Cross-posted from LessWrong.
Has anyone had experience with this? Is anyone working on this?
Reading this and this give me reason to think that it could be more impactful for some x-risk researchers to have research positions at universities.
- Universities are financially constrained with regard to the number of researchers they can hire
- When they can hire, they rarely select candidates based on their expected contribution to safeguarding future lives
- Successful candidates are immediately tasked with non-research obligations which take up a substantial proportion of their time
Can we remove these hurdles? Here is my proposal. A new or existing EA org establishes agreements with university departments/schools whereby:
- The org decides on which researcher to hire (with the department having the ability to veto)
- The org funds the researcher
- The department treats the researcher as one of its own, except without the non-research obligations
I do recognise that currently, university researchers can and do get EA funding which enables them to focus on their high-EV research. An example that comes to mind is Arif Ahmed at the University of Cambridge who, in 2019, received funding from CLR. Additionally, there are research institutes which are well-integrated at universities (e.g. GPI at the University of Oxford). Are these models better? Could my proposal still be impactful and worth pursuing?
If anyone has any experience with or thoughts on this, please comment below or reach out. You'll find my details on my profile page.