A conservative ex-ante assessment of supply-shift gains alone (excluding social and environmental gains), shows that the investment in zero tillage (ZT) R&D by the Rice-Wheat Consortium and CIMMYT was highly beneficial with a benefit-cost ratio of 39, a net present value of US$ 94 million and an internal rate of return 57%. Sensitivity analysis highlights the influential role of the yield gain, the contribution of reduced tillage (i.e. partial adoption) and the assumed time-lag. Significant positive spillovers of sunk ZT R&D costs both previous and from elsewhere - also contributed to the high returns. The case thereby highlights the potential gains from successful technology transfer and adaptation. The case however also underscores that international NRM research can have a high return, particularly when it has wide applicability.