Elika

Researcher @ National Institutes for Health
1230 karmaJoined Sep 2021Working (0-5 years)Washington, DC, USA

Bio

Participation
8

I do biosecurity research (DURC and ePPP research oversight and ethics) and like to spend my free time organising events and doing random projects in EA.

Happy to help, talk, and be a friendly face :)

Comments
88

Topic contributions
2

This is a tricky one and I'll speak to what I know but I'm not a legal expert. 

The vast majority of internships require the person to have a right to work in the U.S, so international students who have a visa status sponsored by their college or university, or are authorized to work in the U.S could intern but it depends on the place

Many Think Tanks (e.g. Brookings) allow this. 

Most executive agencies do not since US citizenship is required

For Congressional offices, from what I know, theoretically yes a foreign national could intern but I don't think if they can be paid (many offices don't pay anyways) and some offices/committees (e.g. House Foreign Relations Committee) don't allow it. 

Thanks Michel!! I'll also flag that if you're interested in applying or testing your fit in policy and would like support, fill out this form to get application support

Things we can help with:

  • Whether or not you’d be a good fit for the positions
  • Review your resume, cover letter & offices you’re interested in
  • Accountability for submitting applications by the deadline

(based off of: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/pdMjPuddtHeLSBDiF/apply-to-fall-policy-internships-we-can-help) 

Unfortunately I don't know / think so for many congressional offices. They all should have a DC based internship and one in the home state if that's at all helpful. I know some think tanks offer remote internships too (ex. Brookings)!

Answer by ElikaApr 10, 20237
0
0

Hi Liv! I'd just second everything everyone else said and add in that I've found EAG's very similar to EAGx's with the main difference that the attendees generally are further down the 'EA pipeline' (tend to be older, in careers based on EA principles) in case that helps :) 

I'll also be there so happy to be a friendly face and help out in any way if you want!

Hi! I just wanted to say welcome and that I love the idea! I'm excited in general about it, think that it could be really promising for 'non'-EAs', and just love that you took an idea and put it into action :)

I strongly +1 the comment and really resonate with the below statement in particular. 

A lot may just want someone in a position of authority to say "hey, you may not realize, but you're making people uncomfortable"

Often I've felt strange about reporting minor instances where I felt a little uncomfortable and have also been unsure along the lines 'is serious enough? is a strange vibe reportable? etc'. Especially because in many of those situations I don't think the person/people were intentionally making me uncomfortable and just unaware. But at the same time, many people (me included) find it hard to straight up say 'hey you made me uncomfortable doing X ' and so a CH team mediator or anonymous comment form makes sense to me.

Hi, thanks for the comments! Some broad thoughts in response:

Re

My impression is that one of the key defenses that the Fauci/NIH/EcoHealth/etc. offered for their research in Wuhan was that it was technically not Gain of Function, even if some parts of it might sound like Gain of Function to the layperson, which seems in tension with this claim. Do you think they were wrong about this?

It's hard for me to go into detail on a public platform on this (just to be cautious to my job) but I can broadly say that there's a difference between research that is a) gaining a function, b) gain-of-function as defined by informal norms in the biomedical community, and c) what is formally DURC / GoF research as defined by U.S. government policy. The EcoHealth grants fall confusingly as or as not GoF depending on how GoF is defined. 

Re

Speaking as an outsider, the amount of regulation on what you refer to as ePPP (adding functionality to make diseases more dangerous) seems shockingly low. The article you link to tries to make it sound like there are a lot of safeguards, but it seems to me like virtually all the steps only apply if you are seeking federal funding. This is not a standard we accept in other areas! If you are making a car, or building a nuclear power plant, or running a bank or airline, you have to accept extremely intrusive regulation regardless of your funding, and for many things - like nuclear weapons or money laundering - US regulation has world-wide reach. 

I fully agree! I think there are many concrete needs in this space including legal regulation over DURC /ePPP/GoF research in the U.S. particularly but also  every country that practices such research. To achieve such regulation requires a ton of work, consensus building, and thought into what constructive regulation that captures risk while not alienating / shutting down an entire research field  is tough and part of the nuances that I think we as a community need to work towards

Thanks!! Strongly agree on your points of the intrinsic value of understanding and being nuanced in this space, I just didn't have the words to frame it as well as you put it :)

Thanks! I do broadly agree with your points. I linked  reference 6 as an example of the benefits and nuances of dual-use research, but don't / shouldn't comment on COVID-19 origins and their views expressed on it.

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