CFI Fellows Program

The CFI Fellows Program generates research on some of the most pressing questions facing financial inclusion. Launched in July 2015, the program encourages independent researchers and analysts to systematically examine challenges critical to the future of how customers at the base of the economic pyramid engage with financial services. Each fellow researches, analyzes, workshops, writes, and presents over the course of a fellowship that lasts for up to one year.

The program operates on a one year cycle. In July, CFI releases a list of what it sees as the most relevant questions to financial inclusion. Prospective fellows prepare proposals in response to these questions. A multi-disciplinary committee reviews these proposals and selects fellows based on their approach to the topic and framing of the central research question, the quality and feasibility of the research plan, and prior related experience and record of producing influential analytic work. Fellows come from a range of geography, seniority, and subject matter expertise. The program is housed within the Center for Financial Inclusion, and is made possible by financial support from FMO and Accion.

Research Topics

In the last few years, the Fellows Program has covered some of the big questions in financial inclusion including the challenges and opportunities for mobile financial services in deepening financial inclusion, the role of human touch in digital financial services in India and Kenya, the landscape of responsible online credit, and the vulnerabilities in digital credit systems. The Program will continue to produce timely research on these important financial inclusion topics, focusing on APIs, e-invoicing, financial health for employees, and financial services for health needs.T

We look forward to continuing the work that has emerged from this program, and facilitates the generation of insights that will advance financial inclusion around the world.

Past Fellows  
Alexis Beggs Olsen  Justyna Pytkowska
Amy Jensen Mowl Leon Perlman
Christy Stickney Misha Sharma and Shreya Chatterjee
Guy Stuart Patrick Traynor
John Owens  

Contact Us

For questions about the program or application process, please contact Tess Johnson at tjohnson@accion.org.

To submit a proposal or receive regular updates on ongoing research, please visit: bit.ly/FellowsUpdate.

To learn more about the CFI Fellows program, visit the full site: bit.ly/CFI-Fellows.

Download our information sheet to learn more

Download