EA Updates for January 2020

by DavidNash 3 min read30th Jan 20201 comment



• Open Phil have made 6 grants recently with a total value of $4,405,000. With $3,555,000 on criminal justice reform, $750,000 for macroeconomic stabilisation policy and $100,000 on global development

• Parth Thaya on how they promoted effective altruism at Microsoft and advice for others interested in promoting EA at their workplace

• Charity Entrepreneurship with posts on 5 challenges entrepreneurs may face and 6 ways a charity start up could fail

• 80,000 Hours with anonymous answers on "What’s one way to be successful you don’t think people talk about enough?"

• The EA Survey 2019 with research into careers and skills of respondents and their  cause prioritisation

• EA Giving Tuesday successfully helped people match $563,000 in donations, which is 51% of the total donated by people interested in EA

• The Centre for Effective Altruism with advice on how to get more involved in EA if you want to organise events or set up 1-1s

• Rethink Priorities with research on the effectiveness of ballot initiatives

Global Development

• GiveWell on why it's important to think through all of the factors that influence a charity’s impact

• John Halstead and Hauke Hillebrandt with research on whether advocacy for economic growth in low and middle income countries is more cost-effective than interventions that can be tested by randomised controlled trials

• James Snowden with a talk on how GiveWell is investigating giving opportunities related to policy

• Rob Mather from the Against Malaria Foundation with an 'Ask Me Anything' on the EA Forum

• Charity Entrepreneurship on the strengths and weaknesses of four different cause areas, looking at mental health, family planning, animal welfare and health policy

• Twice as many people as previously believed are dying of sepsis worldwide. The study revealed 48.9 million global cases of sepsis in 2017 and 11 million deaths, representing 1 in 5 deaths worldwide

• EA is mentioned in a mini documentary by the Economist, with Julian Austin from the Against Malaria Foundation discussing their work

• Devex with a list of the 10 most under reported humanitarian disasters

• An 'Ask Me Anything' with Jon Behar and Kathryn Mecrow-Flynn from The Life You Can Save

• Think Global Health, a new news website that examines the ways in which changes in global health are reshaping economies, societies and the lives of people around the world

• The Gates Foundation 2019 in review

• The World Bank blog with their top social protection & cash transfer papers of 2019

• Caleb Parikh on setting up a charity to advocate for tobacco taxation in Mongolia and Armenia

• An article in Nature on the role of AI in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

• Effective Altruism Foundation with a write up on their successful ballot initiative asking to increase the city of Zurich’s development cooperation budget and to allocate it more effectively

Animal Welfare

• Sentience Institute podcast with Kristof Dhont on intergroup contact research and research careers

• The EA Animal Welfare Fund is looking for applications until the 6th of February

• Animal Charity Evaluators are looking for external reviewers of their research

• Charity Entrepreneurship with reports on whether charities should attempt to change animal welfare laws in India or Taiwan and plant-based seafood as a food technology intervention

• Animal Ethics with their 2020 plans

• A talk by Varun Deshpande on the importance of clean and plant-based meat in low and middle income countries

• Lauren Mee with a post introducing Animal Advocacy Careers, who are attempting to address the career and talent bottlenecks in the effective animal advocacy community

• The Guardian looking into the global trade of live animals

Existential & Catastrophic Risks

• Key questions that could determine if the coronavirus outbreak becomes a pandemic

• Owen Cotton‐Barratt,  Max Daniel and Anders Sandberg with a paper on prevention, response, resilience, and why they all matter when trying to reduce extinction risk

• Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative on their plans for 2020

• CSER have set up the Existential Risk Research Network to help build a network of researchers who have an interest in existential risk and other forms of global catastrophic risk

• CSER with summaries of 12 recent publications

• NPR with an article on how much should the public be told about research into risky viruses

• The Global Challenges Foundation with an overview of complexity thinking for governing global catastrophic risks

Long Term Future

• 80,000 Hours podcast with Will MacAskill on EA culture, longtermism and whether we are living in the most influential time in history

• Write ups of the EA Long Term Future Fund for November 2019

• The Survival and Flourishing Fund is open for applications until 7th March

• Founders Pledge are looking for input on the idea of setting up a long-term investment fund


• The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is creating a new agriculture-focused nonprofit to accelerate the development of innovations that are needed to improve crop productivity and help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change

• A job board looking at impactful careers in climate change

• Louis Dixon has written up notes on this talk by Niel Bowerman on the relationship between climate change, longtermism, and effective altruism

• Our World in Data with a post suggesting that if you want to reduce the carbon footprint of your food, you should focus on what you eat, not whether your food is local

• Microsoft on how they plan to be carbon negative by 2030 and are putting $1,000,000,000 into a climate innovation fund

• Stephen Clare on how thoughtful philanthropists should think about two key aspects of the Australian fires: climate change and animal welfare

Other Causes

• Deepmind with a paper in Nature and a post on how they are using AI for scientific discovery

• A paper in Science Direct on funding conservation research through the effective altruism movement

• A new FAQ on longevity research

• Tobias Baumann arguing that space governance has been overlooked as a potentially promising cause area

• Happier Lives Institute with their research plan for 2020 and openings for research interns

• A post looking at psychedelics, their potential to alleviate suffering and the role played by philanthropy to support research and advocacy

• An article looking at natural disasters in 2019, with there being 9,000 deaths, down from 15,000 in 2018, and below the 30 year annual average of 52,000

• An overview of the intersection of natural disasters and political violence

• An overview of Google AI in 2019 and their plan for social good in 2020

Miscellaneous Updates

• Why do non profits give away so many gifts?

• How 42 countries interpret the trolley problem

• A post looking at how sanitation led to large mortality reduction rates before vaccines or antibiotics had been invented

• Simon Beard with a biography of Derek Parfit

• Clearer Thinking have created a new tool to help form beneficial daily habits

• Marc Gunther on their charitable donations for 2019

• Jason Dang on why they've signed up to Try Giving, to give away 10% of their income to impactful charities

• Julia Wise on the positives and negatives of small acts of kindness

• Rose Hadshar writing in praise of unhistoric heroism

• A Reddit thread on combining financial independence and effective altruism

• Helen Toner on avoiding burnout at work

Good News Roundup

• New research has identified that the majority of schistosomiasis control initiatives across countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen have reached the disease-control target by two treatment rounds or less, as opposed to the five to 10 years projected by current WHO guidelines

• Over half of Colombia is now landmine free and they are aiming to remove all of them by 2021