EA Organization Updates: November 2020

post by Aaron Gertler (aarongertler) · 2020-12-21T12:01:02.813Z · EA · GW · None comments


  Organization Updates
    Advocacy Careers
    Charity Evaluators
    Existential Risk Initiative
    for Enabling EA Learning and Research (CEEALAR)
    for Effective Altruism
    for Human-Compatible AI
    for the Study of Existential Risk
    on Long-Term Risk
    Welfare Initiative
    of Humanity Institute
    What We Can
    Catastrophic Risk Institute
    Good Food Institute
    Lives Institute
    Humane League
    Animal Initiative
  Add your own update
No comments

These monthly posts originated as the "Updates" section of the EA Newsletter.

You can also see last month's updates [EA · GW], or a repository of past newsletters [? · GW].

Organization Updates

80,000 Hours

This month, 80,000 Hours released [EA · GW] a new, in-depth career planning process that's useful no matter what problems you're interested in working on.

It’s a set of prompts that take you through how to make a career plan, checking you’ve asked yourself the most important questions, are aware of the best resources, and have taken the most useful steps to investigate.

For the podcast, Rob Wiblin spoke with Tristan Harris about the political and social problems created by social media and what we might do about them, and Arden Koehler spoke to Benjamin Todd about what the core claims of effective altruism really are.

Finally, they set up a live open thread [? · GW] on the EA Forum where you can ask for advice on career questions and offer advice to others.

Anima International

Anima International’s Eating Better project revealed that 54% of Russians are ready to include plant-based meat alternatives in their diet. The report and the promotion of plant-based meat in Russia was covered in an article in Vegconomist

Anima International (AI) has been focusing on promoting and monitoring the decline of the fur industry in Europe. AI operates in a number of countries in which the industry could potentially be banned, so each part of the organization is pushing for that and securing news coverage on the subject across Europe.

Biedronka (Jerónimo Martins), the biggest retailer chain in Poland, published a press release saying they will phase out cage eggs by 31 December 2021 — four years earlier than the date to which they originally committed. Anima International was involved in the initial negotiations around this commitment. 

News broke in November that Rasmus Prehn, the new Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, will work toward a complete phasing out of cage eggs. A 2019 survey conducted for Anima by YouGov showed that seven out of 10 Danes believe that it is unacceptable to keep hens in cages. 

Open Cages UK released a report co-written by David Wiebers, a neurology professor and physician, and Andrew Knight, a professor of animal welfare/ethics and veterinarian. The report, titled “A British Pandemic: The Cruelty and Danger of Supermarket Chicken”, reveals the potential for catastrophic new pandemics arising from the UK food system. It was featured in The Independent

Animal Advocacy Careers

Animal Advocacy Careers (AAC) released a new skills profile (“technical research for animal product alternatives”) to help individuals understand whether seeking to develop this kind of expertise could be one of the most effective ways for them to help animals. This skills profile was based partly on AAC’s newly-released “Animal Product Alternatives For-Profit Roles Spot-Check”, which contains data about the companies working on these products and available jobs at those companies.

AAC also published “A Brief Overview of Hiring and Turnover Costs Research” and added 17 new roles to their job board.

Animal Charity Evaluators

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) is excited to announce that they have published their 2020 charity reviews. This year, they recommend four Top Charities. The Albert Schweitzer Foundation, The Good Food Institute, and The Humane League have retained their status from last year, and — for the first time — Wild Animal Initiative joins their ranks! 

ACE also recommends nine Standout Charities: Anima International, Compassion in World Farming USA, Essere Animali, Faunalytics, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, the Good Food Fund, Sinergia Animal, Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira, and Vegetarianos Hoy.

They published a blog post on the process leading to their 2020 recommendations.

Animal Ethics

A generous grant has allowed Animal Ethics to begin several long-term research projects in wild animal suffering and feasible interventions such as vaccination and contraception.

They recently published a blog post titledThe potential to reduce the suffering of animals in the wild using eDNA sampling.” The post explores the potential of this technique to revolutionize our ability to help wild animals in the near future.

Aditya SK, Animal Ethics’ coordinator in India, presented at EAGx Asia-Pacific on expanding animal advocacy and concern for wild animal suffering in India.  

Animal Ethics can now be followed on Twitter in French in addition to English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative

BERI is running a public fundraiser from now until the end of the year. They’re hoping to raise $50,000 to support new trial collaborations in 2021. For more information, see their blog post, which also summarizes much of their 2020 activity.

Centre for Enabling EA Learning and Research (CEEALAR)

Centre for Effective Altruism

CEA recently published their 2020 annual review (a summary of recent activities and impact), as well as their plans for 2021. They are currently fundraising to support their work in three areas:

If you’d like to support their work, you can donate here.

Center for Human-Compatible AI

NeurIPS 2020 accepted four more papers co-authored by CHAI researchers:

The Survival and Flourishing Fund donated $799,000 to CHAI, sent to the UC Berkeley Foundation, as well as $247,000 to the Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative to be used for the BERI-CHAI Collaboration. On Giving Tuesday, BERI also received over $46,000. CHAI gives many thanks to all the generous donors who continue to support their work.

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

CSER held their third major international conference over 16-19 November, focusing on key themes from Martin Rees’ seminal 2003 book Our Final Century and reflecting on the development of the field of global catastrophic risk research. Speakers included Martin Rees, Bentley Allan, Francesco Calogero, Nancy Connell, Joan Diamond, Doug Erwin, Jason Hickel, Karim Jebari, Lindley Johnson, Ndidi Nwaneri, Stuart Parkinson, Malcolm Potts, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Heather Roff, Anders Sandberg, and Sheri Wells-Jensen. Videos of all the speakers and panels are now available online.

Shahar Avin and Amritha Jayanti published a new report, “It Takes a Village: The Shared Responsibility of 'Raising' an Autonomous Weapon,” highlighting complementary and contradicting conceptions of future autonomous weapons systems.

CSER welcomes three new staff members: Dr. Jake Ainscough and Akaraseth Puranasamriddhi joined as research assistants in Climate Risk and Sustainable Finance, working with Dr. Ellen Quigley, and Laura Elmer will be CSER’s new administrative assistant and PA to the management team.

CSER published a comic based on their recent horizon scan to identify bioengineering trends that will be important over the next five to 15 years. The comic appeared in eLife earlier this year. It was produced by Myrto Gkiouli and Efdemon, and is available in English and Spanish.

The latest digest of eight recent papers identified as relevant to the study of existential risk by CSER’s TERRA machine learning tool during November 2020 is now available.

Center on Long-Term Risk

The Center on Long-Term Risk published their plans for next year and a review of 2020 [EA · GW]. They are raising funds to implement those plans. 

They also announced their Intro Seminar to S-Risks [EA · GW], which will take place in February. Applications close on 4 January.

Charity Entrepreneurship

The first application round for the Charity Entrepreneurship Incubation Program 2021 is now open! Apply via this form by 15 January

The program will be held online from 28 June to 27 August 2021. Depending on the COVID-19 situation, CE may also organize part of the course offline for those who can travel to London (all costs covered). Successful applicants will receive a free two-month intensive training in management, fundraising, and impact analysis — everything needed to start a charity! If you finish the program with a co-founder and a high-impact charity startup, you can apply for a seed grant of up to $100,000. 

To learn more, visit CE’s Incubation Program website.


Faunalytics published their newest study: “Beliefs About Chickens And Fish & Their Relation To Animal-Positive Behaviors.” Their findings reveal what beliefs people currently have about these animals and how common those beliefs are among US consumers. They also looked at how each belief relates to people’s willingness to take action in support of chickens and fish. Read the full results here.

Their research library includes new study summaries on cultured meat and European attitudes toward fish welfare, and new blog posts on the psychology behind charitable giving and evaluating Faunalytics’ own effectiveness.

Faunalytics has already begun work on five new studies and welcomes donations to support their upcoming research.

Fish Welfare Initiative

As they wrap up their research stage and begin the implementation of their work, FWI has released three new research pieces:

They also published a post announcing their strategy for 2021: working with other NGOs to incorporate higher welfare practices into fish farming in India.

FWI is now hiring for a Program Coordinator to advance their work in India. To fund this work, they are currently fundraising and welcome donations.

Future of Humanity Institute

This month, FHI held their annual retreat to discuss research directions and future projects. The Centre for the Governance of AI (GovAI) also held their annual strategy retreat, and Alexis Carlier joined as Project Manager.

There were several publications from the Macrostrategy team: Nick Bostrom and Carl Shulman published “Sharing the World with Digital Minds,” Eric Drexler and Anders Sandberg co-authored “The Timing of Evolutionary Transitions Suggests Intelligent Life Is Rare,” Silvia Milano co-authored “Ethical aspects of multi-stakeholder recommendation systems,” and Nick Bostrom and Anders Sandberg co-authored “Recognizing the Diversity of Cognitive Enhancements.”

Following the publication of his book The Precipice, Toby Ord was featured in a profile in The New Yorker, and wrote op-eds in Project Syndicate and The Economist


GiveWell’s annual recommendations for individual donors are now online! These recommendations are the culmination of thousands of hours of research into numerous criteria including charities’ effectiveness and room for funding. Their top recommendation remains to give to GiveWell's Maximum Impact Fund

New Incentives just joined GiveWell's list of Top Charities! New Incentives was a GiveWell Incubation Grant recipient; after closely following their progress over several years, GiveWell is excited to see this program meet their top charity criteria. 

GiveWell is currently seeking researchers to identify, analyze, and compare the giving opportunities that can most cost-effectively save or improve the lives of the global poor:

Giving What We Can

This giving season, Giving What We Can encourages you to join (and invite others to join) their Pledge Drive and the Effective Giving Advocacy Challenge. With giving season in full swing and a new year around the corner, this is the best time to promote effective giving!

They have also combined a cause-diverse list of giving recommendations, updated their list of ways to share ideas, and created a guide on how to link to their website.

Giving What We Can was recently featured twice on Vox, with Toby Ord explaining the pledge 11 years on and Kelsey Piper making the case for giving sooner rather than later. Waking Up released a new series, “Doing Good,” with Will MacAskill and Sam Harris.

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute

In a recent blog post, GCRI looked back at what they accomplished in 2020 and at what they hope to accomplish in 2021. In general, they plan to continue doing policy outreach, building the global catastrophic risk community, conducting research that advances understanding of global catastrophic risk, and growing their staff and network of external collaborators. GCRI depends on your support and hopes you will consider them in your donations this year.

GCRI is also pleased to announce that “Long-Term Trajectories of Human Civilization” won Emerald Publishing’s 2020 Literati Award for Outstanding Paper. GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum led a group of 14 scholars on the paper.

The Good Food Institute

Happier Lives Institute

Happier Lives Institute has published two new working papers: a meta-analysis of the effect of cash transfers on subjective well-being and a theoretical paper on the comparability of subjective scales. HLI has also produced a problem area report on pain and a short introduction to the philosophy of well-being.

The Humane League

Leveraging the success of a recent Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) secured from Aldi in Germany, THL and coalition partners in the Open Wing Alliance (OWA) negotiated with the supermarket giant to extend this policy to its Spanish market. This new commitment will spare approximately 17,000,000 chickens raised for meat from some of the worst abuses on factory farms. THL UK also secured Better Chicken Commitments from restaurant chains Franco Manca and Côte Brasseries.

THL also continues to invest in global efforts to reduce the suffering of egg-laying hens. Last month, THL and the OWA secured a global cage-free policy from Meliá Hotels and Resorts, while THL Japan secured cage-free commitments from restaurant chain Kijima, as well as restaurant and retailer San-no-hachi. 

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE) recognized THL as a Top Charity for the seventh year in a row.

Open Philanthropy

Open Philanthropy announced grants including $3.6M to The Humane League to support the Open Wing Alliance, $3.2M to the University of Glasgow to support research on malaria prevention, $275K to Direct Relief to support the COVID-19 Action Fund for Africa, and $150K to Free Hearts to support criminal justice reform work. They also published suggestions for individual donors from Open Philanthropy staff.  

Rethink Priorities

This month, Jason Schukraft published a summary [EA · GW] of Rethink Priorities’ research into the intensity of valenced experiences across species, and Derek Foster published the first post in a series on measuring subjective wellbeing in humans [EA · GW]. Rethink Priorities also published a summary of their activities in 2020 and strategy for 2021 [EA · GW], and hosted an AMA on the EA Forum [EA · GW].


Suvita is entering the final stages of their immunisation ambassadors programme pilot in Bihar, India, with promising early indicators supporting their theory of change. They continue to build collaborative relationships with government and academia. They have also launched a year-end crowdfunding campaign.


WANBAM are delighted to announce that they are now accepting Expressions of Interest for mentees. To provide an insight into their work, they created a video on what their community most values about their work here. They would love to hear from you if you are a woman, non-binary person, or trans person of any gender with an interest in pursuing a high-impact career path in an EA-aligned field. Applications will remain open until 1 January 2021. For more information, please see their website.

Wild Animal Initiative

Animal Charity Evaluators recognized Wild Animal Initiative as a Top Charity and one of the four most impactful giving opportunities in effective animal advocacy. Open Philanthropy’s animal welfare experts also personally recommended Wild Animal Initiative to individual donors. WAI held an open forum [EA · GW] to discuss their ACE recommendation, room for more funding, and plans for growth

Last month, the WAI Research Team connected with experts in prairie dog fertility control, mathematical ecology, and wild animal aging. WAI researcher Luke Hecht reviewed the methods used in cause-specific mortality research and their limitations. He also summarized what is and isn’t known about how wild animals die

Add your own update

If your organization isn't shown here, you can provide an update in a comment.

You can also email me if you'd like to be one of the organizations I ask for updates each month. (I may not accept all such requests. Whether I include an org depends on its size, age, focus, track record, etc.)

None comments

Comments sorted by top scores.