Program Director, Financial Inclusion

Innovations for Poverty Action
Deadline for Applications
Where to Apply

The Financial Inclusion Program (FIP) at IPA manages a portfolio of over 125 ongoing and completed rigorous research projects testing ways to help the poor manage their money and improve their livelihoods through access to financial services. The Program supports the creation and dissemination of evidence in the sector through a series of initiatives applying randomized evaluations to test product design innovations and solutions to foster financial capability globally and in the US. It does this primarily through three avenues: 1) managing series of competitive funding rounds to select and support research on financial services, 2) developing partnerships with financial institutions to implement the Program’s research agenda, and 3) communicating relevant findings to stakeholders and contribute to the development of the sector as a thought leader.

FIP seeks an outstanding candidate to direct the Program and lead its development as a center for innovation and learning in financial inclusion. The Director will oversee a team of policy and research staff implementing projects and initiatives, and will report to IPA’s Senior Policy Director and work closely with the Program’s Academic Leads, Dean Karlan and Jonathan Zinman. The position will be based in Washington DC or New Haven CT.


The Director oversees all activities under the Financial Inclusion Program at IPA. S/he will provide leadership and strategic guidance for IPA’s work in the sector, act as a thought partner to key donors, practitioners and researchers in this space, and represent IPA in high-level conversations with key stakeholders in the financial sector. The Director is responsible for a portfolio of over $10 million in research funding and a team of 12 US-based policy and research staff.

Core responsibilities include the following:

Lead the Program’s strategic growth

Guide the development of IPA’s research and policy work in Financial Inclusion
Work with the Program’s Academic Leads and key partners to identify evidence gaps and areas to expand the Program’s influence and contributions
Pursue opportunities to support relevant research to address priority questions for industry and policy
Coordinate with IPA Country Programs and senior management to support IPA strategic planning
Ensure the continuing fiscal stability of the Program through responsible budget oversight and fundraising efforts
Represent the Financial Inclusion Program

Lead partnerships with key Program partners and donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Expand the Program’s network of researchers and partners
Represent IPA in seminal policy events and meetings with key stakeholders in the financial sector
Liaise with the Program’s Executive Committee and a group of policy experts advising on technical quality and policy relevance of research proposals
Engage IPA country offices to implement the Program’s research and policy objectives
Effectively manage and develop staff

Manage a team of 12 research and policy staff based in the US working across several research initiatives and replication projects
Ensure that Program staff have the resources they need to be effective in their work
Support the personal and professional growth of each Program staff member
Guide the management and design of the Program’s competitive research funding model
Thought leadership and communication

Potential for producing original research and policy outputs, in collaboration with leading researchers
Frame the Program’s policy and communication agenda around research results
Actively seek new venues where the Program can disseminate its research and policy findings


Master’s Degree in Economics, Public Policy, Business or International Development required
6-10 years of work experience in development/development research
Strategic thinker with a strong vision on financial inclusion challenges globally and in the US
Experience conducting or reviewing quantitative research and randomized controlled trials
Demonstrates excellent analytical, communication, client management and presentation skills
Flexible, self-motivated, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, collaborative team player
Comfort and demonstrated experience in public speaking
Strong project management skills, including budgeting, attention to operational and research details, and ability to manage multiple projects efficiently (including while traveling)
Prior experience managing a team, and demonstrated team-building, and people management skills
Experience in retail banking, microfinance, or digital financial services a plus

Application Instructions