Post-doctoral Research Fellow - K-CAI Initiative - J-PAL South Asia

Organization:
J-PAL South Asia
Country:
  • India
Start Date (Earliest):
Length of Commitment:
One year

J-PAL South Asia, based at the Institute of Financial Research and Management in India, seeks a Post-doctoral Research Fellow to support its emerging partnerships with several agencies at the national and state government level, including with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India. We are looking for a high-calibre individual who can leverage their knowledge, experience and passion for data and research to help address India’s clean energy transition. This position is under the J-PAL’s King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI).

The Government of India has set ambitious goals for ramping up energy production from renewable resources, however, the adoption of renewable energy remains low relative to targets. J-PAL South Asia has already been engaged with several government and NGO partners in the sector over the past few years on research related to improving the quality of electricity delivered by utilities, reducing electricity overconsumption and increasing access to renewable energy. We have ongoing projects with the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), Government of India as well as with the State Government of Karnataka. Moreover, J-PAL SA entered into a dialogue with India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for a potential collaboration that involves support in setting up a National Renewable Energy Data Center, administrative data analysis, policy advisory and new research projects to inform India’s clean energy transition including interventions to encourage adoption of residential rooftop solar. The collaboration with MNRE presents a fascinating opportunity to synthesize existing data sources scattered across various sub-agencies, digitize records where needed, and importantly to set up a framework and provide technical expertise to organize future administrative data in a single geo-coded platform.

The Research Fellow is expected to bring in cutting edge technical skills relevant for working with data in the energy sector, which typically requires a combination of strong data and methodology expertise and a sound understanding of scientific/engineering aspects.

This is a unique opportunity to work directly with J-PAL affiliates and researchers and interact with high-level external stakeholders to build a research portfolio and get early access to rich administrative datasets as well as create policy relevant outputs and advisory notes on data use in the Environment and Energy Sector in India.

The key responsibilities include:

Support on ongoing research projects:

  • The Research Fellow will work closely with Prof. Teevrat Garg (Assistant Professor, UCSD) on field experiments and research projects using administrative data on energy and environment topics.
  • This will involve providing technical inputs into the methodology, design and execution of research projects as well as supervising the project team consisting of research associates and managers.  

Developing a pipeline of new research projects:

  • Under his supervision, the Research Fellow will also be encouraged to develop and work on new research topics, particularly of relevance to the context in India, that can inform the evolving national policies, and strengthen implementation in the states.
  • This will involve engaging with NGOs and government partners as well as J-PAL affiliated researchers to identify areas of research interest.

Leading advisory inputs to government partners on strengthening data capabilities, accessibility and data use for research and policy design:

  • The Research Fellow would lead capacity building and advisory activities of the IDEA Lab for Energy sector partners like MNRE and others by synthesizing evidence from existing research, identifying potential for pilot projects and lessons, design of process and impact evaluations, and provide technical expertise on creating one stop data repositories and data centers for all energy and environment data that could be used by researchers and practitioners to improve learning and insights.
  • Additionally, the Research Fellow will also help maintain a repository (or catalogue) of available administrative data.

Supervision:

The Research Fellow will be supervised by Prof. Teevrat Garg on the research portfolio and preparation for the post-fellowship job market, and by Aparna Krishnan, Project Director, IDEA Lab on the project/ partnership development and advisory engagements leveraging administrative data.

  • The Research Fellow will attend all the trainings and staff meetings at J-PAL SA, and will also have the opportunity to attend national and international conferences and workshops.

Qualifications

The ideal candidate should have strong technical skills working with large administrative data, writing and communication skills, ability to engage with multiple stakeholders and a passion for the environment and energy conservation issues.

  • Education: Required PhD in Economics, Public Policy or related fields with interest in environment and energy. Course work in data science is highly desirable.
  • Experience: Demonstrated experience working with large administrative datasets in a developing country context; policy relevant research experience with at least one working paper in the energy and environment sector

Skills and competencies

  • Exceptional communication skills, including writing, conversing and presenting clearly in English
  • Experience working with complex partnerships, especially with governments, donors, and research organisations in developing countries
  •  A strategic thinker, able to handle multiple projects at once, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your and others time.
  • Mentoring support to research project teams.
  • Willingness to travel: This position requires travel to meet with senior policymakers in governments, NGOs, foundations, and international development organizations;

About the Organization

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of 194 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL South Asia, based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research in India, leads J-PAL’s work in the South Asia region. J-PAL South Asia conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs. Over more than ten years of existence, J-PAL South Asia has conducted 193 ongoing and completed randomized evaluations.

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the RESEARCH job category, then select "Post-doctoral Research Fellow - K-CAI Initiative - J-PAL South Asia” and include resume, cover letter, transcripts, and two recommendation letters. Note that applications with incomplete submissions will not be considered.

You are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application. Given the volume of applications received, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.