Research Manager, Precision Agriculture for Development - J-PAL South Asia

J-PAL Office 
Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
More than two years
Start Date 

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 an excellent 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, 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.

Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) is a US-based non-profit organization with a mission to provide high-quality, customized, and actionable agricultural information and advice to smallholder farmers via their mobile phones to increase agricultural productivity, farmer incomes, and environmental sustainability. PAD’s approach centers around an iterative and interactive process of innovating, testing, and refining through A/B trials and rigorous impact evaluations.

Job Description:

J-PAL South Asia at the Institute for Financial Management and Research seeks qualified applicants for the position of Research Manager to manage our growing portfolio of projects undertaken by PAD across the country.

Research Managers work closely with PAD researchers, affiliated researchers, and  field teams to perform a variety tasks including, but not limited to: overseeing several research associates and their projects, designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercise, refining study design and surveying instruments, managing survey teams, negotiating contracts with survey firms, checking and analyzing data, cleaning data and assisting in preliminary analysis, assisting in the writing of project reports and policy memos, coordinating with local partners running the programs being evaluated, and supporting outreach to policymakers in country.

The primary Principal Investigators include:

  • Dr. Shawn Cole – Professor of Business Administration (Harvard Business School)
  • Dr. Tomoko Harigaya – Senior Researcher (Precision Agriculture for Development)

Key Responsibilities

Research project management

  • Manage a portfolio of on-going research projects providing support to the project teams that comprises of Research Associates, project associate and other field staff.
  • Travel to project locations to work with the RAs and project teams and provide direct oversight.
  • Work closely with the project team and support functions to ensure smooth functioning and ensure that projects adhere to policies, procedure, and timelines.
  • Assist with identifying possible research questions, along with supporting Principal Investigators in preparing research grant proposals.
  • Support upcoming projects as per requirement, including designing surveys and planning data collection activities accordingly
  • Keep track of project budgets and the financial health of  individual projects, and collaborate with the Finance team to provide inputs for accurate budgeting, and cash flow calculations
  • Support the project team in preparing progress reports to the donors and funding agencies. Be the point person to communicate with the Grants Manager on any funding/grants related issue.
  • Ensure the adherence to JPAL SA and PAD's guidelines on research compliance, data security and people's safety.
  • Help recruit Research Associates and other research staff, as needed. Oversee their hiring and on-boarding in close coordination with HR and Administrative team.
  • Mentor the team of research associates in their personal and professional development; help maintain adequate work-life balance, train associates to better their technical and leadership skills.
  • Apprise Principal Investigators on the progress of the projects on a regular basis
  • Apprise the Associate Director (Research), Associate Director (Finance) on the progress and development of the projects.
  • Support JPAL SA in creating and managing institutional knowledge. Provide additional support to streamline systems and processes.
  • Take an active role in capacity development, training and presenting as and when required.
  • Represent J-PAL and PAD in meetings and conferences and liaising with academics, officials, policymakers, donors and partner organizations.
  • Any other work as assigned by the Executive Director.

Desired Qualifications and Experience:

  • Education: Master’s degree in economics, public policy/administration or related fields. Strong coursework in economics is highly preferable.
  • Experience: This position requires management experience in a multi-faceted role, dealing with multitude of stakeholders. Experience working in the agriculture sector and knowledge of the Indian government context is a huge plus.
  • Management: Proven ability to handle multiple projects/tasks at one time, successfully complete tasks assigned, and meeting deadlines. A willingness to work hard, be self-motivated and learn will be essential for doing well in this position. Experience in managing teams and interacting with institutional partners strongly desired. Ability to present and negotiate with senior members a plus and proven experience in managing high level partnerships. 
  • Communication: Attention to detail and advanced writing and presentation skills for communicating with multiple partners.  This requires clear, precise, non-technical writing, and creativity in presentation. 
  • Understanding Randomized Evaluations and technical skills: Demonstrating a good basic understanding of the value of randomized evaluations and their usefulness for policy decisions is valuable but not required. Knowledge of Stata is required, Python, R, or other data analysis software is an advantage;
  • Travel: Travel to different parts of India to meet with relevant stakeholders.

We are looking for a minimum commitment period of two, preferably three, years for this position.

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Research Manager, Precision Agriculture for Development - J-PAL South Asia.” Applications require you to include two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts. Note that you are able to submit your application without the recommendation letters. However, please be advised that we will be requiring them should you be invited for an interview.

Additionally, please submit the following documents in PDF format to Arnesh Chowdhury ([email protected]) as soon as possible – applications will considered on a rolling basis. (1) a cover letter clearly addressing your qualifications for the various responsibilities listed above, (2) Curriculum Vitae (Resume), and (3) transcripts of your undergraduate and graduate courses (including course names and grades).

In the subject line: Put your full name, first (given) name followed by last (family) name.
In the email body: Copy exactly the following position line:

J-PAL South Asia, Research Manager  (Precision Agriculture for Development)

Please do not include any text besides the position line in the body of the e-mail. Adding extra text will interfere with the processing of your application.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.