Putting evidence at the heart of policy debate

Work with Us 2021-03-29T13:00:49+08:00

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) is an independent research institute committed to promoting research-backed solutions to public policy challenges.

We take pride in our dynamic team. At IDEAS we believe in a flat hierarchy where everyone from interns to employees can make valuable contributions to our work. We believe in being knowledge-driven, transparent, collaborative and autonomous. We foster our employee’s natural curiosity and encourage innovation in our organisation.

Do you share our passion in wanting to promote and develop better public policies in Malaysia?  Do you want to influence politicians, corporate captains, the media and the wider public?  If yes, then come and join us. To know more about the leadership in IDEAS, please see this page.

List of vacancy:

IDEAS is seeking to expand our Economics and Business Unit (EBU) and are therefore recruiting for a Research Manager to lead the Unit. EBU is one of IDEAS four research teams, with the mission of advancing a competitive economy in Malaysia. EBU engages on many different areas of work in topics vital to Malaysia’s national interest and is constantly in demand for comment and analysis from the media and other stakeholders. Working in EBU represents an opportunity to work in a challenging, rewarding, and high-profile role, contributing towards some of Malaysia’s most important policy debates. Recent and ongoing research projects include assessing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on SMEs, identifying priorities for ASEAN integration, and estimating the economic impact of CPTPP membership on Malaysia’s economy.

This is the job advert for the Research Manager. We are also recruiting a Senior Executive / Executive for the EBU team. For that application, please refer to the separate job ad. Please indicate clearly which position you are applying for.

Responsibilities of the Role

  • Lead the economic research agenda for IDEAS, including identifying strategic economic issues for potential research projects and building relationships with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure IDEAS research delivers the desired impact.
  • Manage the EBU team to deliver projects on time and to a high standard and develop talent of permanent staff.
  • Develop project proposals and identify potential funders for priority projects.
  • Represent the organisation externally, including in the media, to a wide range of audiences and stakeholders, promoting the findings of IDEAS economics research.
  • Work across unit boundaries to identify research synergies and support research and advocacy projects within IDEAS other units.
  • As part of IDEAS management, support the overall development of the  of the organisation.

Ideal Candidate Profile

  • Advanced education and/or professional experience in economics.
  • Experience of research in academia, government, research institute or consulting firm.
  • In depth experience and understanding of at least one of EBU’s priority research areas, such as international trade, business regulation, energy or taxation.
  • Experience in a leadership role, including management of teams delivering complex and varied projects.
  • Knowledge of and familiarity with a range of econometric tools and data programs (e.g. STATA).
  • Experience with fundraising, including grant writing and / or business development.
  • Broader knowledge and understanding of Malaysia’s economic challenges and demonstrated ability to quickly grasp the range of topics covered by EBU.
  • Experience of communication, including presentations to large audiences and senior stakeholders and media experience would be an asset.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public life in Malaysia and understanding of the mission and values of IDEAS.



  • Ability to identify impactful research questions that meet public policy priorities and develop conceptual frameworks that guide analysis.
  • Confidence in the use of different analytical tools for economic research and understanding of how to develop research methodologies to suit the research question and available resources.


  • Understanding of the political context of IDEAS work and ability to deploy IDEAS research to influence a range of stakeholders.
  • Ability to transform technical information into engaging content in a range of formats, suitable for both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Ability to communicate fluently in both Malay and and English.


  • Strong management skills, including people management, budget-setting, and financial and performance management.
  • Strong project management skills with a track-record of successful delivery of major research or strategic development projects.


  • Ability to provide clear direction and priorities to team and to organise teamwork to encourage cooperation and bring together complementary skills/expertise.
  • Ability to lead peers and external stakeholders to achieve project outcomes.


RM 6,500 – 8,000 based on experience and prior qualifications.

Selection Process

1. Application

  1. CV. Starting with your current or last employer, list all the employers (both paid and unpaid) you have worked for. Provide the job title and the period you worked for them. Briefly describe the main duties of the post and provide key achievements in bullet form. Summarise education and formal training and detail any professional training you have undertaken.
  2. Personal statement. This is the most important part of your application. You have to make a case here for Do not repeat your career history. Refer to the person specification, drawing out the skills and abilities you have developed, giving examples. In considering your experience, remember all your previous work and draw on this to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills. Do not forget other relevant experience outside work that may contribute to meeting the person specification, such as community, voluntary, leisure and other interests. Describe any relevant skills this experience has helped you develop. Remember, it is your skills and abilities relevant to this job that we are looking for. Please focus on how you meet the essential criteria in the person specification.
  3. Send your applications to Siti Nurbaiyah Nadzmi, Chief Operating Officer at by 15 February 2021 with the above attachments. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

2. Shortlisted Candidates

  1. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to make a 7-minute presentation to the interviewing panel on the following: Based on your knowledge of IDEAS work and the current state of the economy, which are the economic policies (up to 3) which you believe IDEAS should research and advocate for? Candidates will be expected to provide a persuasive argument for the chosen policies and comment on how IDEAS should go about trying to influence other stakeholders, including the government and public. Candidates are welcome to identify policies in areas which IDEAS already works on, or to suggest new areas. The presentation should be around 7 minutes in length and will be followed by questions from the panel.
  2. The presentation will be followed by an interview which will centre on the candidate profile described above. Candidates will be invited to give evidence that they meet the expectations in terms of (i) experience and (ii) competencies required for this role.

3. Selection of Successful Candidate

  1. The candidate that is able to best satisfy the above criteria in both experience and competencies will be will be selected.