Job Posting

Executive Director, Development Innovation Lab at the University of Chicago

The Development Innovation Lab (DIL) at the University of Chicago is a new initiative led by Nobel laureate Professor Michael Kremer. Announced in fall 2020, DIL uses economics tools to develop and test innovations that improve lives in developing countries. From a chlorine dispenser based on the insights of behavioral economics, to the financing of Covid-19 vaccines, DIL works with governments, firms and nonprofits to  advance knowledge and generate practical solutions to development challenges which can reach hundreds of millions of people.

Job Summary:
As the founding Executive Director, this role provides a rare opportunity to refine the mission and strategy for a new lab, while benefiting from the deep institutional infrastructure of BFI, the University of Chicago, and international policy partnerships built by Prof. Kremer and his collaborators.  The Executive Director will be responsible for working closely with the faculty director to develop and execute DIL’s strategic plan and managing the Lab.


  • Spearheads the development of this new initiative to become an effective lab for fostering innovations using the tools of development economics.
  • Leads conversations and negotiations with governments to plan, design, and execute collaborations with the Lab.
  • Represents the Lab in meetings with high-level government officials, business executives, NGO leaders, and other key stakeholders on the global stage.
  • Builds and oversees a growing organization.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Education: Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.
  • Experience: Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.

Preferred Qualifications


  • PhD degree in economics, public policy, or a related field preferred with training in microeconomics and econometrics.
  • Candidates from a policy background who can demonstrate similar knowledge through demonstrated professional experience will also be considered.


  • 8 or more years of professional work experience, with significant experience in international development research and implementation working with, and ideally part of a diverse set of stakeholders.
  • 7 or more years of people management experience, including building teams of direct and indirect reports with significant technical and leadership skills as well as overall center management.
  • 5 or more years of experience conducting or managing research in development economics.

Preferred Competencies

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate technical information in a way that can be understood by stakeholders with varying levels of technical background.
  • Highly organized with excellent project management skills and the ability to anticipate needs before they arise.
  • Comfortable navigating situations with varying degrees of ambiguity in an environment where priorities may shift often.
  • Excellent people management skills, with an ability to build an open, positive, team-oriented work culture that is diverse and inclusive, sensitive to cultural differences, and where everyone feels valued
  • Demonstrated commitment to improving the lives of those living in poverty in developing countries
  • Willingness to travel in the US and internationally, usually around 30% of the time.
  • Experience in working with governments of developing countries
  • Experience in working in complex partnerships including between research, nonprofits, business, funding agencies, and governments
  • Experience in overseeing budgets and financial reporting
  • Experience fundraising from individuals, institutional and governmental funders, and philanthropic foundations
  • Experience in running an organization, or significant business unit within an organization
  • Experience living in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Experience interacting with a variety of other major institutions relevant to international development

Technical Knowledge/Skills

  • Very strong understanding of, and ability to communicate, economic concepts.
  • Knowledge of the practicalities and econometrics of randomized control trials
  • Ability to present complex data in a clear intuitive way

How to Apply


Application Documents

  1. Resume/CV (required)
  2. Cover letter including short answer responses to the subsequent questions.

Please describe your experience in each of the following:

  • tasks/responsibilities which are most appealing to you;
  • working with governments of developing countries, bilateral agencies, and multilateral organizations
  • managing an organization;
  • working in a research environment (development economics research preferred); and
  • training in economics.

Becker Friedman Institute
The Development Innovation Lab is part of the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago (BFI). 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.


Apply Here