Research Fellow, Financial Inclusion

Posted 4 months ago

Location: Delhi or Chennai. Other locations can be considered under exceptional circumstances. 

Reports to: Head, Financial Inclusion

Contract type: Full-time Position 

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.

About the Position

We are seeking a motivated, organized, and self-driven Research Fellow who will assist the Financial Inclusion Vertical Head in leading, designing, and implementing LEAD’s research agenda in this sector. LEAD’s Financial Inclusion vertical has been at the forefront of the sector for over 15 years, contributing to answering some of the most complex challenges in the sector. We are looking for a professional with a strong quantitative background in Economics/Social Sciences and proven experience and expertise in impact evaluation. The successful candidate will have superior research and analytical skills, will be an excellent writer, and will be uncompromising with respect to research quality and thoroughness. The candidate should have demonstrated experience in sectors such as financial inclusion, livelihoods development, social protection, agri-finance, and gender. The successful candidate will be a strategic thinker that is capable to connect the dots across themes and issues and will also be able to manage and execute research projects in time, within budget, and keeping the highest standards of work.   

In the short term, the research fellow will play a leading role in an ongoing large-scale project that we are implementing in Chhattisgarh. This exciting project explores the potential of using digital tools to support women Self Help Groups, in collaboration with various research and technology partners and with the support of Chhattisgarh’s Rural Livelihood Mission. The fellow is expected to lead the implementation of the quantitative part of this evaluation, ensuring rigour in both data collection and analysis. The Research Fellow will lead and mentor research staff and work in close collaboration with senior team members to develop new research ideas, supervise research projects, and expand the team’s project portfolio. In the long-run, the Research Fellow will support the Vertical Head – Financial Inclusion to develop and expand the team’s research agenda and grow the team’s research portfolio, with the opportunity of leading/pursuing other research opportunities. 

Technical Responsibilities 

  • Evaluation, Research, and Learning – leads the development and implementation of the project’s impact evaluation, formulating and testing research hypothesis through rigorous quantitative analysis. 
    • Leads the analysis of research results and the development of research outputs, based on primary data analysis. 
    • Ensures that sampling frameworks, survey instruments, and the collected data are complete, accurate and comprehensive. 
    • Is accountable for data analysis and visualization related to the project. 
    • Works with Vertical Heads and LEAD’s Principal Economist to execute the team’s research agenda and develop new research projects 
    • Contribute to developing and framing the team strategy for the upcoming 1-3 years along with the Vertical Head and LEAD’s Principal Economist. 
  • Stakeholder Management – develops and maintains a good working relationship with partner/donor organizations. 
    • Keeps an open channel for communication with partner/donor organizations and policy makers. 
    • Presents research/project findings to partner organizations and larger audiences through workshops/conferences. 
  • Project Management – supports the project manager to develop and update the project plan, assigning tasks to complete the same, and ensures compliance with project requirements. 
    • When safe to do so, conducts monthly field visits to assess progress on the project and gather first-hand insights and feedback on the same. 
    • Contributes to the hiring process of project-related positions. 
    • Contributes to reviewing sub-grantees deliverables. 

Skills, Experience and Knowledge 

Essential Qualifications 

  • Ph.D. in Economics, Development Economics, Political Science, Development Studies, Sociology, or related disciplines. 
  • A minimum of 3 years in a progressively more responsible position in research, monitoring and evaluation, or implementation in the development sector, preferably in financial inclusion. 
  • At least 4 years of experience in applied research and experimental methods (including PhD). 
  • Evaluation expert, with in-depth knowledge and experience implementing social science research methods, especially experimental research. 
  • Demonstrated ability to develop research and evaluation plans, sampling frameworks and to implement them.  
  • Good knowledge of current developments in development economics in India and South Asia, including one or more of the following: financial inclusion, social protection systems, agrifinance, livelihoods, gender.  
  • Comfortable with both in-person and remote data collection methods. 
  • Experience in conducting in-depth systematic reviews and synthesis of research. 
  • Independent worker; takes initiative to lead and manage multiple tasks and propose solutions. 
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. 
  • Capacity to keep an organized and structured work style in a fast-paced environment.  


  • Substantive experience and knowledge of socio-economic issues, which results in the exclusion of various groups, such as women, migrants, tribal groups, from the financial sector and the ability to generate strategies to address those issues. 
  • Good track record of academic and non-academic publications 

Key Attributes 

  • Ability to demonstrate sensitivity to cultural differences and gender issues, as well as a commitment to equal opportunities. 
  • Ability to demonstrate an openness and willingness to learn.    
  • 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.  

To apply send your CV and cover letter to and with the subject line “Application for Research Fellow, Financial Inclusion’. Successful candidates will be asked to undergo background/reference checks. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

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