2020 ANNUAL REVIEW
How is our research making a difference?
In 2020, we sought to address the most important questions on our research agenda and to develop our capacities as an organisation that conducts careful and action-relevant research. Our aims were (1) to build the case for using subjective well-being as an outcome measure in impact evaluation and (2) to investigate whether using this new approach would indicate new priorities for the effective altruism community.
Our annual review reflects on the progress we have made, the outcomes of our research so far, and a summary of our plans for 2021 and beyond.
NEW RESEARCH AGENDA
How have our priorities changed?
We’ve also published an updated research agenda and context. This sets out the broad, interdisciplinary area in which our work sits and then specifies the research priorities within that: where additional research seems more (or less) useful, as well as where we expect to focus our efforts in the next one to two years. Our current research priorities fall within three core research projects. Area 2 is our main focus and where the majority of our effort will go.
Area 1: Foundational research into measuring well-being
- Examining how best to convert between different measures.
- Investigating how to compare existence to non-existence using subjective well-being scales.
Area 2: Applied research to evaluate the most cost-effective ways to increase well-being
- Estimating, in terms of subjective well-being, the impact of potentially highly-effective interventions, including: psychotherapy for common mental disorders; cataract surgery for blindness; deworming tablets to improve lifelong earnings.
- Setting out how different moral assumptions—about what well-being is, the badness of death, and population ethics—alter those cost-effectiveness estimates and may alter the priorities.
Area 3: Understanding the wider context of global priorities
- Exploratory research into the plausibility and implications of the longtermist paradigm, the idea that the primary determinant of the value of our actions today is how those actions influence the very long-run future.
Come and work with us
We’re expanding our team and we’re excited to advertise the following vacancies:
Deadline for applications: 23 May 2021
We’re also planning to offer some paid Summer Research Fellowships. This is an opportunity to contribute to our research agenda and work with the team for 6-10 weeks this summer. We’ll be publishing more details about these in the coming weeks but if you’d like to express interest now, please share your details with us in this short form, and we will let you know when applications open.