Judging by the voting and comments so far (both here as well as on the LessWrong crosspost), my sense is that many here support this effort, but some definitely have concerns. A few of the concerns are based in hardcore skepticism about academic research that I’m not sure are compatible with responding to the RfI. Many concerns though seems to be about this generating vague NSF grants that are in the name of AI safety but don’t actually contribute to the field.
For these latter concerns, I wonder is there a way we could resolve them by limiting the scope of topics in our NSF responses or giving them enough specificity? For example, what if we convinced the NSF that all they should make grants for is mechanistic interpretability projects like the Circuits Thread. This is an area that most researchers in the alignment community seem to agree is useful, we just need a lot more people doing it to make substantial progress. And maybe there is less room to go adrift or mess up this kind of concrete and empirical research compared to some of the more theoretical research directions.
It doesn’t have to be just mechanistic interpretability, but my point is, are there ways we could shape or constrain our responses to the NSF like this that would help address your concerns?