The Innovation Commission for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture promotes meta-innovations to encourage innovation development, as well as individual innovations with the potential to address interlinked challenges of climate change and agriculture. Chaired by Professor and Nobel laureate Michael Kremer, the Commission is led by a Secretariat that works with leading academics, innovators, and practitioners to amplify its work and influence. The work of the Commission will span from 2023 through 2025.


The world faces an interlinked challenge of climate change, food security, and agriculture. Agriculture is one of the most vulnerable sectors to climate change and it is also an important contributor to global emissions. Under growing climate threats and limited scope for further expansion of arable land, farmers need new approaches to adapt to these trends and mitigate their contribution to climate change.

Innovation can help address these challenges. Advances in biology have led to major breakthroughs in public health, including the development of mRNA vaccines. Comparable innovations are emerging in agriculture, such as breeding techniques to boost crop yields and climate resilience. Technological and social innovations can also help farmers cope with increasing weather variability, such as better weather forecasts and digital extension.

However, commercial incentives to invest in some types of innovations are not commensurate with their value to society. For example, individual governments or investors have limited incentives to fund innovations to cut emissions, as they would only capture a fraction of the benefit. The market may also underinvest in innovations that generate gains accrued mainly by governments or that target small-scale producers, women, and other marginalized groups.

The Innovation Commission will propose mechanisms to encourage innovation development, or meta-innovations. Meta-innovations include open, tiered, evidence-based innovation funds, pull financing mechanisms, and government innovation units. These could focus on high-impact agricultural innovations with global benefits that are not appropriately funded. Our analysis of institutional needs will be complemented by an assessment of a subset of innovations that could provide social benefits but are currently underfunded.


The Commission is led by a Secretariat hosted at the Development Innovation Lab at the University of Chicago.

Paul Winters, Executive Director
Paul oversees activities across the Innovation Commission Secretariat and leads engagements with partners. Paul is an agricultural economist whose research focuses on rural poverty and food insecurity, small-scale agriculture, and inclusive and sustainable food systems, among other topics. Paul is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Before Notre Dame, Paul was the Associate Vice-President of Strategy and Knowledge at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and, prior to that, a Professor of Economics at American University. Paul has also worked at the International Potato Center in Peru, the University of New England in Australia, and the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC. Paul holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.
Kyle Murphy, Director
Kyle leads research activities to generate proposals to scale up evidence-based innovations. He also directs partnerships with developing country governments. Kyle joined DIL from J-PAL, where he was the Global Initiatives Lead. In that role, Kyle led J-PAL’s research initiatives, and advised the agriculture sector and cost-effectiveness analysis teams. Prior to this role, Kyle managed J-PAL’s agriculture sector work including synthesizing research results, building evidence use partnerships, and designing funding windows to crowd in randomized impact evaluations on policy relevant topics in the agriculture space. Kyle also led efforts to expand the diversity and scope of J-PAL’s research network. Previously, Kyle served as an agricultural extensionist and volunteer coordinator with the United States Peace Corps in Nicaragua. Kyle holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.
Imara Salas, Manager
Imara manages activities across the Innovation Commission and supports external engagements. Prior to joining DIL, Imara was an agriculture and digital development consultant with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC. She also worked as a Project Coordinator with the Weatherhead Center at Harvard University, liaising with academics working on food systems across universities in the Boston area. Previously, she was an Applied Researcher with the Center for Public Policy in Chile, where she led the evaluation of government programs focused on innovation and agriculture. Imara holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University.
Vijaya Ramachandran, Advisor
Vijaya provides advice to the Commission chair and the Director of the Secretariat on the workings of the Commission. Vijaya is an economist whose research focuses on economic growth and energy infrastructure, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has three decades of experience in public policy and academia, serving on the faculty of Duke University and Georgetown University, as well as working at the World Bank, the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Center for Global Development, and Breakthrough Institute. Vijaya is on the board of the Energy for Growth Hub. Her work has been published in Foreign Policy, Nature, and other journals, and cited by over fifty media outlets including the Economist, National Public Radio, and the Guardian. Vijaya holds a PhD in Business Economics from Harvard University.