Build a community of researchers and advocates
Given the enormity and complexity of this problem, we need more people working on finding solutions to it, including both researchers with domain expertise and advocates promoting concern for the cause area. To build this community we need to identify paths to engaging and recruiting talented researchers and advocates.
- 1 Strategic Goal
- 2 Activities
- 2.1 Run a small-scale ‘Request for Proposals’ (RFP) grants competition
- 2.2 Reach out to academic researchers
- 2.3 Reach out to research institutes
- 2.4 Draft and submit content to science media
- 2.5 Publicise our content online
- 2.6 Attend or present at conferences
- 2.7 Improve the accessibility of existing WAS research
Run a small-scale ‘Request for Proposals’ (RFP) grants competition
The purpose of this activity to evaluate the level and nature of interest in WAS research from academic researchers, domain experts at research institutes and independent researchers.
- Organise and publicise a small-scale RFP grants competition targeted primarily at academic researchers and domain experts (but open to independent researchers as well).
- Evaluate applications, distribute grants and manage the progress of grantees.
- Academic researchers;
- Domain experts at research institutes; and
- Independent researchers.
Reach out to academic researchers
The purpose of this activity is to encourage more wild-animal suffering (WAS) research in academia. There are many potential paths we could take to accomplish this and it’s not obvious that one is significantly more likely to be successful than another. Therefore we will trial a few activities and assess our capacity to maintain them along with their cost-effectiveness.
- Conduct a study exploring early field growth in academia and assessing the value of different strategies. These strategies may include: establishing welfare biology as an academic discipline, funding WAS-relevant research in existing disciplines (such as biology and ecology), or partnering with individual academic researchers.
- Identify up to the top 30 schools according to the quality of their research in life sciences and reach out to learn more about the feasibility of including WAS research in their departmental or associated institute work.
- Identify existing papers on WAS or related to WAS and reach out to the academics who authored them and/or the universities at which they are employed.
The exact nature of our activities may change based on feedback and input from academics.
Within relevant fields in life science, such as (but not exclusive to) zoology, ecology, environmental science, evolutionary biology, neurobiology, etc.
- Postdoctoral researchers;
- PhD students;
- Masters students;
- Promising undergraduate students; and
- Effective altruists with relevant tertiary degrees.
Reach out to research institutes
The purpose of this activity is to encourage more WAS research from domain experts. It’s not obvious that we should favour academia over independent research institutes or vice versa. There may be constraints to working within academia that hinder early progress in expanding WAS research. Independent research institutes are likely to be more flexible (and possibly also more receptive) to early stage, exploratory ideas.
- Identify up to 10 research institutes focused on life sciences and reach out to learn more about the feasibility of including WAS research in their work.
The exact nature of our activities may change based on our experience reaching out to research institutes.
- Researchers employed at, seconded to, or otherwise associated with institutes.
Draft and submit content to science media
The purpose of this activity is to raise awareness of wild-animal suffering through mainstream, long-form media platforms with an emphasis on or interest in science. For example, New Scientist or Scientific American. There is no guarantee that our pitches will be accepted and it is possible that such mainstream pieces are perceived as controversial, therefore, we are likely to try this only on a few occasions where we have a particularly compelling angle or interesting research findings and then assess the value of our efforts.
- Compile a list of long-form magazines with an interest in scientific content.
- Draft and submit up to 10 pitches.
- Biologists, ecologists, and animal welfare scientists; and
- Individuals with a keen interest in life science.
Publicise our content online
The purpose of this activity is to ensure our content is accessible to researchers and advocates.
- Website and online forums. We will continue to publish our research, project updates, and blog posts on our website. It is our main avenue for public promotion. We will also share relevant or interesting posts on forums such as the Effective Altruism forum.
- Social media. We will continue to keep our audience informed of our progress, engage in discussions, and network through social media platforms.
- Effective animal advocates;
- Effective altruists; and
Attend or present at conferences
The purposes of this activity are twofold. Firstly, to stay up to date with progress on relevant research and policy. Secondly, to raise awareness of WAS and share research findings with advocates, academics, representatives of research institutes, and other not-for-profit organizations.
- Attend all EA Global conferences and apply for opportunities to present our work, give talks, or host workshops.
- Compile a list of conferences focused on animal welfare, animal studies in academia or animal advocacy and prioritize attending 2 – 3 of these in 2018 based on expected informational and networking value.
- Effective altruists;
- Effective animal advocates; and
Improve the accessibility of existing WAS research
There is a fair amount of open research focused on or related to wild-animal suffering for those interested in learning about the cause area. However, it can be difficult to know where to look, and time-consuming to figure out what to read. To lower the barrier for advocates and researchers, we want to provide an easily accessible, central source of information for wild-animal suffering content. In lowering the barrier to information, our goal is that it increases engagement with the cause area which could help us expand research efforts aimed at identifying large-scale, net-positive interventions.
- Collaborate on the development of a library of wild-animal suffering research and content on our website.
- Organise a regular online Q&A for anyone interested in learning more about the cause area or maintain a FAQ on our website.
- Effective altruists;
- Effective animal advocates; and