As a researcher at LIRNEasia, Nirmali was primarily involved in research exploring the demand for ICTs among low-income earners or the BOP. Her areas of focus were on examining the use of mobiles for sending remittances between migrant workers and their families at home as well as the significant decline in the use of public phones and the corresponding uptake of mobile telephony. Before joining LIRNEasia, Nirmali interned at the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, the country’s leading economic policy think-tank. She has also worked as a part-time field researcher for Nielsen Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, where she was involved in various quantitative and qualitative projects both in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Nirmali holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Management with First Class Honors from the London School of Economics, University of London (External). She left LIRNEasia in May 2011 to pursue a master’s degree in public policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore. Her current profile can be viewed here.
Nirmali graduated from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), of the National University of Singapore in July 2013, where she followed a two-year master’s degree in public policy with a specialization in economic policy. While Nirmali is not currently employed, she says her work at LIRNEasiahas strongly influenced her decision to apply to LKYSPP.
“I credit the diverse experiences I had, and the many opportunities I was given at LIRNEasia, to make presentations at conferences and to publish in journals, as having directly influenced my decision to apply to LKYSPP, and be offered a full scholarship by LKYSPP,” says Nirmali.
Her subsequent internship at INSEAD eLab, a research centre based in Singapore, focusing on IT-based competitiveness, innovation and leadership, says Nirmali, was also indirectly influenced by her work at LIRNEasia. Nirmali joined LIRNEasia as a Research Intern, in October 2007 and worked at LIRNEasia until May 2011. During this period she was mainly involved in exploring the demand for ICTs among low-income earners, or the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP), where she examined how migrant workers use mobile phones to send remittances to their families at home, and the rising trend of mobile telephony that was replacing the use of public phones. These research activities resulted in a number of research papers and publications under Nirmali’s name. She was also involved in the ‘Mobile Benchmarks’ project where mobile phone charges across South Asia and some Southeast Asian countries, were examined.
“I left LIRNEasia in 2011 to begin my master’s at LKYSPP, and I think my work at LIRNEasia, a public policy think-tank, gave me an edge when applying to graduate schools and being accepted by LKYSPP,” says Nirmali. Meanwhile, a student profile booklet published by LKYSPP resulted in Nirmali being offered an internship at eLab. “The student profile booklet stated that I was involved in conducting ICT policy research while at LIRNEasia. Having read this information, my present supervisor contacted me and offered me the opportunity of interning at eLab during the summer of 2012,” says Nirmali.
“So yes, I definitely think my time at LIRNEasia directly contributed not only towards my professional growth, but also towards my overall educational and personal growth as well,” she says.