Our policy work draws on insights from our research into prioritisation. We believe that many high value policy areas remain inappropriately neglected for a range of reasons:

  • Policy decisions are often affected by decision-making heuristics and biases. These can cause society to undervalue work in key areas. This is especially likely when areas involve extremely large numbers, very small probabilities, or large time-scales.
  • Many policy advocates seek to represent a specific constituency or interest group, rather than looking for solutions that improve most people's lives.
  • Many policy advocates are engaged in long-standing debates in which it is hard to make progress, rather than looking at new areas.

Our considerations lead us to prioritise particular policy focus areas. These are areas which we have committed to exploring in some detail because we believe they are especially likely to be important but receive insufficient attention. We review these areas at regular intervals. At the moment, our policy focus areas are in:

  • Global catastrophic risks: We examine and work to prevent potentially low-probability risks which have the capacity to significantly impair civilisation's development or prevent the long-term flourishing of humanity.
  • Research effectiveness: We work to identify ways in which the research ecosystem can support the highest value work and to help researchers pursue the highest value work in their own endeavours.

In addition, we have identified a number of potentially high value policy areas which we are examining. We have not made these focus areas currently because we either believe that we do not ourselves have enough to contribute to them or because we think they are lower priority areas. Currently, we believe that potential contenders for focus areas include:

  • International development
  • Global public health
  • Evidence-based political decision-making
  • Animal welfare and meat alternatives