Head – Financial Inclusion

Chennai, Jaipur, New Delhi
Posted 2 months ago

Location: Delhi (preferred), Chennai (possible), Jaipur ( possible) 

Reports to: Executive Director

Our package: Competitive and commensurate with experience and skills.

Contract type: Full-time Position

Staff reporting to this post: 3 to 4 direct reports (Research Managers and Research Fellows), 8 to 10 indirect reports (Senior Research Associates, Research Associates).

Screening checks: Successful candidates will be asked to undergo background/reference checks.

Application deadline: applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Apply here: Please send your applications to recruitment-lead@ifmr.ac.in, with the name of the position mentioned in the subject line.


LEAD at Krea University (formerly IFMR LEAD) is a non-profit research organization conducting high-quality scalable action research and outreach in development economics and finance. We create ‘knowledge for impact’ with a vision to solve complex challenges and enhance socio-economic prosperity. We do this using the power of data, innovation, and co-creation, combining interdisciplinary approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships.


LEAD’s Financial Inclusion team has been at the forefront of the sector for over 15 years, contributing to its growth and development in India and beyond. Currently, the team is staffed by 14 energetic researchers contributing to answering Financial Inclusion’s most complex challenges. Through our project portfolio (with an average of 8 ongoing projects, we ideate and test financial product innovation (from insurance to credit, to savings) and study financial decision making (among migrants, SHG members, farmers). We leverage technology and data across all our work both as a means to promote access to financial inclusion and a tool to improve service delivery. Still, we always put the human element, including social norms, behaviours, and capabilities, at the centre of our work. We work with a vibrant group of partners, including universities (in India and abroad), financial institutions, fintechs, NGOs, foundations and philanthropic organizations, and government partners at both the state and central levels.


LEAD at Krea University has been playing a principal role in financial inclusion for many years under different banners, but with the same enthusiasm, rigour, and intellectual curiosity. Thinking about 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 Head – Financial Inclusion who will lead the growth and implementation of LEAD’s research agenda in this sector.


We are looking for a professional with a strong background in Economics, a robust understanding of the financial inclusion landscape, capable of connecting the dots across themes and issues (gender, social protection, environment, entrepreneurship, etc.). The successful candidate will be a strategic thinker and will also be able to manage and execute research projects in time, within budget, and keeping the highest standards of work.

The chosen 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. In the short term, she or he will be given a leading role on several high-level ongoing projects, while contributing to the development of the team’s project pipeline. The successful candidate will have excellent communication skills (both verbal and written) to be able to present the team’s 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) is essential and a strong understanding of financial inclusion is highly desirable.

Technical Responsibilities

  • Set and execute the goals and strategic plan of the Financial Inclusion portfolio and agenda through operational and project management leadership.
  • Lead and mentor staff in the research team and oversee the work of direct reports (3/4 research managers and research fellows).
  • Provide technical inputs to research staff on policy-relevant research questions and identify knowledge gaps in the research work carried out under this theme.
  • Be accountable for and provide substantial inputs into project design and implementation.
  • Maintain a positive, constructive, and co-creative relationship with LEAD’s stakeholders and partners as well as contributing to growing such network.
  • Provide leadership and be accountable for the development of new research ideas, and proposals. Provide thought leadership and monitor recent and relevant sector trends and develop plans on ways to expand LEAD’s financial inclusion research agenda.
  • Liaise with policymakers, regulators, and academia to identify gaps for action research and establish partnerships to expand the projects portfolio of the financial inclusion team at LEAD.
  • Be accountable, proactively contribute to, and lead the development of policy briefs, blog posts and other publications to consolidate LEAD’s thought leadership in this sector.
  • Contribute to capacity building activities within LEAD.


Essential Qualifications

  • Master’s degree or Ph.D. in Sociology, Economics, Development Economics, Political Science, Development Studies, or related disciplines.
  • A minimum of 7 years of work experience (4 with a PhD) in a progressively more responsible position 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;
  • At least 2 years of experience in managing a team.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Proven analytical skills, including, specifically, skills working with quantitative data using econometric methods;

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