Lead Researcher, Agriculture Commission

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Chicago, ILLINOIS
Job Type: FullTime


Becker Friedman Institute – Development Innovation Lab

About the Department

Founded and led by Nobel laureate and Faculty Director, Professor Michael Kremer, the Development Innovation Lab (DIL) is an affiliate of the Development Economics Center at the University of Chicago. Formally inaugurated in the spring of 2022, DIL brings researchers of various fields together with governments, firms and non-profits to use the tools of economics to identify, test, refine and scale innovations with the potential to benefit millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) works with the Chicago Economics community to turn its evidence-based research into real-world impact. BFI takes a unique approach to bridging the divide between academic researchers and decision-makers in the business community and government by translating and packaging the rigorous work of the Chicago Economics community into accessible formats, and proactively sharing those findings with relevant decision-makers and thought leaders around the globe. BFI is a collaborative platform serving the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School. For more information visit https://bfi.uchicago.edu.

Job Summary

The Development Innovation Lab (DIL) at the University of Chicago is seeking full-time Lead Researchers to lead development economics research projects across DIL, including in sectors such as education, agriculture, and health.


  • Leads the research and evidence synthesis work of the Agriculture Commission, including working with an existing team to identify proven innovations which can assist low and middle income countries in addressing climate change and ensuring food security. This work will include getting input form top economists in the field, writing research summaries, and sharing lessons with high-level policymakers.
  • Identifies, develops and manages research projects, including contributing to existing DIL research projects and developing new research projects. Researches priorities will be set in conversation with the Faculty Director. Travels as necessary to support project scoping and development.
  • Provides input on cross-cutting lab activities or DIL public goods as required.
  • Provides expertise to researchers on compliance of research activities with institutional, state, and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives and mandates.
  • Provides expertise to researchers and research support staff. Oversees activities related to data collection and analysis.
  • Improves financial, personnel, planning, compliance and other administrative aspects of research project. Collaborates with other researchers on long-range plans for research projects. Leads, investigates, modifies and applies new procedures, techniques or applications of technology. Establishes goals and operating procedures, practices, and guidelines.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • PhD in economics or related field.
  • PhD level training in the methods of economics.


  • Prior experience working on randomized evaluations, development economics research, and/or public policy in developing countries.
  • Knowledge of and experience running randomized control trials.
  • Experience with economic research on agriculture.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to stay organized on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Curiosity and interest in climate change, biosecurity (including pandemic preparedness).
  • Project management skills: Ability to plan tasks for teams, monitor progress, make corrections to plans.
  • Team player with good problem-solving and time management skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills as well as written and oral communication skills
  • Work under pressure and meet deadlines.

Preferred Competencies

  • Proven record of writing and publishing rigorous evaluations.
  • Ability to manage a team of research staff and draft evidence-based policy documents.

Working Conditions

  • Perform tasks mostly indoors in an office setting.
  • Work independently for periods of eight (8) hours or more.
  • Some travel to low and middle income countries.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)
  • References Contact Information (3) (required)
  • Work sample (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST  be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

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Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


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Posting Statement

Employees must comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward .
The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.


Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.


We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.


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