PhD student @ MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge
872 karmaJoined Sep 2019Pursuing a doctoral degree (e.g. PhD)Seeking workCambridge CB2 0PY, UK


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How do you think about comparing GCR vs Global Health effectiveness? Is it different for money compared to careers?

What are you more concerned about in the biological weapons space: states, terrorist groups, or lone wolves? Why (if you can share the information)?

There's some really useful information here. Getting it out in a more visible way would be useful.

Some UK additions.


  • UK Health Security Agency (for England mostly but some UK-wide), Public Health Wales, Public Health Scotland, Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland) are the public health agencies, at least for infectious diseases, for England (~CDC).
  • Department for Health and Social Care for public health and other policy.
  • Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology for emerging biotech.
  • Cabinet Office for cross-departmental work, including the National Rush Risk Register which had pandemics as the biggest civil threat even pre-COVID.
  • Various other government departments are involved in different ways, the recent National Biosecurity Strategy is the best place to look for everything that is going on.
  • MHRA regulates pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products (~FDA but only medical).
  • UK Biosecurity Leadership Council launched this week. A way of bringing external experts into the policy making process.


There's lots of labs across various institutions depending on what (sub)-field your after. Pretty much everyone relevant in the sciences (including behavioural sciences and some engineering) were included in the SAGE Advisory Groups. UKRI is the parent body for governmental funding is academia and the various sub-bodies ("research councils") do funding of all kinds of pandemic-relevant work (including social sciences, mathematics, engineering, biology).


The Institute for Government is an independent think tank focused on masking government work better. They've done some work (including in collaboration with CLTR) looking at how the COVID response went and emergency preparedness more broadly.

Something like the following (I don't like this wording, but the vibe I'm going for):

EAs and EA organizations taking actions on this list should perform a risk analysis. If they decide to proceed, put in-place mitigations where reasonable and appropriate. If necessary, review the risk analysis; for example, if circumstances change or the situation lasts longer than expected.

I think the should/shouldn't do list is too binary. To make it onto this list it needs to be bag in almost all circumstances, which necessarily makes the list and narrow.

A list of things that you should think carefully before doing, and attempt to mitigate the downside risks if you decide to proceed, is more useful IMO. This can be broader and cover more of the grey area issues.

Very interesting thank you. I was surprised to read that recruiters valued non-formal forecasting experience highly. Do you have this on your CV? If so, how do you phrase it in a way that's legible to lay-people?

Is community health UK or USA based? UK has laws that make winning libel cases easy (at least historically, I think there's been some movement), but USA has very strong protecting for speech. I doubt there's many countries that would be much better than USA, unless the comparative advantage is a non-functional legal system. Perhaps a state with stronger anti-SLAP laws could work though?

I think "probably shouldn't" is fair. In most cases, these should be avoided. However, in scenarios with appropriate mitigations and/or thought given, they can be fine. You've given some examples of doing this.

In terms of the post, it has generated lots of good discussion about which of these norms the community might want to adopt or how they should be modified. Therefore, the post is valuable in its current form. Its a discussion starter IMO, not a list of things that should be cited in future.

All the situations you describe seem probably ok, but it also seems like the relevant org recognised they were potentially bad and took appropriate action. The OP is perhaps a little strong, but their suggestion to conduct an ongoing risk analysis seems fine here.

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