Call for Applications for NCAER-NDIC Data Innovation Fellowship

The NCAER-NDIC Data Innovation fellows will have an opportunity to participate in a network for Fellows, researchers, and practitioners to hone their skills, and network with individuals with shared interests. The Fellows will:

  • Write an 8-page brief exploring measurement challenges and innovations in substantive domains of their interest.
  • Participate in monthly web-based discussions around data and evidence-related challenges covering key domains of policy interest.
  • Attend a two day Workshop at NCAER in New Delhi where they will present their work and have an opportunity to interact with national and international scholars working in the field of survey methodology.
  • Be part of a network of young and established researchers working with survey data and designing new surveys.

This is a non-residential program designed for early career scholars. Ph.D. students and individuals who obtained Ph.D. in 2018 or later in any social science field or data sciences with a social data focus are eligible to apply.

The Fellowship will be for a year starting from July 1, 2023. While this fellowship is limited to Indian residents, relocation to Delhi is not required. We particularly seek to enhance geographical and gender diversity in the network.

Measurement Brief:
Key output of this program will be a high-quality measurement brief that will address some domains of human development, broadly defined. For example, it may explore consistencies and inconsistencies in existing data, evaluate the applicability of international methodologies to the Indian context, or propose new data collection methodologies. While not exhaustive, the topics below provide examples of the types of research we envision:

  • Quality of nutritional outcomes in Indian surveys
  • Measurement of learning outcomes
  • Definition and measurement of urbanization
  • Measurement of women’s labor force participation
  • Measurement of access to and usage of health insurance
  • Definition of migration and methodologies for measuring it
  • Definition and measurement of household/ household composition
  • Collecting information on age and age-related life events
  • Gender, caste, class, and region bias in data collection
  • Measurement and capture of government programmes and their beneficiaries through surveys

On submission of a high-quality measurement brief, the Fellows will receive a payment of Rs. 50,000.

Application Process:

            Send your application to by June 1, 2023. Application materials include:

  1. A 2-page concept note defining the measurement challenge the proposed brief seeks to address, potential approach, and data. No new data collection may be proposed, although pre-testing of questionnaires is permissible.
  2. CV
  3. One writing sample – a paper or a dissertation chapter.
  4. Names of 2 referees who can be contacted for short-listed applicants.

Short-listed applicants will be interviewed via Zoom and selected Fellows will be notified by June 21, 2023. We anticipate awarding 8-10 fellowships.

The NCAER National Data Innovation Centre was set up in December 2017 to promote innovation and excellence in data collection and build research capacity to strengthen the data ecosystem in India. The NDIC is envisaged as a hub for providing expertise to policymakers, government statistical agencies and private data collection agencies. NDIC is pursuing three primary goals:

(1) To pilot innovative data collection methods and mainstream successful pilots into more extensive data collection efforts;

(2) To impart formal and informal training to a new generation of data scientists; and

(3) To serve as a resource for data stakeholders, including Government data agencies and ministries.

NDIC is experimenting with survey instruments and modes of data collection to address shortcomings in existing approaches. Other capacity-building activities that enable NDIC to serve as a key partner in India’s evolving data infrastructure include regular workshops and lectures addressing critical issues related to statistical data collection. India Human Development Survey (IHDS) research programme is housed within NDIC.

About NCAER:
Established in 1956, NCAER is India’s oldest and largest independent, non-profit economic policy research institute. NCAER’s work cuts across many sectors, including growth, macro, trade, infrastructure, logistics, labour, urban, agriculture and rural development, human development, poverty, and consumers. NCAER’s work focuses on generating and analysing empirical evidence to support and inform policy choices. It is also one of a handful of think tanks globally that combine rigorous analysis and policy outreach with deep data collection capabilities, especially for household surveys. More on NCAER is available at

NDIC Presence at the PAA Annual Conference

NDIC team members were conspicuous by their presence at the 2022 Population Association of America (PAA) Annual Conference. NDIC Deputy Director Santanu Pramanik organised and chaired a session on COVID-19 vaccination. Pallavi Choudhuri, Senior Fellow, NCAER, presented her work on “Impact of COVID-19 on Household Economic Status in India” in an oral presentation session. Debasis Barik, Fellow, NCAER, organised and chaired a session on Social Institutions and Population Health. This session also included Pallavi Choudhuri as the discussant. Other NDIC team members, Ruchi Jain, Reem Ashraf, Sumiran Chandra, and Abhinav Motheram presented their excellent work through posters. The poster by Ruchi Jain and Charu Jain on “Empirical Investigations on Causes and Implications of Chronic Absenteeism Behaviour on Well-being of Primary School Students in India”, has won a PAA 2022 Poster Award! Last but not the least, PAA President Professor Sonalde Desai participated as a distinguished expert in a panel discussion on “The Role the Demographic Community Must Play in Supporting Democracy, Equity, and Human Rights in the United States and around the World”.







NDIC Deputy Director Presents at SRC Faculty Seminar

Santanu Pramanik, Senior Fellow at NCAER and Deputy Director of NDIC, presented on “Statistical validation of a large-scale web survey during the COVID-19 pandemic in India” at the University of Michigan, Survey Research Centre Faculty Seminar. This was a joint work with Abhinav Motheram, Research Analyst, NCAER-NDIC and Soumi Roy Chowdhury, ex colleague at NCAER.

Using data from the COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey (CTIS) from India, the largest public health web survey, the authors examine the bias in the estimates of vaccine uptake, a population measure which changes rapidly with time. Their findings show that the bias in CTIS estimates of vaccine uptake is not constant over time, rather it increases up to a certain point of time and then decreases. Since the absence of independently verified ‘ground truth’ or ‘gold standard’ for assessing bias in surveys is well acknowledged, they discuss the need for statistical representativeness of web surveys with respect to key demographic characteristics of respondents, which are often correlated with many outcome variables.

New Appointments of NDIC Director, Professor Sonalde Desai

Dr Sonalde Desai, Professor at NCAER, who holds a joint appointment at University of Maryland, USA, has recently been appointed as Distinguished University Professor (DUP) at the University. DUP status is a permanent honorific title that recognises exceptional records in research, teaching, and service.
Dr Desai has also been appointed to the Committee on Population of the National Academy of Sciences based in Washington, D.C. In addition, she has been elected as President of the Population Association of America (PAA) for 2022

Launch of Gender Data Hub by NDIC

The NCAER National Data Innovation Centre (NDIC) has launched a gender data hub, supported by a five-year grant from Co-Impact. This hub will focus on research supporting evidence-based policy design from a gender perspective. It will serve as a resource for researchers, policy-makers, civil society representatives, and journalists by undertaking gender-focused analyses of data in areas of livelihoods, health, education, and family formation. The activities undertaken by this hub will include enhancing access to data collected by NCAER, visiting fellowships for practitioners and researchers, and seminars addressing strategies for incorporating a gender lens in data collection processes. Sonalde Desai, Professor, NCAER and Centre Director, NDIC, and Pallavi Choudhuri, Senior Fellow, NCAER, will lead this initiative.