SARDI India MSME Tech Policy Fellowship Program


USAID through its South Asia Regional Digital Initiative (SARDI) is launching a one-year fellowship program to conduct policy research at the interface of digitalization and MSMEs in India. The fellowship program seeks to ensure the MSME perspectives and challenges are incorporated in policy development. The focus is on finding ways in which the overall digital adoption and digital transformation can thus be achieved for the MSMEs in India. The fellowship will provide policy recommendations that can be readily taken up for action through coordinated efforts of various government agencies.  Overall, SARDI is managed by DAI. The fellowship program is anchored at LEAD — it will provide key technical and operational support to DAI in ensuring the objective of the fellowship is attained and also establishing synergy with other initiatives under SARDI in India. The fellows will be hosted at reputed organizations who can provide outstanding mentorship on the chosen topic.


LEAD along with USAID and DAI will select three think tanks/organizations based on the strength of their proposals. These think tanks, together in consultation with LEAD, USAID and DAI will shortlist the research fellows and arrive at the topic of interest, mutually. The hosting organization shall provide a dedicated mentor/advisor and/or a group of mentors/advisors to the fellows to guide the research. At the end of the fellowship, the objective will be to ensure that the research feeds into the policy design through widespread dissemination among the right set of stakeholders.


The policy research as a result of the fellowship will be disseminated by the think tanks and the fellows to an appropriate audience at learning events like seminars and conferences organized by LEAD. The audience will have representation from key nodal ministries, academia, corporates, start-ups and other ecosystem enablers. Multi-stakeholder engagement at a sectoral level, coordinated by LEAD, will provide opportunities to identify the right policy lever to push MSME digitalization. Based on the nature of the relationship forged, the fellows hosted may continue to support the think tank in their future endeavors.

Call for Applications

  • Research Fellowship | LEAD invited applications from researchers interested in an upto one-year fellowship located at the intersection of MSMEs, digitalization and public policy. The last date of submission of application was extended upto 19th September, 2022 — before 9:00 am IST. 
  • NOTE: Applications are now closed. Thanks to all those who applied! We will be in touch shortly. 

Project Leads

Komal Bazaz Smith, Christiy Coster, Ritesh Datta, Sharon Buteau, Preethi Rao, Debdulal Thakur, Abhishek Gupta


Multiple (based on the shortlisted organizations and geographical area of focus the policy research)