1.1 Programs that engage with promising young people
We are seeking proposals for programs that engage with young people who seem particularly promising in terms of their ability to improve the long-term future (and may have interest in doing so).
Here, by “particularly promising”, we mean young people who seem well-suited to building aptitudes that have high potential for improving the long-term future. Examples from the linked post include aptitudes for conducting research, advancing into top institutional roles, founding or supporting organizations, communicating ideas, and building communities of people with similar interests and goals, among others. Downstream, we hope these individuals will be fits for what we believe to be priority paths for improving the long-term future, such as AI alignment research, technical and policy work reducing risks from advances in synthetic biology, career paths involving senior roles in the national security community, and roles writing and speaking about relevant ideas, among others.
We’re interested in supporting a wide range of possible programs, including summer or winter camps, scholarship or fellowship programs, seminars, conferences, workshops, and retreats. We think programs with the following characteristics are most likely to be highly impactful:
- They engage people ages 15 – 25 who seem particularly promising in terms of their ability to improve the long-term future, for example people who are unusually gifted in STEM, economics, philosophy, writing, speaking, or debate.
- They cover effective altruism (EA), rationality, longtermism, global catastrophic risks, or related topics.
- They involve having interested young people interact with people currently working to improve the long-term future.
Examples of such programs that Open Philanthropy has supported include SPARC, ESPR, the SERI and FHI summer research programs, and the recent EA Debate Championship. However, we think there is room for many more such programs.
We especially encourage program ideas which:
- Have the potential to engage a large number of people (hundreds to tens of thousands) per year, though we think starting out with smaller groups can be a good way to gain experience with this kind of work.
- Engage with groups of people who don’t have many ways to enter relevant intellectual communities (e.g. they are not in areas with high concentrations of people motivated to improve the long-term future).
- Include staff who have experience working with members of the groups they hope to engage with—in particular, experience talking with young people about new ideas while being respectful of their intellectual autonomy and encouraging independent intellectual development.
We encourage people to have a low bar for submitting proposals to our program, but note that we view this as a sensitive area: we think programs like these have the potential to do harm by putting young people in environments where they could have negative experiences. Nicole Ross at the Centre for Effective Altruism (email [email protected]) is available to provide advice on these kinds of risks.