Research Assistant

Job Description


NRGI Background:  For the one billion people living in poverty in resource-rich countries, the oil, gas and mining sectors have failed to deliver on the promise of better quality of life. Instead of fact-based public debate, populist promises dominate many political systems. Corruption and state capture have spread, and democracy is under threat. Those who demand accountability face harassment and violence. The climate crisis looms large and the transition to green energy risks replicating governance misdeeds in the sector. Unless governance improves, half of the world’s poor will live in resource-rich countries by 2030.

The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) mission is to secure a future where countries rich in oil, gas and minerals achieve sustainable, inclusive development - one where people receive lasting benefits from extractives, and the negative impacts associated with the sector are minimized. Transparency, intelligent data, and capacity building are key tools to delivering impact.  Our international staff of more than 90 country and issue experts, lawyers, economists and governance specialists contribute evidence-based knowledge, advocacy, and technical expertise to make gains for the public good.

Job Overview:   The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) is seeking a research assistant to support the development of a dataset made up of indicators of extractives dependency. The research assistant will be expected to: a) review relevant literature on the measurement of extractives dependency, b) map existing data sources for various indicators related to extractives dependence, c) contribute to discussions on which indicators should be included in the dataset and d) compile in dataset with data for countries of interest using existing sources). Depending on the progress of the project, this consultancy may also include support to analysis of the data collected, with the aim of providing insights on the impacts of resource dependency and how to reduce them and/or diversify out of extractives. 

Consultancy Overview and Timeline

We are looking to develop a set of indicators that measure relevant aspects of extractives dependence and/or provide information on how harmful such dependence is likely to be for a particular country (e.g., economic volatility of resource exports or resource exhaustibility). 

The research assistant will provide general research assistance to the project, on activities including literature review and data mapping, compiling a dataset on extractives dependency and (possibly) analyzing this data. The research assistant will be required to work flexibly on these activities, with frequent interactions with NRGI. NRGI and the research assistant will iterate as the project progresses on the tasks that the research assistant will carry out as to support the aforementioned project activities. NB: phase 1 below will not necessarily be carried out before phase 2 – NRGI will indicate the timing of different tasks to the research assistant.

Phase 1: Literature review and data mappingObjective

NRGI will guide the research assistant on specific literature and data sources to review. This will touch on some or all of the following topics:

  1. What measurements of extractives dependency and its effects have been proposed in the literature?

  2. Where can data on these and other indicators of extractives dependence be found?

  3. Where applicable, if data is not available for all countries/years of interest for this project and the indicators can be calculated based on other available data, how can one calculate these indicators?

  4. What is the quality of data from the various sources from which they are published or can be calculated?

  5. To what extent are the different indicators comparable across time and across countries, etc.?

  6. How much data is available (e.g., how many years of data) for NRGI’s countries of interest?

  7. What do quantitative studies say about either a) how these indicators are affected by policies or other actions, or b) how the variables impact development outcomes of interest?


The research assistant will communicate findings from this exercise to NRGI (NRGI will provide guidance on the type of presentation required). This should include conclusions on which indicators would be suitable for a dataset on extractives dependence that is designed to support both: a better understanding of individual countries’ level of extractives dependence; and analysis of the causes and consequences of extractives dependence (and related factors that contribute to its effects such as commodity price volatility and resource exhaustibility). 

Phase 2: Compile a dataset on extractives dependence

Based on the indicators selected for inclusion in the dataset by NRGI, the research assistant will compile a dataset showing data for these indicators for countries of interest, subject to data availability (NRGI will indicate the specific countries). The research assistant should include a summary of the years and countries for which data is available for particular indicators.

Phase 3: Data Analysis

Depending on the project’s progress, the research assistant may also be asked to carry out data analysis, such as correlation analysis, econometric analysis or producing data visualizations, based on the data collected.


The work is to be undertaken in March, April and May 2021.


Candidates are requested to submit a bid with proposed remuneration (daily or hourly rate) to undertake the consultancy.

There is no allowance for reimbursement of additional expenses incurred during the consultancy outside of the research assistant’s initial proposed fee.

Invoicing: the research assistant will invoice NRGI after completion of their assignments as agreed with NRGI. The research assistant will submit an invoice detailing the number of days worked and a description of services rendered in the period. 

Expected Deliverables

NRGI requires the research assistant to provide the following deliverables:

  1. The research assistant will frequently communicate with NRGI on their findings, with check-in points to be agreed with NRGI during the consultancy.

  2. The research assistant will provide a write-up of their findings from the literature review/data mapping exercise. 

  3. The research assistant will provide a complied dataset as a Microsoft Excel file, containing indicators as agreed with NRGI.

  4. The research assistant may, if agreed with NRGI, provide various data analysis products based on analysis of the dataset in conjunction with other data sources of interest.


NRGI is looking for a research assistant with the following:

Minimum requirements:

  • Holds or is currently studying for a graduate degree (Master’s or PhD) in economics or a closely-related field (e.g. development economics, public administration, public policy, extractives management, development studies, political science). Candidates still studying for their graduate degree should have a strong academic record and, if shortlisted for this consultancy, will be asked to submit a transcript or reference from a faculty member at their university who is responsible for overseeing their studies.

  • Experience in conducting economics/public policy literature reviews

  • Strong understanding of quantitative, empirical research techniques in economics, including evaluation of the impacts of public policies.

  • Able to summarize and synthesize information clearly and concisely.



  • Significant knowledge of indicators of extractives dependence and their strengths and weaknesses

  • Deep familiarity with existing literature on measuring extractives dependence and the causes and/or consequences of extractives dependence

  • Has access to online journals with paywalls (e.g., the candidate may have access through a university or another institution to which they are affiliated)

  • Able to conduct high-quality analysis of macroeconomic panel data 

  • Has access to an econometrics software package (i.e., the research assistant holds a license or knows how to use an econometrics freeware package). 

NB: NRGI is advertising is a second consultancy under this project, for a project advisor. It is possible for the same person to apply for, and to be selected for, this consultancy and the project advisor consultancy, so long as the applicant meets the minimum requirements for both consultancies.

Application Process

Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and will close on 11 February 2021. Applicants should submit a CV and cover letter, including their expected daily or hourly rate.

Short-listed applicants will be invited to have a call with the NRGI team working on this project. Payment will be made for days worked in two instalments, to be agreed with NRGI.

Working Environment: Standard office work environment.

Note: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this role will be home-based for the immediate future.

NRGI’s Values:  NRGI seeks candidates who align with our values:


Maintaining our independence and credibility. Willing to speak truth to power.  Engaging with respect.  Practicing what we preach. Upholding the highest standards of excellence in all we do.


Strategic and selective in approach.  Mindful of context, adapting to changing realities and seizing new opportunities.  Looking critically and openly at what works and what doesn’t, and why.  Integrating that learning into our forward-looking work.  Accountable to our mission, the actors with whom we work and each other. 


Partnering internally and externally to affect change.  Capitalizing on NRGI’s comparative advantage. Valuing teamwork, diversity and inclusion.  Working with different stakeholders and across different stakeholder groups.  Commitment to building the field and inspiring others to act.


Commitment to social justice.  Prudently optimistic that we can and will shift entrenched power dynamics.  Dedication, creativity and resiliency in the fact of obstacles.  Investing in change makers and strengthening NRGI.


Technical competence, intellectual leadership and commitment to quality.  Generating and leveraging the evidence base.  Interrogating our work.  Innovation and initiative to push the boundaries of our field.

NRGI is an Equal Opportunity Employer. NRGI considers all applicants based on merit without regard to race, gender, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Your privacy is important to us and we are committed to collecting, processing, storing and destroying all information in accordance with the GDPR, UK data protection laws and the NRGI Privacy policy.  Please note that only successful candidates will be contacted.

***No recruiters or agencies, please***

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