Research Fellow, Dhaka, Bangladesh - BIGD, Brac University

  • Bangladesh
  • Other advanced degree
Start Date (Earliest):
Language Requirement:
  • English
Length of Commitment:
Three years or more

Position Summary:

Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), based at Brac University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, seeks a Research Fellow for the new research initiative on Digital Financial Services (DFS) and Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE), which has recently been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are looking for a promising early-career researcher with a strong interest in research at the intersection of DFS and WEE.

The Research Fellow will develop research projects with BIGD around DFS and WEE and function as an Investigator in the funded projects. S/he will also facilitate the selection of high-quality research projects and monitor the quality of the projects funded through the initiative. The Research Fellow must be trained in empirical research methods and have a passion for financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment.

Digital Financial Services and Women’s Economic Empowerment Research Initiative:

There is a growing body of evidence on the welfare impacts of access to DFS and the product and policy design choices unlocked through the digitization of financial services. WEE is a crucial development issue, which DFS can impact through a number of pathways. Understanding these pathways—the causal mechanisms between DFS and WEE—is essential for advancing practical policy recommendations on the effective use of these services to empower women economically. But rigorous and generalizable evidence on the impact of DFS on WEE, particularly on the causal mechanism between the two, is limited. BIGD’s new DFS-WEE Research Initiative seeks to fill this critical evidence gap by funding rigorous research studies by leading researchers for projects across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In DFS-WEE Research Initiative, BIGD will manage the selection and funding of compelling research projects, which may be implemented through any qualified field partner, including but not limited to BIGD’s own internal research project teams. An independent Academic Steering Committee (ASC), composed of academics with a strong interest on the issue, will select the proposals for funding.

About BIGD:

By influencing policy and practice through rigorous research and quality academic programs, BIGD aims to promote innovation in governance and development processes towards a more just and prosperous society. Partnering with academics around the world, BIGD conducts multi-method research on governance and development issues in close collaboration with several crucial departments of the Government of Bangladesh, large non-profits such as BRAC, and international organizations such as the World Bank. BIGD oversees BRAC International’s Independent Research and Evaluation Cell (IERC), which works in ten countries across Asia and Africa. BIGD also hosts the Country Office of the International Growth Centre (IGC), London School of Economics (LSE); and the Executive Director (ED) of BIGD heads the IGC Country Office. Responsibilities:

Research, Proposal Development, and Matchmaking (50%)

  1. in collaboration with other researchers and implementing partners such as policymakers and non- profits, develop research projects for BIGD with the potential to apply as a Principal Investigator for competitive project funding to this initiative or other sources
  2. Proactively engage potential researchers, encouraging them to apply for funding to the initiative and supporting them to effectively align research proposals with existing gaps in the literature
  3. Facilitate matchmaking between potential researchers and implementation partners—policymakers, non-profits, multilateral organizations, financial service providers, and commercial enterprises.
  4. Personally participate in major global research events and relevant stakeholder events to promote the initiative, facilitate matchmaking, and disseminate outputs 

Facilitating Research Proposal Selection and Monitoring Project Implementation (30%)

  1. Support the development of Request for Proposal (RFP) documents for soliciting research grant proposals
  2. Support the development of proposal screening, reviewing, evaluation, and selection process
  3. Prepare summaries of initially selected proposals to support ASC members in decision making
  4. Support the development of a standard set of deliverables and reporting templates for the grantees
  5. Monitor the quality of the funded research projects by reviewing reporting documents submitted by grantees

Capacity Building (20%)

  1. While serving as an Investigator in BIGD research projects, work to build the capacity of Research Associates and staff involved in the projects related to project implementation, data analysis, and academic publishing
  2. Support the development of BIGD’s research quality management system

Teaching Opportunities (Optional)

  1. There is the potential to teach academic classes offered by BIGD, for which s/he will be compensated separately according to BIGD policy

Qualifications: Required

  1. PhD or PhD coursework with anticipated 2020 dissertation completion in Economics/Public Policy/Development Studies or other relevant disciplines from a reputed university
  2. At least two years of experience working as a Research Manager/Coordinate/Associate in a major quantitative field-research project
  3. Research skills and experience: - Demonstrated capacity to work with implementing partners and academic leads to set up, support, and analyse rigorous research studies, particularly randomized evaluations - Strong data analysis skills, including data cleaning, management, and econometric analysis for impact evaluation - Skills in developing research instruments (e.g. questionnaire) and coding for digitizing complex questionnaires - High level of expertise in data analysis software (preferably Stata)
  4. Ability to understand and communicate how rigorous research can influence policy decisions
  5. Exceptional communication skills, including speaking and writing effectively in English


  1. Relevant publications, particularly peer-reviewed journal articles
  2. Working experience in research grant-making facilities
  3. Knowledge of and experience in financial inclusion as well as women’s economic empowerment
  4. Sound knowledge of the current scenario and major trends of empirical research in social science
  5. Verbal and aural language proficiency in Bangla

Reports to: Initiative Director

Location: Preferably Dhaka, Bangladesh

Last date of application: 24 January 2020

How to Apply

Please send your resume (not more than three pages) along with a cover letter, clearly explaining your interest in and qualifications for this position. Send your application to [email protected] and mention “Application for the position: Research Fellow” in the subject line. The selected candidate will be offered a competitive compensation package and the tenure of employment will be up to 44 months. If you have any question, please contact [email protected]