Job Opportunity for Research Associate- Technology-assisted Caregiver Programme at Poverty Action Lab

  • Anywhere

Website Poverty Action Lab

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) J-PAL was established in 2003 as a research centre 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 a first-rate 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.

Primary Project Description:

This study shall pilot and evaluate a tech-based caregiver programme which aims to promote parental and Anganwadi Workers’ awareness and engagement with children by reinforcing age appropriate behaviours. The key hypothesis behind the intervention is that improving parental engagement with the educational process, and training/coaching AWWs to be more responsive to children and work with the parents of children aged 3-6 years old from deprived backgrounds will enhance school readiness, which will then translate to improved child development and long-term outcomes. The intervention is designed to leverage technology to overcome periodic closures of AWCs due to the pandemic. The pilot will help study the feasibility of this intervention – if shown to be feasible, we plan to study the effectiveness of the programme in improving children’s outcomes through a Randomized Control Trial, which can then inform a potential scale up across multiple AWCs in India.

The intervention will be delivered online through smartphones and basic mobiles providing remote learning to children and remote training and coaching for the teachers and parents. The focus for the parents and teachers is behavioural change and the activities for the children are designed to promote their development. It is designed to be scalable and to offer a model that is effective in the longer run post-pandemic era. Scalability is assured by leveraging local resources and not being reliant on new expenditures, but only on changes in behaviour.

The research associate will be based in Chennai and will work closely with the PIs. The role will be focused on developing tools for process monitoring and collecting data to evaluate the pilot to be implemented by the partner organization Indus Action. The research associate will manage the field activities for data collection, set-up data management systems, ensure the quality of the recorded data and conduct preliminary data analysis.

Research Associate Roles and Responsibilities:

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

  • Designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercises, refining study design and surveying instruments.
  • Managing teams: Recruit, train, and supervise both field-based and data operations teams consisting of project assistants, field managers, field-based surveyors, data entry operators and other field and office staff.
  • Overseeing implementation of the evaluation in accordance to the research design, in association with our partner organization.
  • Maintaining relationships with partner organizations at both headquarters and field levels
  • Supervising data collection and data-entry, and ensuring data quality and productivity.
  • Assisting with data cleaning, preliminary data analysis, and preparation of documents and presentations for dissemination ­­­­­
  • Reporting to PIs on all of the above-mentioned activities.
  • Maintain compliance with all J-PAL protocols and policies.

Desired Qualifications and Experience:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Statistics, Education or related fields.
  • Experience living in a developing country is a strong plus.
  • Excellent management and organizational skills along with strong quantitative skills.
  • Fluency and excellent communication skills in Tamil, and English.
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations.
  • Knowledge of data analysis in Stata.
  • Familiarity with impact evaluations and randomized controlled trials, in particular, preferred.
  • Willingness to live in Chennai and travel extensively to study sites across Tamil Nadu is essential.
  • We are looking for a commitment period of 9 months for this position.

Note on Work Authorizations: Candidates must have work authorization to work in India. This covers citizens of India, Nepal, or Bhutan, Persons of Indian origin (PIO), and an Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).  

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Research Associate- Technology-assisted Caregiver Programme – J-PAL South Asia” and include two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, CV, and transcripts. Note that applications with incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Also send an email to Murali at following these instructions exactly:

In the subject line: Put your full name, first (given) name followed by last (family) name.

Attachments: Please attach ONLY your CV and Cover Letter.

Please do not include any text besides the position line(s) 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 a written exam and interview(s).

To apply for this job please visit