Your May 2021 EA Newsletter    

Our favorite links this month include: More detail on these below, alongside dozens of job listings and other updates. Enjoy the edition!

— The EA Newsletter Team

News and updates from the world of effective altruism

Planning your high-impact career, one week at a time

80,000 Hours helps people find work with high potential for social impact. They recently shared what may be their most useful resource — an eight-week course that covers their in-depth advice in small doses.
"The course will help you apply everything we’ve learned about career planning [...] It’s designed to be helpful no matter which issues you want to work on or what your skills are, and whether you’re still a student or have been in a job for years."

They’ve also summarized their advice in a single three-page guide, which could be a good starting point.


COVID-19 in India: Charitable recommendations

India has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, and is struggling to cope with a lack of crucial medical supplies (including oxygen). 

While it takes a lot of time and data to get strong cost-effectiveness estimates, a few people in EA have shared their initial thoughts on opportunities in this area: Manya Gupta and Tejas Subramaniam on the EA Forum, and Kelsey Piper in Vox

(Note that the Indian situation is changing quickly, and that these are speculative articles — we don’t mean to imply that any charity they mention is necessarily the best option.)

See also: GiveWell’s 6 tips on disaster relief giving.

Psychedelics and mental health: A high-impact opportunity?

Psychedelic drugs have shown strong potential as treatments for psychiatric conditions, including depression and PTSD. 

The EA Forum just held an “ask me anything” session with three high-profile advocates for psychedelics research:
  • Tim Ferriss (investor, philanthropist, and author of The 4-Hour Workweek)
  • Michael Pollan (journalist, author of How to Change Your Mind)
  • Dr. Matthew W. Johnson (professor of psychiatry, prolific psychedelics researcher)
There were many great answers, including Tim on nonprofit “investing”, Michael on the risks of hype, and Matt on directions for future research.

A new book on clear thinking

If you want to improve the world, it helps to have accurate beliefs. This is a core principle of effective altruism — the use of good evidence and careful reasoning to make things better.

But we often struggle to see things clearly: we rationalize, pick sides, and argue ourselves into believing whatever we want to believe.

For years, the EA Forum has advised authors to fight these habits using scout mindset — “the drive not to make one idea win or another lose, but to see what’s there as honestly and accurately as you can.”

The author of that quote, Julia Galef, just released The Scout Mindset, a book on… how to see what’s there, as honestly and accurately as you can. We highly recommend it! (For more info, check out this review.)

The best malaria vaccine ever discovered

We profiled an early malaria vaccine candidate in March, with cautious optimism. Now, even better news — another malaria vaccine has been shown, after a one-year trial in Burkina Faso, to be the most effective one ever tested. Babies who received the vaccine were about 75% less likely to contract the disease, which currently kills more than 400,000 people each year (most of them children under 5).

To quote Derek Lowe, author of the linked article:

"Congratulations and thanks to the widespread group of researchers who have made this possible – and especially, thanks to 450 infants and toddlers in central Burkina Faso and to their parents. You have done the world a great service."

Other news


Books, events, community projects, and more!

EA Picnic: San Francisco — in-person events are back!

For the first time since 2019, the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) is hosting an in-person event.

EA Picnic: San Francisco takes place on 11 July in the Bay Area. It’s like an outdoor, one-day version of EA Global with no talks — just good conversations and relaxed fun.

Anyone, however new to EA, is welcome to apply — please note that most of the questions are totally optional.

You’ll need to apply by
20 June for general admission, or by 6 June if you’d like to be matched with an experienced community member who can offer personal advice. 

You’ll need to provide proof of a completed course of COVID-19 vaccinations to attend. You can read the full COVID protocol here.

Grants for projects to improve animal welfare

Have an idea for a way to help animals?

The EA Animal Welfare Fund just shared a request for proposals, full of ideas for the types of projects they’d like to fund. Categories include:
  • Alternative protein research, development, and policy
  • Improvements to the welfare of fish, farmed crustaceans, or other farmed invertebrates
  • Animal advocacy in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East
The linked post includes instructions on applying for funding.

Sponsored “charity elections” for high schools

In a charity election, a high school’s students vote on which of three charities they’d like to receive up to $2000 in sponsored funds. The exercise is meant to start conversations and inspire critical thinking, as seen in participants’ testimonials.

Giving What We Can (GWWC) is offering funding for up to 20 high schools to run charity elections. You can learn more about applying on their website, or sponsor an election yourself

All funds will be split between the three charities GWWC has chosen for their current set of elections — Project Healthy Children, Mercy for Animals, and GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund.

Workplace presentations on effective giving

Giving What We Can and One for the World are seeking opportunities to talk about effective giving at workplaces. Using a 'lunch and learn' format, the charities host a one-hour talk to explain how listeners can assess cost effectiveness across multiple cause areas and charities.

If you think your colleagues might be interested in a presentation, please contact

Essay prize for global priorities research

Submissions for the Global Priorities Institute’s (GPI) Essay Prize for Global Priorities Research close on 1 July. Entrants must be graduate students currently pursuing master’s-level courses in philosophy (this includes some early PhD students).

The winning entry will be published as a working paper on GPI’s website, and the winner will receive a prize of £1,000.


Opportunities to work on some of the world's most pressing problems

The 80,000 Hours Job Board features more than 500 positions. We can’t fit them all in the newsletter, so check out the others on their website!

If you’re interested in policy or global development, you may also want to check Tom Wein’s list of social purpose job boards.

If you want to find out about new positions as they arise (or post a position yourself), check out the EA Job Postings group on Facebook.


Applications due soon

Various positions, Centre for Effective Altruism (Oxford, UK or remote) (deadlines range from 1 June to 6 June)

Communications Manager, Wild Animal Initiative (Remote) (apply by 31 May)

Communications Officer, The Good Food Institute (Remote in Europe) (apply by 31 May)

Junior Research Associate, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense, Institute for Defense Analyses (Washington, DC) (apply by 30 May)

Staff Researcher, Global Health and Development, Rethink Priorities (Remote) (apply by 13 June)


Other positions

Community Liaison // External Communications Specialist, Centre for Effective Altruism (Oxford, UK or remote)

Development Intern, Mercy for Animals (Remote)

Intern, Evidence Action Accelerator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (Remote)

Policy Communications Analyst, Georgetown University, Center for Security and Emerging Technology (Washington, DC)

Program Manager, Policy Research // Research Scientist, Societal Harms of AI, OpenAI (San Francisco Bay Area)

Senior Legal Counsel (London, San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, or remote) // Salesforce Administrator (London or remote), Founders Pledge

Software Engineer // Visual Designer, Wave (Remote)

Various Positions, GiveWell (San Francisco Bay Area or remote)

Various Positions, Open Philanthropy (San Francisco Bay Area or remote)

Various Positions, Ought (San Francisco Bay Area)

Various Positions, The Good Food Institute (Several locations)

Timeless Classic

Ideas that have shaped the way we think about doing good

Should an impact-focused donor prioritize well-understood causes with lots of evidence behind them? Or should they look at areas that are more speculative, but have the potential to be far more impactful?

This is a complex question; no single article will answer it. But in 2019, Open Philanthropy (the largest EA-aligned foundation) published an interesting view: GiveWell’s Top Charities Are (Increasingly) Hard to Beat.

In the article, Open Philanthropy compares the estimated impact of its (more speculative) grants to that of GiveWell’s top charities (backed by stronger evidence). While many of their grants seem to be at least as cost-effective as GiveWell’s “baseline” — giving cash directly to poor people — only a few were competitive with the charities GiveWell recommends most highly, which may be ~10 times as cost-effective as cash transfers.

This analysis isn’t definitive. The estimates only apply to some of Open Philanthropy’s grants (those meant to help people in the near term), and they’re based on rough calculations. But if you’ve considered higher- and lower-risk approaches in your own giving, the article may be worth a read.
Organizational Updates

You can see updates from a wide range of EA-aligned organizations on the EA Forum. (Organizations submit updates, which we edit for clarity.)
We hope you found this edition useful!

If you’ve taken action because of the Newsletter and haven’t taken our impact survey, please do — it helps us improve future editions.

(Actions we'd love to hear about include donating to charity, applying to a job, or joining a community group.)

Finally, if you have feedback for us, positive or negative, let us know!

– The Effective Altruism Newsletter Team
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A community project of the Centre for Effective Altruism, a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1149828) – Centre for Effective Altruism, Littlegate House, St Ebbes Street, Oxford
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