Innovations, both technological and social, are essential for addressing our most pressing global challenges and improving the well-being of millions of people around the world. The expected social returns to investing in innovation are often significantly higher than potential commercial incentives. This creates opportunities for governments, multilateral institutions and philanthropies to leverage meta-innovations, mechanisms for encouraging innovation development and scaling, to enhance the public good. However, they often lack reliable and relevant explanations and evidence to help inform their decision-making.
- How does one set-up and operate an open, tied, evidence-based, social innovation fund?
- Under what circumstances are each type of market shaping mechanism most effective for accelerating innovation?
- Which innovations most cost-effectively save lives, improve well-being, or advance other policy priorities?
- What are the barriers and potential pathways to scale for a tested innovation?
In addition, many low- and lower-middle-income countries confront a common set of challenges, and policymakers in those countries often similarly lack reliable and relevant explanations and evidence to help inform their decision-making.
- What is the right mix of policies, investments, and incentives needed to spur growth?
- How can policymakers ensure that prosperity is widely distributed and addresses the most extreme forms of poverty?
- What policies promote more effective government and more free societies?
- How can societies prevent and respond to economic and political instability?
The Development Economics Center uses the tools of economics to identify, test, refine, and scale innovations with the potential to benefit millions of people. The Center unites researchers from the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, the Law School and others across the UChicago community for a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and accelerating innovation and development. Through rigorous research and active engagement with governments, firms, social sector organizations, and other stakeholders, UChicago scholars advance the frontiers of research and have real world impact.
The Center builds on the work of BFI’s Development Economics Research Initiative in cultivating the broader innovation and development community on campus and throughout the region. The Center works closely with other UChicago Institutes, Centers, Labs and Initiatives as well as relevant student organizations. It has added a new Development Economics Research Fund to prioritize development economics research by UChicago PhD students and junior faculty. The Center also serves as a coordinating platform for the Development Innovation Lab (DIL), the Innovation Commission for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture, the Market Shaping Accelerator and the Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics.
DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS RESEARCH FUND
Call for Proposals
The Development Economics Research Fund (DERF) is financially supported by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago and the Development Innovation Lab and aims to sponsor research in the field of development economics at the University of Chicago. Learn More
The Development Innovation Lab uses the tools of economics to develop innovations with the potential to benefit millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. We bring researchers in different fields together with governments, firms and non-profit organizations to identify, test, refine and scale innovations.
The Innovation Commission for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture brings together former heads of state and cabinet ministers as well as leaders of international organizations and the private sector to identify high return investments in innovation for climate mitigation and adaptation in agriculture and food security and propose institutional mechanisms to take them to scale.
The Market Shaping Accelerator supports governments, multilateral institutions and philanthropies to harness the energy and creativity of the private sector to develop innovations to solve global challenges.
The Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics supports research by students and ladder faculty working in development economics, broadly defined, funding projects that address a wide range of issues affecting less developed countries.