Program Director, Financial Inclusion

Innovations for Poverty Action
Deadline for Applications

  • Reports to:  Senior Director, Policy
  • Location: Washington D.C. or New Haven, CT
  • Deadline to apply: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis
  • Desired start date: TBD

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA designs, rigorously evaluates, and refines these solutions and their applications together with decision-makers to ensure that the evidence created is used to improve opportunities for the world’s poor. Since our founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 350 leading academics to conduct over 450 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide.


Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a global non-profit research organization that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA designs, rigorously evaluates, and refines these solutions and their applications together with decisionmakers to ensure that the evidence created is used to improve opportunities for the world’s poor. In the ten years since its founding IPA has worked with over 250 leading academics to conduct over 400 evaluations in 51 countries.


The Financial Inclusion Program oversees a portfolio of over 125 ongoing and completed rigorous research projects testing ways to help the poor manage their money and benefit from 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. The work of the Program ranges from the management of a series of competitive research funding rounds to select and support research on financial services, to the development of research partnerships with financial institutions to test and replicate innovative product designs /solutions to foster financial inclusion. 

The Director will oversee a team of policy and research staff implementing  projects and initiatives under the Financial Inclusion Program. S/he will report to the 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.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The Director manages and 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 and partners in this space, and represent IPA in high-level conversations with key stakeholders in the financial sector.  The Director is responsible for overseeing 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: 

  • Guide the development of IPA’s research and policy work in Financial Inclusion
  • Lead partnerships with key Program partners and donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and expand the Program’s network of researchers and partners
  • Represent IPA in key policy events and meetings with key stakeholders in the financial sector
  • Manage a team of research and policy staff based in the US working across three initiatives and several replication projects
  • Engage IPA country offices and IPA partners to implement the Program’s research and policy objectives
  • Guide the management and design of the competitive research funding rounds Liaise with the Program’s Executive Committee and a group of policy experts advising on technical quality and policy relevance of research proposals
  • Work with the Program’s Academic Leads and key partners, to identify evidence gaps and pursue opportunities to support relevant research to address priority questions for industry and policy
  • Potential for producing original research and policy outputs, in collaboration with leading researchers
  • Frame the Program’s policy and communication agenda around research results

Education and/or Work Experience Requirements:

  • Master’s Degree in Economics, Public Policy, Business or International Development, or Ph.D. in Economics or Public Policy
  • 6-10 years of work experience in development/development research; microfinance or financial services sector preferable
  • Strategic thinker with a strong vision on financial inclusion internationally and in the US
  • Demonstrates excellent analytical, communication, client management and presentation skills
  • Experience in retail banking, microfinance, or digital financial service
  • 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 conducting  quantitative research and randomized trials
  • Experience with field research in developing and developed countries
  • Experience authoring and publishing peer-reviewed academic research in a relevant field a plus
  • Experience developing policy events as well as producing policy resources and publications

Application Instructions: