Research Associate - HLC- J-PAL South Asia

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

About the position

J-PAL South Asia at the Institute for Financial Management and Research seeks qualified applicants for the position of Research Associate to lead impact evaluations in India. The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand field management experience in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research. The Research Associate will join a team of world class researchers from leading universities in the world and will gain first-hand experience implementing randomized control trials in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research Read more about our work and projects here.

Project Specific Details

Smallholder farmers face substantial and increasing risks from unpredictable weather. This project will investigate whether accurate forecasts have the potential to mitigate this risk by improving farmers’ weather predictions and agricultural decision-making. The research will use a lab-in-the-field design: a sample of ~1080 coffee famers in Karnataka will be invited to participate in interactive workshops where they will play a tablet-based game. The game will present participants with a series of hypothetical decision-making scenarios relevant to coffee farming (e.g. the timing of fertilizer application), and ask them to select the optimal choice using a forecast. By randomly varying the forecasts’ attributes along various dimensions, the experiment will enable identification of the types of weather information that most help farmers to make optimal decisions.

The research project will be conducted in collaboration with Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD), a global non-profit organization that delivers phone-based agricultural extension services to smallholders in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Key Responsibilities

The Research Associate work closely with academic researchers and field staff to perform a variety tasks including, but not limited to:

  • Leading the development of a field plan, including identification of suitable workshop venues, logistics and monitoring
  • Designing workshop protocols, surveys and other materials
  • Managing teams: Recruit, train, and supervise a 12-person field team to deliver workshops on time and to a high standard
  • Co-ordinating with the Administrative and Finance team on a variety of tasks related to field staff contracting and payments
  • Overseeing the implementation of the evaluation in accordance to the research design in association with our partner organization
  • Ensuring that the project complies with IRB and JPAL data collection and security protocols with the help of the Research Manager
  • Maintaining relationship with partner organizations at both headquarters and field levels
  • Assisting with data cleaning and preliminary data analysis, as required
  • Reporting to PIs on all of the above-mentioned activities
  • Any other task as assigned by the Research Manager, AD Research or ED

Desired Qualifications

  • A Bachelor's/Master’s degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, education or related fields
  • Experience living in a developing country is a strong plus
  • Previous experience in development research preferred
  • Excellent management and organizational skills along with strong quantitative skills
  • Fluency and excellent communication skills in English
  • Some conversational-level skills in regional languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Kannada etc.
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and team player
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations
  • Knowledge of Stata (strongly preferred) or other data analysis software is preferred
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials/clinical trials/quasi-experiments preferred
  • Ability to deal with unstructured and changing environments
  • Ability to work independently and in rural field locations 

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 HLC, J-PAL South Asia” and include a 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.