Research Fellows Program

The Center for Financial Inclusion's (CFI) Research Fellows Program was created to encourage independent researchers and analysts to examine some of the most important challenges in the financial inclusion arena. Fellows will enter the program as either CFI Research Fellows or Accion Research Fellows, depending on their focus. Each Fellow will conduct research, analysis, or writing on a topic of high importance to financial inclusion and will produce a paper to be published by the CFI or Accion.

  • CFI Fellows will conduct forward-looking analysis of major factors that will enable or hamper achievement of full financial inclusion.
  • Accion Research Fellows will conduct research on work of Accion and its partners to examine its effectiveness and extract lessons for the financial inclusion sector.

CFI and Accion are seeking responses to a set of priority topics (see below). These topics are broad enough to leave a great deal of room for researchers to propose specific sub-topics and research approaches, but all submissions must respond to one of the four proposed areas. We anticipate selecting one Fellow for each topic. A total of four Fellows will be selected in this round.

One Fellow will be selected to recieve the Credit Suisse Fellowship. The Credit Suisse Fellow will receive additional opportunities for dissemination of results through Credit Suisse networks.

All Fellows will receive:

  • Listing on Accion or CFI websites, respectively, with photo and bio throughout the duration of their tenure as Fellows, generally between 4 and 12 months; (designated as junior fellow, fellow or senior fellow, depending on seniority).
  • Access to CFI or Accion staff, as agreed, for consultation, research and interviews.
  • Access to Accion data (for Accion Fellows) as agreed in advance for use in their research.
  • Use of CFI office space on an occasional basis as needed to support the work.
  • CFI and Accion will prepare finished papers for publication and disseminate the final products through their existing channels of promotion and marketing, including blog- or video-based interviews and blogging opportunities.
  • Support to help researchers move their findings toward action by relevant stakeholders.
  • Compensation appropriate for scope of assignment and fellows’ level of seniority.
  • Reimbursement for limited travel expenses to conduct and/or present research.

Obligations of Fellows:

  • Complete high-quality research and paper in an agreed time frame.
  • Respect confidentiality of internal information acquired during the fellowship.
  • Use own computer and communications.
  • Check in regularly with CFI staff regarding progress and content of work.
  • Submit near-final version of paper for review by CFI and selected external reviewers.
  • Present findings in at least two events organized by CFI or Accion.

Fellows will be selected by an inter-departmental review committee on the basis of three equally weighted criteria as expressed in their proposals. Both junior and senior-level applicants will be considered.

Criteria for selection include:

  • Approach to the topic and framing of research questions
  • Quality and feasibility of research plan
  • Prior related experience and record of producing influential analytic work

For application guidelines and further information, please review the program flyer.

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