Announcing the new Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research

Hi all,

Here’s an­nounc­ing a new pro­ject that Laura Po­mar­ius and I have been work­ing on, set to be­come its own or­gani­sa­tion in 2019. Right now we’re pri­mar­ily look­ing for (i) startup fund­ing and (ii) promis­ing grad­u­ate stu­dents in the hu­man­i­ties and so­cial sci­ences (es­pe­cially eco­nomics and philos­o­phy) to join the new global pri­ori­ties fel­low­ship. Any ques­tions, please ask be­low, or con­tact <laura.po­mar­ius@cen­tre­fore­ffec­tivealtru­ism.org>.

Summary

  • The Forethought Foun­da­tion for Global Pri­ori­ties Re­search is a pro­ject in­cu­bated by the Cen­tre for Effec­tive Altru­ism. (In 2019, we aim to set up as an in­de­pen­dent UK char­ity.)

  • Its main mis­sion is to com­ple­ment the Global Pri­ori­ties In­sti­tute by pro­mot­ing aca­demic work that ad­dresses the ques­tion of how to use our re­sources to im­prove the world by as much as pos­si­ble. We are es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in is­sues re­lat­ing to the claim that pos­i­tively in­fluenc­ing the very long-term fu­ture should be al­tru­ists’ pri­mary goal. We will mainly do this through fund­ing aca­demic re­search in eco­nomics and philos­o­phy, hop­ing to broaden out to the hu­man­i­ties and so­cial sci­ences more gen­er­ally in the com­ing years.

  • The main pro­jects we are run­ning at the mo­ment are:

    • The Global Pri­ori­ties Fel­low­ship: A £5,000 stipend for mas­ter’s and PhD stu­dents in philos­o­phy and eco­nomics, and the op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for full PhD fund­ing. Dead­line: 27 Dec 2018

    • Ma­jor re­search grants

    • Sup­port­ing the Global Pri­ori­ties In­sti­tute in its mission

  • We are aiming to fundraise £1.5 mil­lion for the next two years. Of this, we’ve raised £450,000 so far. You can donate to the Forethought Foun­da­tion through EA Funds.

  • Some quick links:

Aims

The Forethought Foun­da­tion works in close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Global Pri­ori­ties In­sti­tute (GPI) at Oxford Univer­sity to pro­mote aca­demic re­search in global pri­ori­ties re­search, par­tic­u­larly fo­cused on is­sues around whether and how to pos­i­tively in­fluence the long-term fu­ture. We are there­fore in­ter­ested in sup­port­ing ex­cel­lent re­search that:

  • Defends or crit­i­cises the idea that we should pri­mar­ily care about the very long-term im­pact of our ac­tions.

  • Works out the im­pli­ca­tions of a long-term view for our de­ci­sions to­day.

  • Is of im­por­tance for the very long-term fu­ture, even if the re­search is not di­rectly about the idea of long-term im­pact.

Re­la­tion­ship with GPI

While GPI offers a va­ri­ety of differ­ent pro­grammes for re­searchers of all stages in their ca­reer to get in­volved at re­search in Oxford, the Forethought Foun­da­tion aims to ex­tend its efforts out­side of Oxford Univer­sity, and sup­port aca­demics wor­ld­wide in their re­search pur­suits.

Cur­rent and Po­ten­tial Projects

  • The Global Pri­ori­ties Fel­low­ship: This fel­low­ship aims to sup­port promis­ing PhD and mas­ter’s stu­dents in philos­o­phy and eco­nomics to con­tribute to global pri­ori­ties re­search, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on is­sues that are of rele­vance to the very long-term fu­ture. Ap­pli­ca­tions are open to full-time stu­dents at any stage of their stud­ies, in­clud­ing those start­ing their pro­grammes in the au­tumn of 2019. The ap­pli­ca­tion dead­line is 27 De­cem­ber 2018. Fel­lows will re­ceive a stipend of £5,000 (about US $6,500) per year of their fel­low­ship and can at­tend a yearly fel­lows’ event in Oxford. Fel­lows will also get an ex­clu­sive op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for full fund­ing of their doc­torate or mas­ter’s pro­gramme.

  • Ma­jor re­search grants: We don’t cur­rently have an open round for ma­jor re­search grants, but you can reg­ister your in­ter­est on our web­site.

  • Sup­port­ing the Global Pri­ori­ties In­sti­tute in its mis­sion by tak­ing mea­sures to im­prove vis­i­tor ex­pe­rience, save staff time and ad­vise on strat­egy.

Team

The team cur­rently con­sists of William MacAskill (di­rec­tor), Laura Po­mar­ius (As­sis­tant Direc­tor), Aron Val­lin­der (Re­search Fel­low—Philos­o­phy) and Philip Tram­mell (Re­search Fel­low—Eco­nomics). We are con­sid­er­ing hiring ad­di­tional re­search as­sis­tants and op­er­a­tions staff in 2019. For up­dates on op­por­tu­ni­ties, please sign up to our newslet­ter on our web­site.

Fund­ing Opportunities

We are cur­rently in the pro­cess of fundrais­ing for the next two years of op­er­a­tions. Below is a rough out­line of what we are plan­ning to spend that money on (over 2019 & 2020). Please note that there is more room for fund­ing on pro­grammes, as there are fur­ther ways for us to ex­tend our out­reach efforts and schol­ar­ship pro­grammes. We ex­pect fund­ing for ma­jor re­search grants to come from di­rectly mak­ing recom­men­da­tions to ma­jor donors, and so are not fundrais­ing for that at the mo­ment.

Staff & Con­trac­tors: £300,000

Pro­grammes (incl. But not limited to fel­low­ships, small re­search grants, PhD schol­ar­ships): £650,000 - £1 million

Office rent and ex­penses, travel, soft­ware, train­ing, etc: £170,000

TOTAL: £1.12 mil­lion - £1.47 million

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