Meet the team

Staff

Dr Michael Plant

Dr Michael Plant

Founder and Director

Whilst studying for his PhD in moral philosophy at the University of Oxford, Michael realised there was a pressing need for more research on the most cost-effective, evidence-based ways to improve global happiness – he founded the Happier Lives Institute in 2019 as a result. As well as directing HLI, Michael is also a Research Fellow at Oxford’s Wellbeing Research Centre. Before that, he was a research assistant to Peter Singer, a researcher for the Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP, and founded Hippo, a happiness-tracking app.

Joel McGuire

Joel McGuire

Research Analyst

Joel has a Masters in Economics and Data Science from the University of Oklahoma, graduating top of his class. In his previous social science research he studied goal-achievement using novel datasets, structurally modelled migration within the US labour market, and mapped the geography of prospective language across the US.
Samuel Dupret

Samuel Dupret

Research Analyst

Samuel has a Masters in Cognitive and Decision Sciences from University College London, gaining a distinction. His research interests include the strengths and flaws of different research methodologies, causality, morality, decision-making, and whistleblowing.

Joy Bittner

Joy Bittner

Operations Manager

Joy joined HLI after 13 years of working in operations for small non-profits and social businesses in Latin America. Originally from the United States, she has been living in Ecuador for the past eight years. In addition to her work with HLI, Joy is the founder of Vida Plena, a pilot project to provide mental health services to low-income populations in South America.

Barry Grimes

Barry Grimes

Communications Manager

Barry joined the team full-time in 2021, but he’s been advising HLI on communications strategy since 2018. He previously worked at the Centre for Effective Altruism, organising EA Global and EAGx conferences. Barry has worked in a wide range of communications roles across the public, private and non-profit sectors for over 13 years.

Trustees

Peter Brietbart

Peter Brietbart

Chair

Peter is the CEO of the anxiety management app Mind Ease. He is a veteran of the effective altruism community with a background in philosophy, entrepreneurship, and project management.
Dr Samantha Bernecker

Dr Samantha Bernecker

Sam is a Research Scientist at BetterUp. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Before joining BetterUp, she was a Clinical Research Scientist at Happify Health and a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group.

Dr Caspar Kaiser

Dr Caspar Kaiser

Caspar is a Research Fellow at the Wellbeing Research Centre and a Research Officer at the Institute for New Economic Thinking where he completed his DPhil in Social Policy in December 2020. His research focuses on the measurement and determinants of wellbeing.

Advisors

Prof Julian Jamison

Prof Julian Jamison

Julian is a behavioural development economist with a particular focus on health and welfare analysis. He is currently Professor of Economics at the University of Exeter and works with the World Bank and multiple governments around the world.

Karolina Sarek

Karolina Sarek

Karolina is the co-founder and Director of Research at Charity Entrepreneurship. She also serves as a fund manager for the Effective Altruism Animal Welfare Fund, a mentor at WANBAM, and a consultant for various effective altruism non-profits. 

Prof Peter Singer

Prof Peter Singer

Peter is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He works on practical ethics, and is best known for the book Animal Liberation and his writings about global poverty.

Dr Tatjana Višak

Dr Tatjana Višak

Tatjana is a philosopher specialising in ethics and political philosophy. She is currently based in the Department of Philosophy and Economics at the University of Bayreuth.

Summer Research Fellows

2022 Cohort: Thomas Beuchot | Jack Hawke | Harry Lloyd | Madhav Malhotra | Conrad Samuelsson| Mirela Zaneva

2021 Cohort: Matt Coleman | Frank Hong | Chihiro Ito | Niall Maher | Amarins Veringa | Akash Wasil

Contributors

Former volunteers and team members who have supported our work:

Kaleem Ahmid | Jide Alaga | Justus Baumann | Ethan Bialick | Lucia Coulter | Carmen Csilla Medina | Clare Donaldson | Brendan Eappen | Derek Foster | Tom Houlden | Ulf Johansson | Florian Kuhlmeier | Marcin Kowrygo | Fin Moorhouse | Nikita Patel | Teis Rasmussen | Vanessa See | Sid Sharma |  Jasper Synowski​ | Alan Taylor | Eemaan Thind | Sonia Vallentin | Caitlin Walker