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What types of organizations would be ideal to be distributing funding for EA? (Fellowships, Organizations, etc)

by Ozzie Gooen1 min read4th Aug 20195 comments

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The EA Funds have been distributing quite a bit of money. At this point we have a decent amount of information on what kinds of things are funded, and I assume that similar kinds of things will be funded going forward.

The EA Funds don't have a particularly strong brand, nor do they have many specialized resources for different kinds of things to fund. They present a very generic way to distribute a diverse set of funds, which I think is generally very useful, but as we progress and learn we may eventually want more specific programs as well.

Some ideas of other structures:

  • Prestigious fellowships for individuals learning specific skills.
  • A remote research organization for funding and coordinating ongoing individual remote research efforts.
  • A long-term funding organization for multi-year funding efforts for 2-20 person organizations. It would develop expertise in maintaining relationships with these groups and perhaps offer some services similar to venture capitalists.

I'm curious if others here would want structures like these to exist. I'm particularly interested to hear from people who would want them.

This might be a more specific question:
What would your ideal funding setup look like, if you may want funding in the future?

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For me, a research organization that can set a global research agenda and direct the research, foster collaborations and give funding for the type of research that is underfunded in academia will be very helpful.

I see two different goals. One is coordination of researchers. The other is to have a safety net that allows to reduce the academic incentives to publish and to be more of a specialist.

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I'm strongly in favour of creating a fellowship with a fancy name and website in order to allow people to build career capital; or at least make accepting these fellowships not a step backwards. EA Grant doesn't exactly sound prestigious.

One thing worth taking into account is that there are a number of other more specific programs within EA, such as the Forethought Global Priorities Fellowships and the FHI Research Scholars Programme.

There might be room for more such fellowships and other specialized programs, but I think it's important that that doesn't happen at the expense of existing more open-ended programs. Otherwise there is a risk that good projects become underfunded; because they don't fit any of the specialized programs.

Yep, good point. I think the fact that EA Funds (and possibly other programs) fund a bunch of other individuals indicates that there could more room for more fellowship-like programs.

I'd hope that EA Funds and similar could always act as "escape valves" for areas overlooked by specific programs. I'm definitely not suggesting that these programs replace EA Funds, but rather that they be provided as well.

A remote research organization for funding and coordinating ongoing individual remote research efforts.

I’d be interested in this! In terms of coordination, it could (1) pool information on what organizations and individuals are already working on to allow cooperation and mentorship, and avoid duplication unless duplication is useful; (2) give guidance on prioritization of research ideas; and (3) provide a curated, accessible, and well categorized outlet (e.g., blog) for researchers that is sufficiently high-quality that a lot of people read it.