Indian Scholars Program

J-PAL South Asia is invested in creating opportunities for India-based researchers to drive and participate in the development research agenda in India through the use of randomized evaluations. As part of this effort, in 2021 J-PAL South Asia launched the Indian Scholars Program, a program that offers funding and capacity building opportunities for Indian researchers who have completed a PhD in Economics, Public Policy, Public Health or a related empirical discipline, and currently hold an academic or research position at an Indian university. 

Registrations of interest for funding were due on June 20, 2021 11:59 PM IST, and are now closed. 

If you are interested in learning more about future opportunities available through the Indian Scholars Program, please sign up for our database here.

About the Program

The Indian Scholars Program provides the following key opportunities:

  • Funding: We invite applications for proposal development grants; scoping studies that are intended to lead to impact evaluations; and rapid randomized evaluations

  • Webinar Series: J-PAL South Asia conducted a series of webinars which provide interested researchers with information and deeper exposure to the technical and practical aspects of running randomized evaluations.

  • Scholarship: Selected Researchers will be awarded a scholarship to attend J-PAL/MITx MicroMasters course in Data, Economics, and Development Policy.

  • Sponsorship: Researchers will be advised by an assigned “sponsor,” who will be a member of the J-PAL affiliate network. Selected researchers will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and receive inputs on their work from the J-PAL affiliated researcher that they are matched with.

Who can Apply?

This opportunity is available for researchers who:

  • Hold a PhD in Economics, Public Policy, Public Health or related empirical discipline.
  • Are currently holding a research or teaching position at an Indian university. 

Please note that the publication record of the applicants will be considered during the grant-making process. 

What can I apply for?

This page will be updated with funding opportunities once new RFPs open.

How to apply

Register with the Indian Scholars Program database to register your interest.

Webinar Series

J-PAL South Asia held four webinar sessions on the following topics to support researchers in the application process:

  • Program Launch Webinar (June 14, 2021): This webinar will provide interested participants information on the types of funding available, the proposal application process, support that J-PAL South Asia will provide to researchers who receive funding, and insight on managing research projects at J-PAL South Asia. Questions about the program will be addressed in an extensive Q&A section. 
  • Writing a research funding proposal (June 21, 2021): This webinar will provide interested participants guidance on writing high-quality research funding proposals, information about the details their proposals should include, and address any questions they may have about their research proposals for the Indian Scholars Program.
  • Introduction to Randomized Evaluations (July 14, 2021): The lecture on randomisation draws on J-PAL SA’s vast experience in running randomised evaluations that involve extensive primary data collection. It clears the concepts on why and how randomised evaluations can be used to rigorously measure impact for better development outcomes. This lecture will also give participants a thorough understanding of why and when researchers and policymakers might choose to conduct randomised evaluations and how randomised evaluations are designed in real-world settings.
  • Sampling and Sample Size (July 21, 2021): The webinar on Sampling and Sample Size will review how to choose an appropriate sample size for a randomised evaluation and the factors that determine the statistical power in an RCT.


This program will award scholarships to researchers to undertake the J-PAL/MITx MicroMasters course in Data, Economics, and Development Policy. Only researchers whose proposals are selected in the first round of funding will be eligible to receive this scholarship.  

The course equips learners with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing developing countries and the world’s poor. Through a series of five online courses and proctored exams, learners will gain a strong foundation in Microeconomics, Development Economics, and Probability and Statistics, while engaging with cutting-edge research in the field. 

The next round of MicroMasters courses will start from September 7, 2021, and participants should register at least the day before to be able to participate in the course.


Researchers whose proposals are selected for funding will be matched with researchers from the J-PAL affiliate network, who will serve as “sponsors” for the duration of their project. The sponsors will conduct regular calls with researchers to exchange ideas and provide inputs on the their study. J-PAL South Asia will match researchers for the sponsorship component based on their research interests, proposal topic, and previous work.

Further reading on randomised evaluations

Access all of J-PAL’s research resources here.

For further information, reach out to [email protected] 

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