Research Consultant:

Project on the Quality of Life in Indian Slums



A research team from the University of Chicago seeks to hire a Research Consultant to manage a multifaceted research project on slums taking place in several cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. The "Quality of Life in Indian Slums" Project is an interdisciplinary research project that aims to understand migration to, governance of, and housing in slums across India. This project is led by Professors Anup Malani (UChicago Law School), Adam Chilton (UChicago Law School) and Austin Wright (UChicago Harris School of Public Policy). The Research Consultant will be responsible for overseeing a team of four research assistants conducting qualitative research in slums in four to six different cities, managing quantitative surveys taking place in Mumbai and surrounding rural areas, supervising a drone survey and purchase of satellite imagery to determine slum boundaries and construction, and overseeing all other aspects of field research. The Research Consultant will assist with developing and maintaining relationships with partner NGOs, academic institutions, and government entities. The Research Constulant will manage ongoing data collection as well as scoping future phases of the research project. The Research Consultant will gain experience with working on an international, interdisciplinary research team and develop skills in designing and executing rigorous social scientific research.

This is a position at the University of Chicago Trust. The University of Chicago Trust is a charitable trust in India, established by The University of Chicago, to provide Indian citizens residing in India an avenue to support University of Chicago education and research projects in India. The position is a one-year contract with possibility for extention, located in Delhi. Applicants must be willing to travel frequently.


Oversee team of research assistants conducting qualitative research in slums across India.

  • Act as direct supervisor for a team of four research assistants conducting long-term (4-6 months) ethnographic research in cities including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bangalore
  • Conduct regular calls and in-person visits to oversee data collection
  • Work with US-based research manager to provide resources and support to research assistants as necessary
  • Facilitate scoping research sites in slums that provide productive comparisons based on characteristics including population, degree of migration, historical tenure, and government regulation
  • Participate in developing shared research protocols for participant observation and semi-structured interviews in collaboration with other members of research team
  • Oversee and advise on research assistants' ongoing analysis of ethnographic data
  • Oversee bi-weekly or monthly reporting from research assistants to the rest of the research team
  • Support research assistants in assessing community needs to identify opportunities for research project to provide meaningful opportunities and/or resources to interlocutors, for example by organizing skills training workshops
  • Participate in regular calls and meetings with international research team, including research assistant as well as US-based principal investigators and research manager

Manage ongoing survey work, help prepare for future phases of survey work, and monitor survey work in the field as necessary.

  • Act as primary on-the-ground contact for ongoing quantitative and qualitative surveying in Mumbai
  • Lead preparations for future phases of survey work, including assessing data collection firms, facilitating contract negotiations, overseeing survey piloting, and scoping survey locations in Mumbai and in rural areas from which migrants to Mumbai may have originated
  • Act as external monitor during surveying to ensure high data quality
  • Address any problems that arise in data collection in consultation with research team
  • Ensure organized record maintenance for institutional knowledge purposes
  • Remain flexible and responsive to shift research design as the project develops and per the guidance of the Primary Investigators
  • Coordinate the purchase or gathering of secondary data sets (e.g., Census and NSSO) on the welfare of slums

Supervise a drone surveys and satellite imagery of slums 

  • Facilitate contract negotiations with a drone survey company
  • Monitor the work of the drone survey company to ensure the quality of survey work
  • Identify additional sites for conduct of further drone surveys
  • Coordinate drone surveys with purchase of satellite imagery to validate/learn from drone surveys
  • Assist with hiring local data scientists to help analyze drone, satellite and quantitative data

Support existing and new relationships with NGOs, academic institutions, and government entities in order to build a network of collaborative partnerships and maximize the impact of this research.

  • Lead in-country relationship-building with NGOs, academic institions, government entities, and  individuals in order to build buy-in for partnerships and identify areas of shared interest where this research can contribute to broader impact
  • Arrange meetings, seminars, and conferences on an as-needed basis in order to develop and disseminate research results
  • Contribute to producing writing materials such as policy briefs and research summaries to disseminate research results


  • A bachelor's degree or higher in social sciences or related fields required, master's or doctoral degree preferred
  • Previous experience managing research projects
  • 2-3 years' experience preferred
  • Experience with collaborative teams preferred
  • Fluency and excellent communication skills in English and Hindi required 


  • Excellent research methods skills, preferably across quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Familiarity with GIS or prior work with satellite or drone data is a plus
  • Excellent organizational skills and strong attention to detail
  • Excellent skills in managing small teams
  • Flexibility to manage shifts in research direction and dynamic research outcomes
  • Ability to critically synthesize information and distill key points 
  • Self-motivation, reliability, and the ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently as a team player
  • Ability to take initiative, problem solve with minimal supervision, exercise good judgment, prioritize, and make independent decisions 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • Must be willing to travel to research project locations throughout India 
  • Must be willing to work occasional hours on nights or weekends in case of events or as required to collaborate with international research team

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample (2-3 pages) by email to Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.