BBC Media Action Vacancy for Research Lead /Principal Investigator. India

Job Title: Research Lead / Principle Investigator

Location: India (Delhi desirable – but location within India is flexible)

Special Requirements: This contract will be a local hire in India. BBC Media Action is prepared to sponsor an employment visa for a suitable international candidate, if required.

Reports to: Project Director, India / Technical Line Manager: Head of research, London

Contract duration: 3 years

Salary: Competitive salary (depending on qualification and experience)

How to apply: Email Sonia Whitehead, Head of Research, BBC Media Action at [email protected] and the Digital Director in India, Sara Chamberlain on: [email protected] to indicate your interest in this position or with any questions about the position.

Closing date: 10 July 2019



BBC Media Action is the independent international charity of the BBC, which uses media to advance development worldwide. In India, we’ve been using media and communications to improve health, resilience and rights since 1999. BBC Media Action has increasingly harnessed the power of mobile technology for social and behaviour change communications, including the multi-award winning Mobile Kunji, Mobile Academy and Kilkari mHealth services (, two of which are being scaled nationally by the Government of India. BBC Media Action has also worked extensively on gender empowerment issues in the country.

The role of digital in strengthening women’s empowerment collectives in India

BBC Media Action is seeking a principle investigator for a three-year research and learning project on how digital technology can accelerate women’s economic empowerment in India by strengthening women’s empowerment collectives. The role will be supported by consultancy from international academic partners with expertise in social network analysis, artificial intelligence and grass roots women’s collectives. It will also be supported by consultancy from experts in India on self-help groups and their federations, and on women’s economic empowerment and labour rights.

Research activities 

The scope of work includes:

1)    Commission and oversee a literature review of existing digital interventions for WEE and WECs.

2)    Work with the project director to convene an advisory group of domestic and international experts to guide the project.

3)    Work with BBC Media Action’s international academic partners and domestic experts to design a mixed method quantitative and qualitative study, consisting of:

  1. Qualitative research to design the sampling frame and to identify groups and their wider structures to study.
  2. A quantitative survey in 3-4 states to identify and quantify levels of digital literacy among WEC members, groups and their wider structures. The survey will also map WEC members’ personal and professional social networks at high level to identify key digital influencers and gatekeepers.
  3. Qualitative research: building on the findings of the quantitative research, conduct quantitative research to further study WECs’ professional and personal social networks (digital and real world) to understand the barriers and drivers of digital adoption among WECs, their existing digital use cases and digital aspirations.
  4. Design research: design and implement face to face user-testing with WECs to iteratively develop paper-based and audio-visual prototypes designed by BBC Media Action’s programmatic, creative, and digital teams in response to the results of the qualitative and quantitative research. Also design and get rapid digital and phone-based to get feedback from respondents on digital use cases.
  5. Analysis and dissemination of research results throughout the life cycle of the project to organizations working in the WEE and WEC domain to develop execution strategies and plans. This will involve working with BBC Media Action’s creative team to accessibly articulate and communicate research results.

Job Purpose

This post will work with BBC Media Action’s cross organisational, multidisciplinary project team – consisting of members of digital and creative teams in Delhi and research and learning team in London – to ensure that research is conducted to meet the needs of the project and is delivered according to agreed milestones.  This position will be responsible for managing and technically overseeing the research outlined above. This role will report to the Director, Digital in India and will require regular travel within India.

The post will:

  1. Work with BBC Media Action’s Research and Learning team in London, international academic partners, domestic experts and a multi-disciplinary project team at BBC Media Action to design the research, including the sampling frame, research instruments and approaches to analysis.
  2. Secure the necessary IRB approvals to conduct the research.
  3. Recruit a quantitative research lead (one-year contract), and quantitative and qualitative support (freelancers/consultants/post cods).
  4. Procure qualitative and quantitative research agencies in India to conduct the field research.
  5. Manage the quantitative research lead, consultants, freelancers and the agencies conducting the research.
  6. Work with the project director to convene and manage a technical advisory board to review and input into the research.
  7. Lead the analysis of the research, in collaboration with BBC Media Action’s R&L team in London and academic partners.
  8. Work with the creative team to design strategies and approaches to effectively communicating the results of the research internally, and to external stakeholders including the donor, and organizations working in the WEE and WEC domain to develop execution strategies and plansthroughout the lifecycle of the project.
  9. Work with a multi-disciplinary project team in BBC Media Action to support the design of new digital use cases for WECs.
  10. Conduct design research to get rapid-cycle, iterative feedback on use cases. 

Required skills, knowledge and experience:

This position requires a strong researcher, experienced in operating in a development context. The successful candidate will have strong qualitative research and research management skills and experience of managing stakeholder relationships (internal and external), procurement and management of research agencies, budget management and ability to design and communicate actionable research. This role also requires a strong understanding of quantitative research to manage a quantitative research lead.

Specifically the post will require:

  1. At least 8 years working experience in social/market/academic research.
  2. Proven ability to design, conduct, analyse and report technically strong and effective research.
  3. Quick thinker with the ability to multi-task and problem-solve.
  4. Experience of recruiting and managing researchers and consultants.
  5. Experience of procuring research agencies.
  6. Experience of managing and supervising fieldwork teams to ensure quality.
  7. Demonstrated skills in interviewing and moderating groups to understand the audience effectively.
  8. Experience of working with academics to conduct and review research.
  9. Excellent written and verbal communications skills in English and experience of writing reports and papers for a variety of audiences.
  10. Proven ability to manage a complex and demanding workload.

Desirable skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Experience of conducting research on gender related issues.
  • Experience of conducting qualitative research with women in rural and urban populations in India
  • Experience of conducting research on mobile phone access, usage and digital interventions.
  • Experience of understanding group dynamics and network analysis.
  • Experience overseeing quantitative research and managing a research agency.
  • A PhD in a related discipline.

The Research Lead/Principal Investigator will be expected to sign the BBC’s conflict of interest declaration and keep it up-to-date. S/he may from time-to-time be asked to take on extra responsibilities by the Director, Digital