Director of Research

Washington, DC
Job Type
Where to Apply

About Accion:

Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. We catalyze financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by –  the financial sector. For more than 50 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through its work with more than 90 partners in 40 countries. More at

About The Center for Financial Inclusion

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the financial inclusion industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people underserved by the current financial sector to improve their lives.

Position Summary

The director of research is responsible for many of the research activities at the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI). The position plays a role in designing, participating in, managing, fundraising for, and reporting on research on various topics relevant to financial inclusion. The position manages a team of people who are also working on research and application of research. This team also houses CFI’s work on financial health and financial capability. The scope of the position includes research conducted internally within CFI and research conducted by external researchers under contract with CFI. CFI’s approach to research involves stakeholder engagement throughout the process, so the director of research would also ensure that the research activities are done in concert with stakeholders who are positioned to act on the results.


Develop and oversee a robust research and thought leadership portfolio for CFI. Perform own research and advise on research initiatives to be carried out by others on topics such as financial inclusion innovation, financial capability, financial health, responsible digital finance and others. Present results though clear and compelling reports, presentations, data display, blog posts, speaking engagements, etc. Engage with stakeholders so that research leads to action. Stay up-to-date on industry trends and significant issues in the financial inclusion landscape. Develop personal reputation as a go-to resource in the financial inclusion space.

Directly manage or oversee a portfolio of projects. Current projects include the CFI Fellows Program, CFI’s research partnership with the Institute of International Finance, Financial Inclusion Week, a partnership with the Microfinance Center on financial health in Eastern Europe, the Global Microscope (partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit and others) and an annual executive education program in partnership with Harvard Business School.

Supervise a team of people managing the above projects, organizing stakeholder-focused events, and supporting research activities; propose and manage a budget covering a portfolio of projects all relating to the development and dissemination of CFI research and special projects; and manage contracts with external researchers and consultants.

CFI GENERAL: Support other CFI activities when needed and/or available. Contribute to shaping CFI strategy and future direction.


Master’s or PhD in relevant field (e.g., economics, business, public policy)
Minimum of ten years of experience in financial inclusion, banking policy and regulation, consumer-level research, microfinance, and/or a closely related field
Successful demonstration of effective leadership of programs and management of teams
Demonstrated research accomplishments including both qualitative and quantitative methods
Excellent writing (from reports to blog posts) and presentation skills (data visualization
Track-record of producing influential research or writing
Excellent public speaking skills
Experience in stakeholder engagement, fundraising, and donor relations
Fluency in English required; Spanish, French or other language fluency a plus
Interested in our mission and working globally.
Willingness to embody our values of excellence, respect and passion for social change.
Excellence: Accion staff should always put forth their best effort in all activities, strive for high quality of collective and individual performance; and demonstrate honesty and integrity at all times while in the workplace and while working on behalf of the organization.
Respect: Accion staff should value one another’s roles and responsibilities as much as their own, be encouraging, and value the diverse and unique perspectives of colleagues. They should honor obligations and commitments to each other and to external partners.
Passion for Social Change: Accion staff should be committed to making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, value the greater good of the organization over personal gain, and promote a productive workplace by acknowledging the accomplishments of others.

Additional Information

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