing, and implementing LEAD’s research agenda in this sector. 

We are looking for candidates with a robust understanding of the financial inclusion landscape, and the ability to connect the dots across interrelated themes and issues (gender, social protection, environment, entrepreneurship, etc.). The successful candidate will be a strategic thinker, but will also be able to manage and execute research projects in time while maintaining the highest standards of work.  

The selected candidate will lead and mentor research staff and work in close collaboration with senior team members to co-develop new research ideas, supervise research projects, and expand the team’s project portfolio. The candidate should have excellent communication skills (both verbal and written) and be able to present their research to various stakeholders and in various national and, possibly, international platforms through a wide range of mediums. Demonstrated experience conducting applied and experimental research (including conducting and designing evaluations) as well as a strong understanding of financial inclusion is essential.

Key Responsibilities

  • Execute the strategic objectives and plan of the Financial Inclusion agenda and portfolio through operational and project management support;
  • Lead and mentor staff in the research team and oversee the work of direct reports (2/3 research managers);
  • Provide technical inputs to research staff on policy relevant research questions and identify knowledge gaps in the research work carried out under this theme;
  • Liaise with policy makers, regulators and academia to identify knowledge gaps and expand the research agenda of the financial inclusion team at LEAD;
  • Be accountable for and provide substantial inputs on project design and implementation;
  • Maintain a positive, constructive and co-creative relationship with LEAD’s stakeholders and partners as well as contribute to growing our network;
  • Work in close collaboration with the team to discuss new research ideas, recent and relevant sector trends and brainstorm on possible ways to expand the financial inclusion agenda of the research team at LEAD;
  • Proactively contribute to policy briefs, blog posts and other publications to consolidate LEAD’s thought leadership in this sector;
  • Contribute to capacity building activities within LEAD.

Background and Qualifications

    • Master’s degree or Ph.D. in Sociology, Economics, Development Economics, Political Science, Development Studies, or related disciplines.
    • A minimum of 8 years of work experience (5 years of experience with a PhD) in progressively senior positions in research, monitoring and evaluation, or implementation in the development sector, preferably in financial inclusion (at least 5 years of experience in financial inclusion is required);
    • At least 4 years of experience in applied research and experimental methods;
    • Proven analytical skills, including, specifically, skills working with quantitative data using econometric methods; 
  • Excellent knowledge of current developments in inclusive finance, including one or more of the following: micro-insurance and micro-credit, social protection systems (DBTs, G2P), digital financial services, branchless banking. 
  • Working experience and knowledge of socio-economic issues, with an understanding og exclusion of various groups, such as women, migrants, tribal groups, from the financial sector and ability to generate strategies to address those issues;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop research and evaluation plans, sampling frameworks and to implement them; 
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; 
  • Proven ability to manage multi-tasking and propose solutions in a timely manner with nominal supervision; 
  • Capacity to maintain an organized and structured work style in a fast-paced environment; 
  • Ability to adapt quickly to changing environments and work with multiple stakeholders; 
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and willingness to interact with a wide range of individuals from Research Associates, Research Managers, etc. to academics, donors, research institutions, etc. 

Application Instructions

  • Deadline: Applications are being accepted and reviewed until the position is filled.
  • To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and two professional references.
  • Please direct queries and applications to recruitment-lead@ifmr.ac.in with the title “Economist Financial Inclusion ” in the subject line.