Title: Research Associate

Project: Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED)

Duration: 12 months

Location: Peshawar (or remote depending on candidate suitability)

Reports to: Team Leader

Programme Background

Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) is a £37.5 million programme that aims to support provincial economic development and sustainable energy in Pakistan. It is supporting the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), to plan and finance the infrastructure and investment it needs for growth, jobs and prosperity. The programme is also addressing Pakistan’s energy crisis by providing innovative financial solutions to industry for the adoption of sustainable energy practices. Within SEED, ASI has been contracted to deliver the first component—Improved Economic and Urban Planning in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)—with a budget of £15 million. The outcome of the programme will be public and private investments generate greater economic, social, and environmental returns. The programme is managed by the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).


The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (GoKP) has set up Pakistan’s first nudge unit, The MindLab Behavioral Insights Unit (BIU), within its Finance Department, with assistance from the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) programme. The Finance Department has also notified an Advisory Committee, chaired by the Finance Minister and Finance Secretary, which meets quarterly to provide strategic direction and prioritization to the unit. The Committee also includes national and international academic experts. The unit’s initial focus will be on public financial management and revenue mobilization. The first experiment, on behaviorally informing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority’s tax communication, has been completed in December 2022. Work has now begun on the second experiment with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority (KPRA).

The aim of this project is to support the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority’s (KPRA) efforts to increase tax collection in the province. The challenge for KPRA is to build on its past successes in launching new initiatives, in increasing the tax base by bringing in currently untaxed service providers under the tax net in an efficient manner, and in ensuring effective, timely and transparent enforcement. For this, SEED has partnered with the Mahboob-ul-Haq Research Centre’s Public Finance Cluster. The fellows have the expertise and experience to provide technical assistance and research evidence that can help KPRA achieve the policy goals set for it by the GoKP. This project involves a collaboration of KPRA with group of researchers (from University of Washington and LUMS) who are at the frontier of the theory and practice of public finance. The project currently focuses on the uptake and utilization of electronic point-of-sale devices for tax collection purposes in KP.


To execute the behavioural experiment under the MindLab BIU in collaboration with the technical experts (from University of Washington and LUMS) and relevant GoKP departments (especially KPRA).


The Research Associate will be responsible for the following main tasks:

  • Clean and prepare survey and administrative data provided by KPRA for analytical purposes, establishing the accuracy, completeness, and quality of the data.
  • Establish quality assurance mechanisms for resolving problems and issues in the data.
  • Understand and document the data structure and collection mechanism used by KPRA.
  • Develop and implement data sharing protocols with government partners.
  • Coordinate with government partners as needed to obtain administrative data and troubleshoot data related issues.
  • Conduct data analysis, including both summary statistics and impact analysis.
  • Assist the research team in providing overall strategic direction to the project.
  • Assist the research team to build relationships and coordinate with project stakeholders including the donors, departments in the Government, multilateral organizations, as well as partners in the private and non-profit sectors.
  • Oversee the designing, pilot testing, and conducting any administrative data collection exercise or survey based on discussions with the research team.
  • Provide periodic project updates to the research team or government departments.
  • Handle administrative work including reporting, budgeting and tracking of financials and project activities.
  • Assist the research team in developing project deliverables and knowledge products.
  • Carry out other duties as per the needs of the project.


Full-time; 12 months from March 2023 – March 2024.


The consultant will work closely with the SEED and MHRC core team and will report to the Programme Economist of SEED and Director Public Finance Cluster at MHRC.

Experience & Skills

  • Undergraduate or Master’s degree in Data Science, Economics, Public Policy, or a related discipline.
  • Minimum of 1 year of relevant experience in data analysis and cleaning.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of data management of large datasets as well as data collection, quality checks of data, and presentation of data.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of Python, R, or Stata and willingness and ability to learn more at a fast pace.
  • Willingness to manage fieldwork related to the project.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage various tasks effectively and coordinate between project members.
  • Comfortable with communicating with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
  • Willingness to take on added responsibility as the project progresses.
  • Fluent in English and Urdu.

Values & Obligations

All members of the SEED team are expected to adhere to the following values and obligations:

  • At all times working collaboratively and openly with other members of the SEED team, proactively providing guidance, advice and sharing experiences in order to solve problems, overcome challenges and manage risks together.
  • Freely and openly sharing information gained from government counterparts, FCDO or other international projects with other members of the team.
  • Respecting the confidentiality of the SEED team’s discussions, assessments, decisions and plans or agreements with FCDO; sharing information with external parties only when authorised to do so by the Team Leader or Deputy Team Leader.
  • Adhering to decisions taken by the programme’s leadership and taking collective responsibility for implementing those decisions and communicating them to counterparts or other external parties.
  • Ensuring they have an accurate understanding of policies and decisions made by FCDO that relate to SEED and respecting and adhering to those policies.
  • Complying with the channels set out by ASI for all communications with FCDO through the SEED leadership structure.
  • Careful coordination with other team members of communications and meetings with government counterparts to ensure coherence of technical advice and as efficient use of counterparts’ time as possible.
  • Constant monitoring of risks to the delivery of SEED activities and achievement of objectives, as well as the reputation of SEED and FCDO, and swift referral of those risks to the Team Leader and Deputy Team Leader.
  • Consultants are obliged to look out for, and report human rights abuses known and rumoured to have taken place connected with or undertaken by our counterparts. In the event that consultants gain information about any such abuses they should report the matter in line with the procedure contained in the SEED Human Rights Assessment and Framework document.
  • Professional coordination with other internationally funded programmes supporting SEED, including briefing those programmes when requested by the Team Leader or Deputy Team Leader.
  • Contributing constructively to team meetings, development of workplans, risk assessment, progress reviews and report writing, as well as external evaluations by FCDO or its independent evaluation advisers.
  • Complying with SEED’s media policy of referring all inquiries from the media to the Team Leader and Deputy Leader before responding in any way to those inquiries.
  • Minuting all meetings with officials from FCDO and sharing those minutes with the Team Leader and Deputy Team Leader at the earliest opportunity.
  • Maximising the impact of the programme’s limited resources by ensuring expenditure on travel, accommodation or other costs is as efficient as possible.
  • Complying with financial procedures designed to protect the financial integrity of the programme and notifying the Deputy Team Leader and Project Managers of any incidents that threaten that integrity.
  • Complying with ASI’s Duty of Care and security procedures designed to ensure safety of personnel and notifying the Deputy Team Leader and Project Managers of any incidence that threaten the security of personnel or assets of the programme.

Compliance with Working Policies

  • Consultant(s)/Subcontractor(s) shall observe the highest ethical standards during the performance of Services related to this assignment and must comply and apply business practices that follow the Adam Smith International’s Code of Conduct available at: https://www.adamsmithinternational.com/about-us/policies/code-of-conduct-2018/.
  • Consultant(s)/Subcontractor(s) shall apply zero tolerance to terrorism or the financing of terrorism; bribery or corruption of any kind; human trafficking or modern slavery; safeguarding or child protection breaches, money laundering, fraud, or tax evasion; and discrimination. They shall use reasonable endeavours to give effect to any reasonable request from Adam Smith International to adjust working practices for this purpose or otherwise to promote positive social or environmental impact.

Satisfactory Performance

  • Consultant(s) and subcontractors shall perform all obligations under the contract with necessary skill, diligence, efficiency, and economy to satisfy acceptable professional standards and in accordance with Good Industry Practice and payments are subject to the satisfaction of ASI in relation to the performance by the Consultant(s)/Subcontractors of obligations under this contract.
  • If for any reason ASI is dissatisfied that the Consultant(s)/Subcontractor(s) is not or has not been carrying out their duties, obligations and responsibilities under this contract, an appropriate sum may be withheld from any payment otherwise due to the consultant(s)/subcontractor(s). In such event, ASI shall identify the element(s) of the Services with which it is dissatisfied together with the reasons for such dissatisfaction in coordination with the SEED technical team. Any payment by ASI to the contractor/subcontractor of the amount outstanding will be made upon remedy of any unsatisfactory work or resolution of outstanding queries.
  • Should ASI determine after paying for a particular part of the Services that this has not been completed satisfactorily, ASI may recover, or withhold from further payments, an amount not exceeding that previously charged for that part of the Service until the unsatisfactory part of the service is remedied to its satisfaction

Heard Enough? Ready to Apply? 

Please apply here.

Shortlisted applicants only will be contacted.

Deadline for Applications is 28th February 2023