Read & edited by Sam Nolan
There are many people who have the skills and desire to do EA-aligned research, or who could develop such skills via some experience, mentorship, or similar. There are many potentially high-priority open research questions that have been identified. And there are many funders who would be happy to pay for high-quality research on such questions. Sounds like everything must be lining up perfectly, right? In my view, the answer is fairly clearly “No”, and getting closer to a “Yes” could be very valuable. The three ingredients mentioned above do regularly combine to give us new, high-quality research and researchers, but:
This is happening slower than we’d like
At any given time, we still have a lot of each ingredient left over
This is requiring more “overhead” than seems ideal
E.g., lots of 1-1 career advice, coaching, and mentorship from experienced people; time-consuming hiring and grant evaluation processes
There are more “misfires” than we’d like
E.g., aspiring researchers choosing low-priority questions or tackling questions poorly; great people and projects being passed over for hiring or funding
Links mentioned in the related previous work section
Posts tagged Scalably using labour and/or Research Training Programs
Benjamin Todd on what the effective altruism community most needs
A comment thread from an AMA with Owen Cotton-Barratt
Bottlenecks and Solutions for the X-Risk Ecosystem
Readings and notes on how to do high-impact research
Ingredients for creating disruptive research teams
After one year...
Working at EA vs Non-EA Orgs
A central directory for open research questions
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