The distribution of the funds was just announced: https://app.effectivealtruism.org/funds/far-future/payouts/6g4f7iae5Ok6K6YOaAiyK0 .
I’d be curious to hear some explanation of
“University-based grantees were not considered for these grants because I believe they are not well-positioned to use funds for time-saving and productivity-enhancement due to university regulations.”
since I have no clue what that means. In the text previous to this claim it is only stated that “I recommended these grants with the suggestion that these grantees look for ways to use funding to trade money for saving the time or increasing the productivity of their employees (e.g. subsidizing electronics upgrades or childcare)”- but a university staff can indeed use the funding to cover the teaching duties, as well as to buy a better equipment.
Moreover, if it were any other domain of research (say, medicine or physics), I’d be rather worried if university-based grants were disqualified for this kind of reason.
I’m in no way associated with EA Funds (although I do contract with CEA), but I can take a guess. Several EA orgs pay for assistants and certain other kinds of help for academics directly, which makes me think that the straightforward interpretation of the statement is true: Nick wanted to fund time savings for high impact people, and academics can’t accept money to do that, although they can accept donated labor.
But that’s just not necessarily true: as I said, academics can accept money to cover e.g. teaching duties and hence do more research. If you look at ERC grants, that’s part of their format in case of Consolidator and Advanced grants. So it really depends on who applied for which funds, which is why Nick’s explanation isn’t satisfactory.