The Centre for the Governance of AI is becoming a nonprofit

We wanted to update the EA community about some changes to the Centre for the Governance of AI (GovAI). GovAI was founded in 2018, as part of the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI)[1]. GovAI is now becoming an independent nonprofit. We are currently in the process of setting up the organisation, forming a board, and fundraising. You will find updates on our placeholder website and through our new mailing list (see the signup form on the homepage).

These changes were prompted by an opportunity that arose for Allan Dafoe – GovAI’s Director – to take on a senior role at DeepMind. The university informed us that it would not be possible for Allan to hold a dual appointment, and that GovAI’s status as an Oxford-affiliated research centre depended on that. In response to these constraints, we opted to become an independent nonprofit.

Some background for our decision is that we had previously considered the potential benefits of standing up a nonprofit to support the longtermist AI governance community, particularly due to much lower administrative overhead and new opportunities to expand our activities. Moreover, we recognised that our community had grown well beyond Oxford: the majority of our members are based at other universities, companies, and think tanks. An independent nonprofit structure therefore seemed consistent with our ambitions and with the established geography of our community.

Allan will continue as a co-leader of the organisation. I will help set up the organisation over the coming months. FHI’ers Toby Ord, Ben Garfinkel, Alexis Carlier, Toby Shevlane, and Anne le Roux are also likely to be prominently involved (pending university approval).

We would love to hear from people with a diverse set of skills – including research, event organizing, grantmaking, operations, and project management – who are motivated to work on AI governance. We are especially interested in growing our expertise in institutional design. For those interested, we outline our theory of impact here and some research questions here. You can fill out an expression of interest form here.


  1. It succeeded the Oxford-based Governance of AI Program (which was founded in 2017) and the Yale-based Global Politics of AI Research Group (which was founded in 2016). ↩︎