Senior Research Associate, Dost- 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

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 Senior Research Associate (SRA) to conduct a randomized evaluation of a program developed by an Indian non-profit (Dost) that provides mothers with regular audio recordings with guidance on how to offer psychosocial stimulation to children from 6 to 30 months. The intervention will target beneficiaries of India’s public childcare system, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in Uttarakhand, India.

The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand field management and research experience in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research. The SRA will report to the Research Manager at New York University Steinhardt (NYU) and work closely with Principal Investigators (PIs): Alejandro Ganimian (NYU Steinhardt), Irma Arteaga (University of Missouri), Andreas de Barros (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Sneha Sheth (Dost) and Sindhuja Jeyabal (Dost).

The SRA will represent the research team on the ground in India and play a critical role to implement the research project. The position entails the ability to work independently with remote supervision, and occasional field travels within two districts of Uttarakhand during data collection. The SRA needs to be experienced and very comfortable in conducting fieldwork (typically managing large field teams), desk analysis and literature reviews, and maintaining strong relationships with the research partners. Candidates with knowledge of coding to process, analyze and visualize data will be further prioritized.

Key Responsibilities

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

  • Closely collaborate with the Research Manager, PIs, and implementing partner to understand the research needs, supervise phone-based surveys and lead data quality assurance.
  • Coding survey questionnaires, developing training protocols, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercises, refining study design, and survey instruments
  • Managing surveying teams: Recruit, train, and supervise data operations teams consisting of field managers, phone surveyors, and other field and office staff 
  • Supervising data collection and data entry process and administering periodic data quality checks to ensure good data quality during both these phases
  • Co-ordinating with the Administrative and Finance team as well as the Research Manager 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 relationships with partner organizations at both headquarters and field levels
  • Assisting with data cleaning and preliminary data analysis
  • Assisting in the preparation of documents and presentations for donor reporting as well as dissemination activities
  • Regular reporting to Research Manager on all of the above-mentioned activities
  • Any other task as assigned by the Research Manager, and PIs

Desired Qualifications

  • A Bachelor's/Master’s degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, education, or related fields
  • Previous experience working with JPAL/IPA or similar research organizations conducting randomized evaluations
  • Experience living in a developing country is a strong plus
  • Previous experience in development research preferred
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials/clinical trials/quasi-experiments preferred
  • Excellent management and organizational skills along with strong quantitative skills
  • Fluency and excellent communication skills in English and Hindi
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and team player
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations
  • Working knowledge of Stata (strongly preferred) or other data analysis software is preferred
  • Experience in survey design and administration using SurveyCTO
  • 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 "Senior Research Associate Dost, 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.