EAF/FRI are now the Center on Long-Term Risk (CLR)

by Jonas Vollmer2 min read6th Mar 202011 comments

84

Center on Long-Term RiskOrg updateEffective Altruism FoundationCommunity
Frontpage

We have renamed the Foundational Research Institute (FRI) to the Center on Long-Term Risk (CLR) and will stop using the Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF) brand. The CLR will operate under the domain longtermrisk.org with the following logo:


Motivation. We are renaming for the following reasons:

  • Change of strategy. We now focus on building a research community working on reducing risks of astronomical suffering (s-risks). Our change of strategy entailed several changes to our organization. In addition to rebranding, we made the following changes over the past year:
  • Renaming FRI. We perceive the FRI brand as confusing and grandiose given the scope and nature of our activities. We also received feedback from others to this effect in the past. The term “institute” is protected in the UK and does not appear adequate given the small size of our research group. It also suggests we mainly focus on academic publications, whereas we also make grants through our fund, host workshops, and advise people on their careers. Additionally, we work in areas where academic publications are less common, such as grantmaking research and macrostrategy.
  • Handing off community building. We originally chose the EAF brand (German: “Stiftung für Effektiven Altruismus”) to coordinate the effective altruism (EA) community in the German-speaking area, but we handed off our community-building activities in 2018. The EAF name does not describe our activities well anymore and can be easily confused with the Centre for Effective Altruism, especially after our move to the UK. However, to reduce the effort from rebranding, we will continue to use EAF as the name of our legal entities.

Process for renaming.

  • We started out defining desiderata for the new name: it should be descriptive, flexible with respect to our future activities, intuitively understandable, respectable (including in academia), short, easy to pronounce and understand, unique, appealing, and memorable.
  • We brainstormed an initial list of over 600 ideas with community members and shortened it iteratively. We also thought carefully about abbreviations or possible short forms. The winning name idea was generated during a brainstorming session with our core team.
  • We decided to highlight our focus on reducing suffering in the tagline and mission statement rather than in the name itself. Based on feedback and our own experience, we believe academics and other non-EA audiences tend to associate the word “suffering” with direct charity or activism in near-term cause areas. A more neutral name works better for these audiences. We think the emphasis on “risk” still intuitively conveys our focus on preventing negative outcomes to some degree.
  • Overall, we think the new name is more descriptive of our work, more modest, easier to understand, while still being compatible with potential future changes to our focus and strategy.

We would like to thank the many people in our networks who helped us with their ideas and feedback. We are excited about the new name and design, and hope you are, too!

84

11 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 11:09 AM
New Comment

I was a bit confused at first as to why you would use "on" rather than "for" in the name, since "for" seems more standard, but "Center for Long-Term Risk" could sound like you're promoting risk, and "Center for Long-Term Risk [X]" where X="Research", "Reduction", "Mitigation", etc., is kind of long.

I think the name is a good choice, and the reasoning for it makes sense to me.

I went through the exact same "on" vs "for" thought process myself.

(Also, I'd second the approval of the name change and its reasoning.)

Good job on completing the rebranding! Do you have an opinion on whether CLR should be pronounced as "see ell are" or as "clear"?

Just as a data point, "eye clear" took off for the conference ICLR so people seem to find the "clear" pronunciation intuitive.

We did some surveys (partly because we thought of the "ICLR" / "eye clear" abbreviation) and only relatively few people liked the "clear" pronunciation. So the pronunciation we're going for is "C L R" ("see ell are"). Of course, if people just end up saying "clear" and like it, we won't object and would be happy to adopt that.

The downside of "see ell are", as mentioned by JasperGeh, would be that, as I've understood, CEEALAR is supposed to be pronounced "see ale-are". So it would sound similar.

This seems like a better fit for CEEALAR than CLR?

I like this development. I've heard a suggestion that EA and longtermism carry separate movement identities while continuing to have significant overlap, so they can develop and attract newcomers more independently. This seems to be in line with that suggestion.

I like the new name as well. And pretty similar sounding to the new EA Hotel acronym...the start of a new, soon confusing EA org renaming trend?

Sadly my informal goal of having an EA-related F[?]I organisation for every letter of the alphabet has taken a step back. :-(