JOE Listings (Job Openings for Economists)

August 1, 2022 - January 31, 2023

The University of Chicago-Becker Friedman Institute

This listing is inactive.
Development Innovation Lab
Initiative Director - Agriculture

JOE ID Number: 2022-02_111471351
Date Posted: 01/17/2023
Date Inactive: 01/31/2023
Position Title/Short Description
Title: Initiative Director - Agriculture
Section: Full-Time Nonacademic
Location: Chicago, Illinois, UNITED STATES
JEL Classification: O3 -- Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
Full Text of JOE Listing:

Job Summary

DIL at the University of Chicago is seeking a full-time Director to set up and lead our initiative on agriculture and to lead research efforts for the Commission on Innovation for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture, one of DIL’s flagship projects. The Commission will convene former heads of state and ministers of finance to address challenges at the intersection of climate change, food security, and agriculture. The Commission will assess innovations that could provide social benefits, but are currently underfunded and propose institutional mechanisms that promote the development and scaling of innovations.

The Director will work closely with DIL Faculty Director and Commission Chair, Michael Kremer, the Commission Secretariat Director, Paul Winters, and the rest of the DIL leadership to establish and lead this new agricultural initiative within DIL. The Director will be responsible for strategy for the initiative, high-level relationship building, research project development and management, financial and grant management, and program and donor development. To be successful they will need to have strong experience working in development economics research, be a highly dynamic and analytical individual who can excel in a diverse set of responsibilities from working with partners to developing research designs to translating academic research into policy and implementation recommendations.

The Director will play a key role within the Commission Secretariat providing leadership in guiding the research agenda of the Commission as the Secretariat’s Research Director. The Commission will convene an Advisory Board of some of the world’s leading economists and other researchers, and the Director will work closely with these academics to build and coordinate innovation teams to advance the development and scale-up of promising innovations. The Director will also directly lead in the writing of key reports with the Commission. The Director will serve as a bridge between leading researchers and senior policymakers.


• Identifies, develops, and manages research projects, with travel as necessary to support project development and set-up.
• Designs and executes strategies to enable scaling of relevant innovations through partners.
• Builds relationships with key partners in governments, NGOs, foundations, and multilateral aid agencies.
• Leads global and local dissemination and policy outreach for the initiative, with a view to scaling up insights from the research.
• Leads the writing of key reports for the Commission on Innovation for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture.
• Coordinates the work of research teams led by innovation leads and collaborates with innovation leads in the writing of papers to be included in the final report.
• Conducts and manages broader research on issues relevant to the Commission.
• Leads empirical analysis on topics relevant to the Commission.
• Hires and manages staff to meet the Initiative's goals.
• Spearheads fundraising and grant writing efforts to support core initiative activities.
• Ensures smooth administration of the Program, including financial and administrative oversight, project management, and grant reporting.
• Coordinates and collaborates with other initiative leads as required.
• Provides input on cross-cutting lab activities as required and requested by the Executive Director or Faculty Director at Development Innovation Lab.
• Recruira pre- and post-doctoral fellows.
• Collaborates on research design.
• Develops lab strategy and plans.
• Collaborates with the larger Development Economics Center at the University of Chicago including with the Weiss Fund for Development Economics.
• Collaborates across policy or research activities, especially where there is crossover or common partners between initiatives.
• Develops goals and operating procedures, practices, and guidelines for research activity based on department strategy.
• Reviews research of others, and may conduct own research, in area of expertise. Edits and approves articles, reports and manuscripts. Presents research findings at meetings and/or conference. Manages the research of processes in clinical or non-clinical settings. Program and use computers to store, process, and analyze data.
• Performs other related work as needed.

Preferred Qualifications

• PhD or Master's degree in economics, public policy or international development including significant training in economics.
• Seven or more years of relevant work experience. PhD can count for up to 3 years of experience.
• Prior experience working on randomized evaluations, development economics research, and/or public policy in developing countries.
• Substantial experience working in one or more of the initiative areas in developing countries.
• Experience working with developing country governments or large bilateral and multilateral funders.
• Organizing policy events as well as producing policy resources and publications.
• Experience effecting change within governments or large multilateral organizations and/or implementing large scale programs.
Technical Skills or Knowledge:
• PhD level training in microeconomics and econometrics.
• Candidates from a policy background or related academic background who can demonstrate similar knowledge will also be considered.
Preferred Competencies
• Demonstrated ability to maintain high-level relationships with governments, international development practitioners, and/or academic researchers.
• Excellent communication and presentation skills.
• Demonstrated project management skills, including managing stuff and successfully working across teams, budgeting, attention to operational and research details, and ability to manage multiple projects efficiently.
Working Conditions
• Willingness to undertake extensive domestic and international travel.
Application Documents
• Resume/CV (required)
• Cover Letter (required)
• Three Professional References Contact Information (required)
• Writing Sample (required)

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.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

Application Requirements:
  • External Application Link
Application deadline: 07/31/2023