Research Associate (Data): IDEA Lab - J-PAL South Asia

J-PAL South Asia
  • India
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
Start Date (Earliest):
Length of Commitment:
One year

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.

J-PAL South Asia, based at the Institute of Financial Research and Management in India, seeks a research associate (data) under its new initiative Innovations in Data and Experiments for Action (IDEA) Lab. We are looking for a high-calibre individual who can leverage their knowledge, experience and passion for data to execute a high-impact project leveraging administrative data on health insurance and other datasets.

J-PAL launched the IDEA initiative in 2018, and subsequently the first IDEA Lab was set up in J-PAL South Asia, with the aim to increase the use of administrative data by governments, non-profits, private firms and researchers for evidence-informed decision making (here). The IDEA Lab engages in long term collaborations with governments and other data providers to strengthen the use of administrative data by developing data use cases for decision-making as well as capacity building activities on making data accessible and usable. The IDEA team has existing partnerships with several state governments such as Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Punjab and is working across sectors such as health, social welfare, labour, urban services, taxation etc. We are building a new team of analysts and managers to work with us. This is a great opportunity for anyone with strong data skills who is looking to apply them for problem solving and generating meaningful insights in the social sector.

The Research Associate (Data) will work closely with a Data Manager and Senior Manager to execute the project in one or more states in India. S/he is expected to be based out of the location of the partnering state government (yet to be finalized). 

The key responsibilities include:

  • The Research Associate (Data) will be embedded within the state government office and work with assigned officials to understand the existing administrative data and prepare meta-data documentation of various datasets.
  • Will work with the Data Manager and Senior Manager to understand policy needs of the state and develop a scope of work and data access request.
  • Will work with relevant officials to facilitate data access in a secure manner according to agreed protocols.
  • Will organize, manage, clean, process, document and analyse the data based on the agreed scope of work and needs of the partner. The Analyst will be guided by a Senior Manager/Domain Expert.
  • Manage and execute any field related operations such as hiring and training field teams, designing questionnaires, manage data collection etc for assessing the usability and validity of the data
  • Work with the Manager to visualize the data in a meaningful manner and develop presentations/briefs/insights to share with the government partner.
  • Work with the Manager to provide regular updates to the government partner.
  • Ensure project documentation and help in building knowledge products/training material for capacity building workshops.

Required qualifications

  • Bachelor’s/Master’s degree from a recognized university in one of the following disciplines: Statistics, Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science, Economics with significant experience in data analysis;
  • Professional work experience in data analytics: upto 2 years of work experience in data management, data analytics, computation/statistics work with large datasets. Experience working with large public data-sets is highly preferred
  • Excellent programming and data analysis skills in R/Python and SQL is required, preferably experience analyzing large datasets using Python integrated with SQL
  • Excellent communication skills and experience working in a collaborative environment is required

Preferred qualifications

  • Familiarity working with large public datasets in the social sector
  • Proficiency with Github and other modern data management, sharing and presentation interfaces

Skills, competencies and behavioural attributes

  • A passion for and proven ability to work with different types of data to generate meaningful and policy relevant insights.
  • Exceptional communication skills, including writing, conversing and presenting clearly in English. Working proficiency in one or more languages such as Hindi or Tamil is highly desirable.
  • Self-motivated, ability to problem solve and to work with minimal supervision and meet deadlines while conducting high quality work.
  •  Attention to detail and precision. 
  • Initiative, resilience and flexibility in adapting to changing contexts.
  • Ability to work closely and constructively with multiple team members in a collaborative manner and on short timelines. 

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the RESEARCH job category, then select "Research Associate (Data) : IDEA Lab, J-PAL SA” 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.