The Development Economics Research Fund (DERF) is financially supported by Becker Friedman Institute (BFI) and the Development Innovation Lab (DIL) and aims to sponsor research in the field of development economics at the University of Chicago. The Program only funds research in low and middle-income countries, as defined by the World Bank. This includes countries, regions, or populations with per capita GDP below $11,000 in current USD, with a preference for supporting work in countries, regions, or populations with per capita GDP below $5,500. Countries’ GDP per capita is determined according to the most recent data available from the World Bank Open Data portal. The Program does not fund research in high-income countries, even on low-income populations within these countries.


January 15, 2024


Though priority will be given to PhD students and junior faculty, any of the following members of the University of Chicago development economics community are eligible to apply, provided they meet the other criteria outlined below:

  • PhD students –  must be enrolled at the University of Chicago in a PhD program in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, or Chicago Booth and actively engaged in economic research. Grants will not ordinarily be provided to support new projects started by PhD students during their last year of the program.
  • Postdoctoral fellows and non-ladder faculty – only eligible if they have already obtained a ladder faculty position at the University of Chicago.
  • Faculty – must be ladder faculty at the University of Chicago working on research projects on economic issues that affect developing countries. Instructional faculty and research faculty are not eligible.

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