Research Manager

Employer: LEAD at Krea University

Location: Chennai

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

The Research Manager (RM) will be responsible for taking a lead role in coordinating multiple research projects. It will entail bringing sound project management and analytical expertise to projects from initial design through to reporting, drawing upon a strong combination of both qualitative and quantitative research experience. Part of the role will be to also support the development of new research opportunities including identifying and preparing appropriate grant proposals.  The RM should have excellent writing and communication skills, good sectoral understanding, a creative and problem-solving outlook and a passion to deliver high quality research. Working closely with academic researchers and associate directors, there will be opportunities for personal development, learning and progression. The role also requires an ability to manage a team of researchers and having input into the development of more junior staff.  Depending on the background, interest and skill-set, the RM will work on large scale quantitative and qualitative projects or on policy oriented projects. This role is ideal for someone who wants to pursue a career in research, policy and/or academia.

Key Responsibilities of the Position

Research Activities

  • Research
  • Plan, coordinate and execute projects
  • Involved with project design
  • Decide on technical aspects of studies around power calculations, study design and framework with support from SRA and RA
  • Oversee and support the development of research instruments
  • Presentation of research findings to different audiences
  • Understanding/ knowledge of other existing research and policy gaps in the sector
  • Ensure that research deliverables meet quality standards
  • Analyse research gaps promptly and accurately and cater to such needs by developing new concepts and innovations.


  • Provide leadership to the project team.
  • Identify key challenges within the team and develop appropriate solutions.
  • Contribute to the creation and delivery of donor/funder requirements on grants to ensure projects proceed with minimal delays and research designs and quality are not compromised
  • Ensure appropriate structures and reporting mechanisms are in place
  • Liaise between research assistants, Research Associates and SRAs to provide on-the ground insights and inputs into key research design decisions and troubleshooting of any research-related issues that arise
  • Negotiation of acceptable costs and contract agreements with partners / donors.


  • Effectively communicate to different stakeholders – written and verbal – i.e. to Principal Researchers, RAs, SRAs, Senior Research Manager, Partners/Donors and other relevant stakeholders
  • Timely response to requests

Resource Management

  • Manage administrative requirements of the project portfolio, including financial management, budgeting, procurement, contract set-up and compliance, grant reporting, deliverable tracking, etc.
  • Ensure appropriate systems are designed and put in place so that compliance with grants and institutional guidelines are maintained for processes including planning, budgeting, procurement, reporting, legal matters, etc.
  • Preparation of project budgets, schedule and utilisation forecasts for effective management of funds in coordination with the Grants Management team.
  • Monitor and control expenses within the allotted budget. This has to be ensured through periodic consultation with the Accounts team
  • Coordinate with project teams to ensure timely submission of financial reports and projections, and sub grantee/contract reports and deliverables in the portfolio to keep projects running smoothly

Relationship Management

  • Develop and maintain a good working relationship with partner/donor organizations
  • Keep an open channel for communication with partner/donor organizations and policy makers
  • Presenting of research findings to partner organizations
  • Work with partner/donor organizations to present research and higher level inferences to a larger audience through policy level workshops/conferences
  • Ensure timely submission of donor / grant reports – liaise with internal teams to gather appropriate information for submission
  • Managing and building healthy relationships with peers in the sector, experts and policy makers on a regular basis through informal interactions

Data Management

  • Supervise the quality of data collected through surveys via regular high frequency checks and other mechanisms
  • Ensuring all data management protocols are in place and being implemented
  • Oversee data analysis with the SRAs
  • Training of Research Associates on data analysis software

Capacity Building Activities

  • Writing and Dissemination
  • Contribute to policy briefs, blog posts, presentations and other forms of outreach as required
  • Contribute to institutional documentation and writing of internal process and policy documents
  • Attend and represent IFMR LEAD at events related to research topics (conference, workshop, seminar, etc.)
  • Represent IFMR LEADs work on all relevant fora
  • Actively engage with SRAs in submitting publications based on the body of work already developed


  • Provide research support to staff as required
  • Collaborate in design and training as required
  • Contribute to custom trainings for partner organizations
  • Design and deliver trainings for external audiences – demand driven

Background and Qualifications


  • Master’s Degree in Economics, Environment Economics/Policy/Science, Finance, Development or related field is mandatory. (unless the candidate is promoted internally)
  • Strong analytical skills and a solid understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies

Work Experience

  • 4 to 5 years of management and/or research experience in international development or related fields.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain an organized and structured work style in a fast-paced environment
  • Experience with grant writing and budget management
  • Previous experience of managing a team

Key Competencies / Attributes

  • Independent worker; takes initiative to lead and manage multiple tasks and propose solutions with minimal supervision.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Willing to translate research into practice for highest impacts on the ground.
  • Ability to visualize and fit the team’s research into the current policy context and plan future studies based on contemporary policy level gaps
  • Motivated to travel to work various places in India.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and willingness to interact with a wide range of individuals ranging from State and Central government officials, donors, research think tanks, banks, etc. bankers and financial regulators.
  • The ability to work in a multicultural environment
  • To act as a visionary in the team to frame the team strategy for the upcoming 1-3years along with the SRM

Application Instructions

  • Deadline: Applications are being accepted and reviewed until the position is filled.
  • To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample.
  • Please direct queries and applications to the title “ Research Manager” in the subject line.