BRAC Social Innovation Lab’s “Inclusion Fellowship: Capstone Research Programme 2021”, is an opportunity for current students and early-career researchers to design studies and experiments to understand the existing gaps in different areas of DFS to recommend a pathway from practice to policy at the end of the study.
The Fellowship will provide the mechanism for aiding clients to keep using DFS tools such as mobile money. Factors leading to growing gaps in lower-income communities should be taken into account when making policy recommendations. Fellows will be expected to build on pre-existing academic and in-practice research and evidence in the field of financial inclusion and gender equality and provide additional insights or evidence on ways to strengthen women’s financial inclusion further.
They are looking for researchers interested in exploring questions along the pathway to inclusive digital financial services. A non-exhaustive list of research questions is indicated below.
- How can the DFS continuity barriers in the ultra-poor communities be addressed?
- What initiatives should programs take to reduce the increasing digital gender gap in developing countries?
- What are different ways for policymakers and development practitioners to incorporate the changes needed into the existing DFS system?
- How can the DFS ecosystem be more client-centric and unscathed?
- What role can consumer protection play in mending the DFS design?
Capstone projects may take various formats, e.g. case studies, research papers/reports, policy briefs, interactive toolkits and playbooks, data illustrations, and others. They are also open to different research approaches and methodologies.
BRAC is the world’s largest Global South-led development organization serving communities across 11 countries in Asia and Africa. Through their interventions and support to individuals, communities, and governments, they act as a catalyst, creating opportunities for people living in poverty to realize their potential.
Inclusion Fellows will receive:
- Mentorship and guidance from sectoral experts and practitioners leading anti-poverty and social empowerment programs.
- Access to program operations staff for primary research or consultations.
- Field access and research logistics support e.g. translations, sampling interviewees, field travel and logistics, etc. (subject to Government-mandated Coronavirus health and safety protocol).
- Limited funding to support in-field research or alternative methodologies for qualifying projects.
Early research findings can be presented at the 7th Frugal Innovation Forum in November 2021 to be attended by over 300 practitioners and researchers from the financial inclusion sector.
The following are minimum requirements to be eligible for the Capstone Research Programme 2021:
- Be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in their final year of study, Graduate program for masters or PhD, or be a recently graduated early-career researcher.
- Be fluent in English. While not required, familiarity with or proficiency in Bangla may be an asset for primary researchers.
- Demonstrate proven promotion of diversity in your work and perspectives.
- Since this Fellowship program is highly competitive, applicants under active consideration may be asked to submit academic records as well as references. BRAC will contact only those applicants who are shortlisted for an interview.
- Applications are open on a rolling basis starting August 1, 2021.
- Interested candidates may apply online. (Please take care to provide required information where indicated). Please note that applications will be kept active in their database for a period of three months. Should you still be interested in Fellowship after three months, you will need to re-apply. Only those identified for an assignment will be contacted to discuss their interest and availability. Candidates are selected by the program and research team on a highly competitive basis.
- Successful applicants will demonstrate a strong understanding of gaps and challenges in financial inclusion in the global South through prior research and/or work experience.
- Application checklist:
- Research proposal (including concept, methodology, analytical framework, timeline and early plan for dissemination)
- Researcher or research team profile (Short bio, LinkedIn profile/Resume)
- Financial proposal (optional)
- Writing samples or links to publications
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