Meet our new team members

1 September 2022

We’re delighted to welcome three new members to our team:


  • Dr Lily Yu (Grants Strategist)
  • Dr Ryan Dwyer (Senior Researcher)
  • Rachel Strate (Operations Manager)
Dr Lily Yu

Dr Lily Yu

Grants Strategist

Lily has worked at the intersection of philanthropy, research, innovation, and international development over the past decade. During this time, she has managed and advised on a range of grant-based programmes, impact investing initiatives, and policy recommendations to promote inclusive economic development and social innovation across the Asia-Pacific and Europe. She has a PhD in Neuroscience from University College London and was a Fellow at the University of Tokyo.

“Happier Lives Institute is doing some of the most important work on neglected problems in the field of global wellbeing and mental health. I’m excited to collaborate with donors, practitioners and policymakers to co-design and scale high-impact, cost-effective interventions to increase global happiness.”

Dr Ryan Dwyer

Dr Ryan Dwyer

Senior Researcher

Ryan joins HLI after completing his PhD in Social Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He helped conduct the first randomised controlled trial to investigate the impact of cash transfers for people experiencing homelessness and has explored how large cash donations can impact happiness and the spread of generosity. His prior projects have explored the relationship between happiness and meaning, the impact of technology on our social lives, and the effect of volunteering on well-being.

“Understanding what makes people’s lives go well is essential for doing good in the world. I joined HLI because I am inspired by the mission to work out what actions we can take to do the most good. This challenge is core to our humanity, and I am excited to work with the HLI team and collaborators from diverse backgrounds to make the world a happier place.”

Rachel Strate

Rachel Strate

Operations Manager

Rachel has 12 years of experience leading operations and financial management for non-profits in South Africa. She has worked with a small start-up focused on business management education, a medium-sized company focused on the prevention of HIV, and a pan-African organisation providing data journalism to foster civic engagement. Originally from the United States, Rachel has been living in Cape Town since 2010. She has a BS in Finance & Marketing and was a Fellow with LGT Venture Philanthropy.

“I’m passionate about using an evidence-based approach to improve global mental health and wellbeing. HLI’s use of subjective wellbeing measures to identify the most cost-effective funding opportunities makes them thought leaders in this space and I’m excited to contribute by improving HLI’s operational processes and supporting their continuing growth.”