Research Associate - Combating vaccine hesitancy through tailored interventions - J-PAL South Asia

J-PAL South Asia
  • India
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
Start Date (Earliest):
Language Requirement:
  • English
  • Hindi
Length of Commitment:
Less than one year

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) J-PAL was established in 2003 as a research center at the Economics Department at MIT. Since then, it has grown into a global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL is propelled by a team dedicated to research, policy, training, and other vital work, supporting J-PAL's mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.

J-PAL South Asia, the regional office which is based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) in India, analyses and disseminates research results and builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure that policy is driven by evidence, and that programs proven effective are scaled up. We have a growing number of partnerships in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. For more information on J-PAL SA, please see

Project Description:

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to over 5 million deaths worldwide, with India contributing almost 10 percent of fatalities. Real world studies show, and experts agree, that widespread vaccination is the most effective way to emerge from the pandemic. Vaccines are crucial because they reduce the rates of transmission. This is important not only because they protect the individual as well as communities from severe health outcomes, but also because they help reduce the risk of mutation of the infection into much more virulent strains, such as the recent rise of cases of the Omicron variant.

Following the mass rollout of the vaccination since the start of 2021, take-up has been generally strong and reassuring. Nevertheless, different state and non-state agencies leading the cause are facing significant challenges in ensuring complete coverage due to continued hesitancy amongst certain sections, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, of the population. This was also evident through the localised and intense surges of infections in the last few months compared to the wider and controlled case-load experienced in the previous waves. Hence, this vaccine hesitancy among certain pockets of the population can jeopardise the monumental strides made and significantly prolong the pandemic. 

Accordingly, as India opens up after the third wave of infections, and vaccine supply and demand has relatively stabilised following a year of implementation and learnings, it is important to shift the focus from a broad-based campaign to a targeted strategy that:

  • Understands the specific reasons for hesitancy within certain socio-economic groups.
  • Create tailored, well-informed and timely interventions that have the potential to deliver complete vaccine take-up and coverage of the entire population, 

This is especially critical given the recent administration of booster doses for senior citizens as well as vaccination for children, as any source of impediment to adult vaccination would most certainly also have bearings on the vaccination status and health outcomes of the most vulnerable of our population, elderly and children.

J-PAL South Asia would work collaboratively with partners to design, adapt, implement, and conduct Randomised Control Trials to evaluate evidence-informed interventions to improve vaccination take-up in a more nuanced manner.

Roles and Responsibilities:

The Research Associate will work closely with PIs and the field team to undertake the following tasks.

  • Liaise with all partners to ensure smooth communication and compliance to project requirements
  • Work with the PIs to develop the survey questionnaire, study design, IRB application, grant application and data collection processes
  • Data collection
  • Work closely with partners to plan and set-up data collection
  • Set-up data quality checks and provide feedback to survey teams
  • Intervention
  • Develop SoP for interventions
  • Lead workshops with partners on intervention design and implementation
  • Data cleaning and management
  • Work with other members of the team to reconcile any gaps or errors in the data
  •  Maintain an efficient data documentation system
  • Data analysis and synthesis
  • Assist in analysis of data collected during the project’s implementation
  • Liaise with partners and J-PAL research team members by sending them statistics as and when required
  • Generate aggregated views of the data for various stakeholders – the Principal Investigators, donors and other partners
  • Assist in documenting data collection efforts, including any issues and key decisions taken for improvements
  • Reporting to PIs and team members on all of the above-mentioned activities.
  • Maintain compliance with all J-PAL protocols and policies. 

Desired Qualifications and Experience:

  • Bachelor's/ Master's degree in economics, education, applied psychology, cognitive science or related fields
  • Experience-1-2 years, experience working in Health sector preferred
  • Experience working with a large variety of partners
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative research skills
  • Strong STATA /R skills
  • Familiarity with RCTs
  • Excellent management/ organisational skills and able to solve unexpected problems
  • Flexible, self-motivating, independent and manages multiple tasks efficiently
  • Ability to deal with unstructured and changing environments
  • Attention to detail

Note on Work Authorizations:

Candidates must have work authorization to work in India.

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select Research Associate - Combating vaccine hesitancy through tailored interventions - 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.