Who would you have recommended for these spots?
My not-that-informed view is something like “there are a bunch of problems with ACE, but I’m not sure there’s anyone better right now”. But if you have people in mind who would have been better for this role that would be really helpful to know!
I would have asked Harrison Nathan, as he has done some high quality research on the area, and really knows what is going on (though maybe he wouldn’t have agreed). Aside from that, I’m not all that familiar with which other researchers there are, but there must be other viable options, and I think having a two person committee of Natalie and Lewis only would have been strongly preferable.
I think ACE researchers might well recommend some good stuff, but I’m troubled by the principle at play here. It suggests that documented past performance is irrelevant to whether the community allows you to make important decisions about millions of dollars. Imagine how this would look to non-EAs: it takes an outsider to review and criticise ACE’s poor previous research, which still contains extensive and serious flaws today. The community then responds by giving ACE researchers control over a multi-million dollar fund. The incentives here are perverse, to say the least.
As I said in my post, I hope their research will improve in the future, but this is a hope not a guarantee and certainly does not justify the trust signalled by putting them in charge of millions of dollars.