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CEGA Initiative - Development Impact Lab

Development Impact Lab


The Development Impact Lab (DIL) is a global consortium of research institutes, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and industry partners committed to advancing international development through science and technology innovations.

With the support of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and in collaboration with the U.S. Global Development Lab, DIL is formalizing the application of academic science and engineering disciplines to social and economic development. This approach is embodied in a new field called Development Engineering. This system of inquiry and practice combines engineering and the natural sciences with insights from economics and the social sciences to generate sustainable, technology-based solutions to development challenges. DIL is co-managed by CEGA and the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley, and funds rigorous development and impact evaluations of technologies for the problems of poverty.


Over its five-year core award, DIL’s approach leveraged the innovative capacity of world-class universities by competitively funding innovative research projects that couple technological advances with novel economic and behavioral interventions. To date, DIL has supported more than 100 research projects in more than 35 countries. These solutions are designed with scale in mind and rigorously evaluated in the real world. By designing and iterating around evidence on incentives, willingness to pay, and economic barriers, new products and interventions will achieve better impact and sustainability. Ultimately, proven solutions are transitioned to partners outside of the university—governments, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and/or social enterprises—for scale-up and dissemination.

To formalize this approach, DIL has established a new field called Development Engineering (DevEng), which helps to train the next generation of development innovators to more effectively create, evaluate, and scale solutions for the complex challenges associated with poverty. DIL has begun institutionalizing this new field by launching new curriculum, a PhD designated emphasis, a forthcoming textbook, and the new journal Development Engineering: The Journal of Engineering in Economic Development. By supporting events and this new field, CEGA and its partners have established a new academic infrastructure that measures and optimizes the impact of technological change in the developing world.


  • Blum Center for Developing Economies

DIL Research


Studying the Use of Mobile Money Platforms Among Savings Groups in Rwanda 

Mercyline Kamande | Rwanda

GridWatch Phase II

Catherine Wolfram | Ghana
Data Science for DevelopmentTechnology

Low-Cost Air Pollution Monitoring

Engineer Bainomugisha | Uganda

Village Base Station (VBTS)

Kurtis Heimerl | Indonesia
TechnologyWork & Education

Randomized Controlled Trial of Integrated Youth Activity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Jeremy Magruder | Democratic Republic of the Congo

Cash Transfer Evaluation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Jeremy Magruder | Democratic Republic of the Congo
View More DIL Research

DIL Resources


Briefing on Exploring the use of Mobile Money Services among Tea SACCOs in Rwanda: Challenges and Opportunities

Reports & Policy Briefs   |   Technology

Exploring the Use of Mobile Money Services among Tea SACCOs in Rwanda: Challenges and Opportunities

Research Publications   |   Technology

Pollution Management and the Making of Prosperous Cities

Reports & Policy Briefs   |   Technology

Connecting Isolated Communities: Quantitative Evidence on the Adoption of Community Cellular Networks in the Philippines

Research Publications   |   Technology
Data Science for DevelopmentFinancial InclusionTechnologyWork & Education

Targeting Development Aid with Machine Learning and Mobile Phone Data

Working Paper   |   Financial Inclusion
Data Science for DevelopmentFinancial InclusionWork & Education

Why Do Defaults Affect Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan

Research Publications   |   Financial Inclusion
View More DIL Resources


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