Open Philanthropy donations made (filtered to cause areas matching Scientific research)

This is an online portal with information on donations that were announced publicly (or have been shared with permission) that were of interest to Vipul Naik. The git repository with the code for this portal, as well as all the underlying data, is available on GitHub. All payment amounts are in current United States dollars (USD). The repository of donations is being seeded with an initial collation by Issa Rice as well as continued contributions from him (see his commits and the contract work page listing all financially compensated contributions to the site) but all responsibility for errors and inaccuracies belongs to Vipul Naik. Current data is preliminary and has not been completely vetted and normalized; if sharing a link to this site or any page on this site, please include the caveat that the data is preliminary (if you want to share without including caveats, please check with Vipul Naik). We expect to have completed the first round of development by the end of March 2022. See the about page for more details. Also of interest: pageview data on analytics.vipulnaik.com, tutorial in README, request for feedback to EA Forum.

Table of contents

Basic donor information

ItemValue
Country United States
Affiliated organizations (current or former; restricted to potential donees or others relevant to donation decisions)GiveWell Good Ventures
Best overview URLhttps://causeprioritization.org/Open%20Philanthropy%20Project
Facebook username openphilanthropy
Websitehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/
Donations URLhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants
Twitter usernameopen_phil
PredictionBook usernameOpenPhilUnofficial
Page on philosophy informing donationshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/about/vision-and-values
Grant application process pagehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/guide-for-grant-seekers
Regularity with which donor updates donations datacontinuous updates
Regularity with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)continuous updates
Lag with which donor updates donations datamonths
Lag with which Donations List Website updates donations data (after donor update)days
Data entry method on Donations List WebsiteManual (no scripts used)

Brief history: The Open Philanthropy Project (Open Phil for short) spun off from GiveWell, starting as GiveWell Labs in 2011, beginning to make strong progress in 2013, and formally separating from GiveWell in June 2017

Brief notes on broad donor philosophy and major focus areas: The Open Philanthropy Project is focused on openness in two ways: open to ideas about cause selection, and open in explaining what they are doing. It has endorsed "hits-based giving" and is working on areas of AI risk, biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, and other global catastrophic risks, criminal justice reform (United States), animal welfare, and some other areas.

Notes on grant decision logistics: See https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-grantmaking-so-far-approach-and-process for the general grantmaking process and https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/questions-we-ask-ourselves-making-grant for more questions that grant investigators are encouraged to consider. Every grant has a grant investigator that we call the influencer here on Donations List Website; for focus areas that have Program Officers, the grant investigator is usually the Program Officer. The grant investigator has been included in grants published since around July 2017. Grants usually need approval from an executive; however, some grant investigators have leeway to make "discretionary grants" where the approval process is short-circuited; see https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/discretionary-grants for more. Note that the term "discretionary grant" means something different for them compared to government agencies, see https://www.facebook.com/vipulnaik.r/posts/10213483361534364 for more.

Notes on grant publication logistics: Every publicly disclosed grant has a writeup published at the time of public disclosure, but the writeups vary significantly in length. Grant writeups are usually written by somebody other than the grant investigator, but approved by the grant investigator as well as the grantee. Grants have three dates associated with them: an internal grant decision date (that is not publicly revealed but is used in some statistics on total grant amounts decided by year), a grant date (which we call donation date; this is the date of the formal grant commitment, which is the published grant date), and a grant announcement date (which we call donation announcement date; the date the grant is announced to the mailing list and the grant page made publicly visible). Lags are a few months between decision and grant, and a few months between grant and announcement, due to time spent with grant writeup approval.

Notes on grant financing: See https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/guide-for-grant-seekers or https://www.openphilanthropy.org/about/who-we-are for more information. Grants generally come from the Open Philanthropy Project Fund, a donor-advised fund managed by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, with most of its money coming from Good Ventures. Some grants are made directly by Good Ventures, and political grants may be made by the Open Philanthropy Action Fund. At least one grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/criminal-justice-reform/working-families-party-prosecutor-reforms-new-york was made by Cari Tuna personally. The majority of grants are financed by the Open Philanthropy Project Fund; however, the source of financing of a grant is not always explicitly specified, so it cannot be confidently assumed that a grant with no explicit listed financing is financed through the Open Philanthropy Project Fund; see the comment https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/october-2017-open-thread?page=2#comment-462 for more information. Funding for multi-year grants is usually disbursed annually, and the amounts are often equal across years, but not always. The fact that a grant is multi-year, or the distribution of the grant amount across years, are not always explicitly stated on the grant page; see https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/october-2017-open-thread?page=2#comment-462 for more information. Some grants to universities are labeled "gifts" but this is a donee classification, based on different levels of bureaucratic overhead and funder control between grants and gifts; see https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/october-2017-open-thread?page=2#comment-462 for more information.

Miscellaneous notes: Most GiveWell-recommended grants made by Good Ventures and listed in the Open Philanthropy Project database are not listed on Donations List Website as being under Open Philanthropy Project. Specifically, GiveWell Incubation Grants are not included (these are listed at https://donations.vipulnaik.com/donor.php?donor=GiveWell+Incubation+Grants with donor GiveWell Incubation Grants), and grants made by Good Ventures to GiveWell top and standout charities are also not included (these are listed at https://donations.vipulnaik.com/donor.php?donor=Good+Ventures%2FGiveWell+top+and+standout+charities with donor Good Ventures/GiveWell top and standout charities). Grants to support GiveWell operations are not included here; they can be found at https://donations.vipulnaik.com/donor.php?donor=Good+Ventures%2FGiveWell+support with donor "Good Ventures/GiveWell support".The investment https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/impossible-foods in Impossible Foods is not included because it does not fit our criteria for a donation, and also because no amount was included. All other grants publicly disclosed by the Open Philanthropy Project that are not GiveWell Incubation Grants or GiveWell top and standout charity grants should be included. Grants disclosed by grantees but not yet disclosed by the Open Philanthropy Project are not included; some of them may be listed at https://issarice.com/open-philanthropy-project-non-grant-funding

Donor donation statistics

Cause areaCountMedianMeanMinimum10th percentile 20th percentile 30th percentile 40th percentile 50th percentile 60th percentile 70th percentile 80th percentile 90th percentile Maximum
Overall 46 1,170,000 2,482,305 40,000 150,000 225,000 495,000 825,000 1,170,000 1,738,500 2,368,300 2,970,000 5,000,000 17,500,000
Scientific research 45 1,214,437 2,526,356 40,000 150,000 200,000 495,000 825,000 1,214,437 1,738,500 2,368,300 2,970,000 5,000,000 17,500,000
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 1 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000

Donation amounts by cause area and year

If you hover over a cell for a given cause area and year, you will get a tooltip with the number of donees and the number of donations.

Note: Cause area classification used here may not match that used by donor for all cases.

Cause area Number of donations Number of donees Total 2019 2018 2017 2016
Scientific research (filter this donor) 45 37 113,686,029.00 34,431,825.00 23,390,766.00 47,549,544.00 8,313,894.00
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness (filter this donor) 1 1 500,000.00 0.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00
Total 46 37 114,186,029.00 34,431,825.00 23,890,766.00 47,549,544.00 8,313,894.00

Graph of spending by cause area and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by cause area and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by subcause area and year

If you hover over a cell for a given subcause area and year, you will get a tooltip with the number of donees and the number of donations.

For the meaning of “classified” and “unclassified”, see the page clarifying this.

Subcause area Number of donations Number of donees Total 2019 2018 2017 2016
Scientific research 18 16 36,965,878.00 0.00 17,410,766.00 16,717,500.00 2,837,612.00
Scientific research/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 1 1 17,500,000.00 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/malaria/gene drive testing and governance 1 1 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 0.00
Scientific research/transformative R01 4 4 10,900,544.00 0.00 0.00 10,900,544.00 0.00
Scientific research/transformative basic science 4 4 7,648,300.00 6,868,300.00 780,000.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/human health and wellbeing 5 5 7,148,525.00 2,148,525.00 5,000,000.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/transformative basic science/stem cell research 1 1 4,000,000.00 4,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/neurobiology 1 1 2,970,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2,970,000.00
Scientific research/malaria/gene drive 1 1 2,350,000.00 0.00 0.00 2,350,000.00 0.00
Scientific research/tools and techniques 1 1 2,250,000.00 2,250,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/malaria/gene drive testing 1 1 1,228,845.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1,228,845.00
Scientific research/malaria/mosquito cryopreservation 1 1 1,214,437.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1,214,437.00
Scientific research/trasnformative basic science 1 1 1,170,000.00 1,170,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Scientific research 1 1 500,000.00 0.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/human health and wellbeing/pain studies 1 1 495,000.00 495,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/transformative basic science/Innocentive challenge 2 2 200,000.00 0.00 200,000.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/antiviral and inhibitor work 1 1 81,500.00 0.00 0.00 81,500.00 0.00
Scientific research/plant pathology 1 1 63,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 63,000.00
Classified total 46 37 114,186,029.00 34,431,825.00 23,890,766.00 47,549,544.00 8,313,894.00
Unclassified total 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 46 37 114,186,029.00 34,431,825.00 23,890,766.00 47,549,544.00 8,313,894.00

Graph of spending by subcause area and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by subcause area and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by donee and year

Donee Cause area Metadata Total 2019 2018 2017 2016
Target Malaria (filter this donor) 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 0.00
Sherlock Biosciences (filter this donor) 17,500,000.00 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design) (filter this donor) 11,367,500.00 0.00 0.00 11,367,500.00 0.00
Arizona State University (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 6,421,402.00 0.00 0.00 6,421,402.00 0.00
MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group (filter this donor) 5,970,000.00 0.00 3,000,000.00 0.00 2,970,000.00
University of California, Berkeley (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 5,200,000.00 0.00 200,000.00 5,000,000.00 0.00
EicOsis Human Health, Inc. (filter this donor) 5,000,000.00 0.00 5,000,000.00 0.00 0.00
VasoRx (filter this donor) 4,700,000.00 0.00 4,700,000.00 0.00 0.00
Kyoto University (filter this donor) 4,000,000.00 4,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
University of Southern California (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 3,988,500.00 2,250,000.00 0.00 0.00 1,738,500.00
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (filter this donor) WP 2,934,400.00 0.00 2,934,400.00 0.00 0.00
Duke University (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 2,631,671.00 0.00 2,550,171.00 81,500.00 0.00
University of Michigan (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 2,500,000.00 2,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
University of California, Los Angeles (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 2,368,300.00 2,368,300.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (filter this donor) 2,350,000.00 0.00 0.00 2,350,000.00 0.00
University of California, San Francisco (filter this donor) 2,346,318.00 0.00 1,521,318.00 825,000.00 0.00
CDC Foundation (filter this donor) Tw Site 2,258,938.00 0.00 1,044,501.00 0.00 1,214,437.00
University of Notre Dame (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 2,054,142.00 0.00 0.00 2,054,142.00 0.00
California Institute of Technology (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 2,000,000.00 2,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Life Sciences Research Foundation (filter this donor) 1,950,000.00 1,170,000.00 780,000.00 0.00 0.00
Boston Children's Hospital (filter this donor) 1,695,376.00 0.00 1,695,376.00 0.00 0.00
Rockefeller University (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 1,600,000.00 0.00 0.00 1,600,000.00 0.00
Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 1,228,845.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1,228,845.00
University Health Network (filter this donor) WP 1,134,975.00 1,134,975.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Research Institute of Industrial Economics (filter this donor) 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 500,000.00
Engineers Without Borders USA (filter this donor) 500,000.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Rita Allen Foundation (filter this donor) 495,000.00 495,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Future of Research (filter this donor) 450,000.00 0.00 0.00 150,000.00 300,000.00
Center for Global Development (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 333,550.00 333,550.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Rescuing Biomedical Research (filter this donor) 299,112.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 299,112.00
Science Philanthropy Alliance (filter this donor) 225,000.00 0.00 225,000.00 0.00 0.00
protocols.io (filter this donor) 200,000.00 0.00 0.00 200,000.00 0.00
Yale University (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 180,000.00 180,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (filter this donor) 150,000.00 0.00 150,000.00 0.00 0.00
Innovative Genomics Institute (filter this donor) 63,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 63,000.00
Georgia Institute of Technology (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 50,000.00 0.00 50,000.00 0.00 0.00
Mamoreruinochi wo Mamorukai (filter this donor) 40,000.00 0.00 40,000.00 0.00 0.00
Total -- -- 114,186,029.00 34,431,825.00 23,890,766.00 47,549,544.00 8,313,894.00

Graph of spending by donee and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by donee and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by influencer and year

If you hover over a cell for a given influencer and year, you will get a tooltip with the number of donees and the number of donations.

For the meaning of “classified” and “unclassified”, see the page clarifying this.

Influencer Number of donations Number of donees Total 2019 2018 2017
Chris Somerville|Heather Youngs 24 22 65,471,566.00 30,213,300.00 23,890,766.00 11,367,500.00
Heather Youngs 6 6 16,410,519.00 1,134,975.00 0.00 15,275,544.00
Alexander Berger 2 2 2,583,550.00 2,583,550.00 0.00 0.00
Claire Zabel 1 1 2,350,000.00 0.00 0.00 2,350,000.00
Chris Somerville 2 2 906,500.00 0.00 0.00 906,500.00
Heather Youngs|Chris Somerville 1 1 500,000.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00
Nick Beckstead 1 1 150,000.00 0.00 0.00 150,000.00
Classified total 37 32 88,372,135.00 34,431,825.00 23,890,766.00 30,049,544.00
Unclassified total 9 9 25,813,894.00 0.00 0.00 17,500,000.00
Total 46 37 114,186,029.00 34,431,825.00 23,890,766.00 47,549,544.00

Graph of spending by influencer and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by influencer and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by disclosures and year

If you hover over a cell for a given disclosures and year, you will get a tooltip with the number of donees and the number of donations.

For the meaning of “classified” and “unclassified”, see the page clarifying this.

Disclosures Number of donations Number of donees Total 2017 2016
Kevin Esvelt 1 1 17,500,000.00 17,500,000.00 0.00
Adam Marblestone 1 1 2,970,000.00 0.00 2,970,000.00
Dario Amodei 1 1 2,970,000.00 0.00 2,970,000.00
Holden Karnofsky 1 1 2,970,000.00 0.00 2,970,000.00
Nick Beckstead 1 1 2,970,000.00 0.00 2,970,000.00
Classified total 2 2 20,470,000.00 17,500,000.00 2,970,000.00
Unclassified total 44 36 93,716,029.00 30,049,544.00 5,343,894.00
Total 46 37 114,186,029.00 47,549,544.00 8,313,894.00

Graph of spending by disclosures and year (incremental, not cumulative)

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Graph of spending by disclosures and year (cumulative)

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Donation amounts by country and year

Sorry, we couldn't find any country information.

Full list of documents in reverse chronological order (15 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesDocument scopeCause areaNotes
Thanks for putting up with my follow-up questions. Out of the areas you mention, I'd be very interested in ... (GW, IR)2019-09-10Ryan Carey Effective Altruism ForumFounders Pledge Open Philanthropy OpenAI Machine Intelligence Research Institute Broad donor strategyAI safety|Global catastrophic risks|Scientific research|PoliticsRyan Carey replies to John Halstead's question on what Founders Pledge shoud research. He first gives the areas within Halstead's list that he is most excited about. He also discusses three areas not explicitly listed by Halstead: (a) promotion of effective altruism, (b) scholarships for people working on high-impact research, (c) more on AI safety -- specifically, funding low-mid prestige figures with strong AI safety interest (what he calls "highly-aligned figures"), a segment that he claims the Open Philanthropy Project is neglecting, with the exception of MIRI and a couple of individuals.
GiveWell’s Top Charities Are (Increasingly) Hard to Beat2019-07-09Alexander Berger Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy GiveDirectly Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Target Malaria JustLeadershipUSA Broad donor strategyGlobal health and development|Criminal justice reform|Scientific researchIn the blog post, Alexander Berger discusses how, originally, Open Philanthropy Project donations for near-term human well-being (primarily in the areas of criminal justice reform and scientific research) are compared against a cost-effectiveness benchmark of direct cash transfers, which is set as 100x (every $1 donated should yield $100 in benefits). However, since GiveWell has recently made its cost-effectiveness calculations for top charities more thorough, and now estimates that top charities are 5-15x as cost-effective as cash (or 500-1500x, with 1000x as a median), Berger is now comparing all the existing near-term human well-being grants against the 1000x benchmarks. He finds that, using the back-of-the-envelope calculations (BOTECs) done at the time of justifying the grants, many of the criminal justice reform grants do not clear the bar; in total only $32 million of the grants clears the bar, and about half of it is a single grant to Target Malaria. Berger links to https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GsE2_TNWn0x6MWL1PTdkZT2vQNFW8VFBslC5qjk4sgo/edit?ts=5cc10604 for some sample BOTECs.
Explaining Our Bet on Sherlock Biosciences’ Innovations in Viral Diagnostics2019-06-10Heather Youngs Chris Somerville Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Sherlock Biosciences Single donation documentationScientific researchIn this new-style blog post, the reasons for the Open Philanthropy Project grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/sherlock-biosciences-research-viral-diagnostics to Sherlock Biosciences are explained in a conversational style. The conversation participants include Michael Levine (Communications Officer) and the grant investigators Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs.
With Launch Of New CRISPR Company, Competition Extends To Diagnostics2019-03-21Ellie Kincaid ForbesOpen Philanthropy Sherlock Biosciences LaunchScientific researchThe article describes the launch of Sherlock Biosciences, a company that aims to use CRISPR technology for diagnostics. It mentions the $17.5 million donation https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/sherlock-biosciences-research-viral-diagnostics plus undisclosed investment from the Open Philanthropy Project, as well as separate investment. Together, Sherlock Biosciences has raised $35 million.
Giving in the Light of Reason2018-05-17Marc Gunther Stanford Social Innovation ReviewOpen Philanthropy Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Future Justice Fund Good Ventures The Humane League Direct Action Everywhere Target Malaria University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design) Alliance for Safety and Justice The Marshall Project Third-party coverage of donor strategyCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|Scientific researchAn in-depth profile of the Open Philanthropy Project and its grantmaking, with a particular focus on discussion of the top grants in animal welfare and scientific research. The organizational history, grantmaking process, and internal culture are also discussed. Referenced in https://nonprofitchronicles.com/2018/05/18/the-most-unorthodox-big-foundation-in-america/ by the same author.
This Powerhouse Funder is Still New to Scientific Research. Where Are Grants Going?2018-04-17Paul Karon Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design) Third-party coverage of donor strategyScientific researchThe article discusses grantmaking by the Open Philanthropy Project in the domain of scientific research, noting that the grants were often made in areas overlapping with other interests (such as global health). The large donation to the Institute for Protein Design in connection with influenza research is highlighted.
Our Progress in 2017 and Plans for 20182018-03-20Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyCriminal justice reform|Animal welfare|Scientific research|Cause prioritizationThe post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2017 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-progress-2016-and-plans-2017 and then lays out plans fo 2018. The post notes that grantmaking was sustained at the expected level of over $100 million, and that hints of impact are being seen in the areas where they would be expected, namely criminal justice reform and animal welfare. Deep independent investigations, such as https://www.openphilanthropy.org/files/Focus_Areas/Criminal_Justice_Reform/The_impacts_of_incarceration_on_crime_10.pdf by David Roodman for criminal justice reform and https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/how-will-hen-welfare-be-impacted-transition-cage-free-housing by Ajeya Cotra for animal welfare, are highlighted. Scientific research is identified as an area of strong progress, with the transformative R01 second chance program https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-second-chance-program-nih-transformative-research-applicants highlighted. The separation from GiveWell was completed in 2017. For 2018, hiring is a top priority, while the level of giving is expected to be maintained at the current level of over $100 million.
The world’s most intellectual foundation is hiring. Holden Karnofsky, founder of GiveWell, on how philanthropy can have maximum impact by taking big risks.2018-02-27Robert Wiblin Kieran Harris Holden Karnofsky 80,000 HoursOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyAI safety|Global catastrophic risks|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Global health and development|Animal welfare|Scientific researchThis interview, with full transcript, is an episode of the 80,000 Hours podcast. In the interview, Karnofsky provides an overview of the cause prioritization and grantmaking strategy of the Open Philanthropy Project, and also notes that the Open Philanthropy Project is hiring for a number of positions.
A Research Funder Knocks on the NIH's Door Looking for Ideas—And Big Grants Flow2018-01-11Tate Williams Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Arizona State University University of Notre Dame Rockefeller University University of California, San Francisco Third-party coverage of donor strategyScientific researchThe article discusses the Open Philanthropy Project second chance funding program for rejected applicants of the National Institutes of Health transformative R01 program.
Our ‘Second Chance’ Program for NIH Transformative Research Applicants2017-12-20Heather Youngs Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Arizona State University University of Notre Dame Rockefeller University Univesity of California San Francisco Broad donor strategyScientific research/transformative R01The blog post describes a "second chance" program that the Open Philanthropy Project ran for rejected applications to the National Institutes of Health transformative R01 program https://commonfund.nih.gov/tra Four grants were made based on this, totaling $10.8 million. The grants were also covered in Nature at https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-08795-0
Update on Investigating Neglected Goals in Biological Research2017-11-30Nick Beckstead Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Good Ventures/not recommended by GiveWell or Open Philanthropy Project Target Malaria Broad donor strategyScientific research,Global health,Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness,AgricultureThe blog post describes the way the Open Philanthropy Project is identifying neglected goals in biological research. Previously the hope was to investigate sub-areas deeply and produce write-ups. Now, the approach is more "opportunistic": rather than do public write-ups, staff look out for good opportunities for shovel-ready or highly promising grants in the specific topics identified as having strong potential.
Our Progress in 2016 and Plans for 20172017-03-14Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyScientific research|AI safetyThe blog post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2016 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-progress-2015-and-plans-2016 and then lays out plans for 2017. The post notes success in scaling up grantmaking, as hoped for in last year's plan. The spinoff from GiveWell is still not completed because it turned out to be more complex than expected, but it is expected to be finished in mid-2017. Open Phil highlights the hiring of three Scientific Advisors (Chris Somerville, Heather Youngs, and Daniel Martin-Alarcon) in mid-2016, as part of its scientific research work. The organization also plans to focus more on figuring out how to decide how much money to allocate between different cause areas, with Karnofsky's worldview diversification post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/worldview-diversification also highlighted. There is no plan to scale up staff or grantmmaking (unlike 2016, when the focus was to scale up hiring, and 2015, when the focus was to scale up staff).
Daniel May: "Open Science: little room for more funding."2017-02-15Daniel May Oxford Prioritisation ProjectOxford Prioritisation Project Laura and John Arnold Foundation Open Philanthropy Review of current state of cause areaScientific researchThe summary states: "I consider open science as a cause area, by reviewing Open Phil’s published work, as well as some popular articles and research, and assessing the field for scale, neglectedness, and tractability. I conclude that the best giving opportunities will likely be filled by foundations such as LJAF and Open Phil, and recommend that the Oxford Prioritisation Project focusses elsewhere." Also available as a Google Doc at https://docs.google.com/document/d/13wsMAugRacu52EPZo6-7NJh4QuYayKyIbjChwU0KsVU/edit?usp=sharing and at the Effective Altruism Forum at http://effective-altruism.com/ea/17g/daniel_may_open_science_little_room_for_more/ (10 comments)
Our Progress in 2015 and Plans for 20162016-04-29Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyScientific research|AI safetyThe blog post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2015 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/open-philanthropy-project-progress-2014-and-plans-2015 and then lays out plans for 2016. The post notes the following in relation to its 2015 plans: it succeeded in hiring and expanding the team, but had to scale back on its scientific research ambitions in mid-2015. For 2016, Open Phil plans to focus on scaling up its grantmaking and reducing its focus on hiring. AI safety is declared as an intended priority for 2016, with Daniel Dewey working on it full-time, and Nick Beckstead and Holden Karnofsky also devoting significant time to it. The post also notes plans to continue work on separating the Open Philanthropy Project from GiveWell.
Open Philanthropy Project: Progress in 2014 and Plans for 20152015-03-12Holden Karnofsky Open PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Broad donor strategyGlobal catastrophic risks|Scientific research|Global health and developmentThe blog post compares progress made by the Open Philanthropy Project in 2015 against plans laid out in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/givewell-labs-progress-2013-and-plans-2014 and lays out further plans for 2015. The post says that progress in the areas of U.S. policy and global catastrophic risks was substantial and matched expectations, but progress in scientific research and global health and development was less than hoped for. The plan for 2015 is to focus on growing more in the domain of scientific research and postpone work on global health and development (thus freeing up staff capacity). There is much more detail in the post.

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (46 donations)

Graph of top 10 donees by amount, showing the timeframe of donations

Graph of donations and their timeframes
DoneeAmount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 46)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
California Institute of Technology2,000,000.00182019-07Scientific research/transformative basic sciencehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/california-institute-technology-research-reproductive-biology-magdalena-zernicka-goetzChris Somerville Heather Youngs Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says the grant is "to support research by Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz on reproductive biology. Dr. Zernicka-Goetz’s proposed research would focus on understanding the molecular processes by which a single cell gives rise to all of the cell types and organ/tissue structures that comprise a fully developed embryo."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "Progress in this area could eventually enable people with fertility challenges to have children and could eventually help reduce the incidence of a wide variety of high-burden disorders (such as heart disease, chronic pain, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease) and promote other positive outcomes. Dr. Zernicka-Goetz’s research is amongst the most promising our science team has encountered so far in this field." Intended funding timeframe in months: 48; announced: 2019-09-05.
Engineers Without Borders USA500,000.00302019-05Scientific research/human health and wellbeinghttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/human-health-and-wellbeing/engineers-without-borders-off-grid-refrigerationHeather Youngs Chris Somerville Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support the Affordable Off-Grid Refrigeration Challenge. The competition will seek to develop proof of concept prototypes for refrigerators and ice-makers that have the potential to provide sustainable and affordable refrigeration for off-grid, developing world communities. Engineers Without Borders USA believes that affordable off-grid refrigeration will help reduce illnesses and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases, food poisoning, and malnutrition, and that making refrigeration more widely available will also diminish food waste, enable small farmers to grow higher value crops, and reduce the burden on women by eliminating the need to travel to the market daily for perishable food."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Grant made for the goal of advancing human health and wellbeing, and likely for the same reasons that the grantee thinks the project has value, namely: "affordable off-grid refrigeration will help reduce illnesses and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases, food poisoning, and malnutrition, and that making refrigeration more widely available will also diminish food waste, enable small farmers to grow higher value crops, and reduce the burden on women by eliminating the need to travel to the market daily for perishable food." Announced: 2019-07-19.
Kyoto University4,000,000.0082019-04Scientific research/transformative basic science/stem cell researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/kyoto-university-research-reproductive-biology-mitinori-saitouChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant to support research by Professor Mitinori Saitou on reproductive biology. Dr. Saitou has been at the forefront of research into methods of causing induced pluripotent stem cells to develop into oocytes in mice. Progress in this area could eventually enable people with fertility challenges to have children and could eventually help reduce the incidence of a wide variety of high-burden disorders (such as heart disease, chronic pain, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease) and lead to other beneficial outcomes. Announced: 2019-04-23.
Life Sciences Research Foundation1,170,000.00242019-04Scientific research/trasnformative basic sciencehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/life-sciences-research-foundation-young-investigators-2019Chris Somerville Heather Youngs Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says: "The funds will support six postdoctoral fellows for three years apiece. The fellows have proposed research projects investigating Alzheimer’s disease, infectious disease dynamics, forebrain development, cross-species transmission of bird flu, muscle stem cell function, and immune system evolution." Intended funding timeframe in months: 36; announced: 2019-06-26.
University of California, Los Angeles2,368,300.00142019-04Scientific research/transformative basic sciencehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/ucla-epigenetic-clock-researchChris Somerville Heather Youngs Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to UCLA Professor Steve Horvath and collaborators to pursue a series of experiments directed toward understanding why an algorithm based on the presence or absence of epigenetic modifications at several hundred sites in the human genome, which they call the “epigenetic clock,” is able to predict age with very high accuracy. Dr. Horvath and his collaborators plan to systematically alter the activity of genes that are thought to affect the clock in mice, to test whether they can slow or accelerate the clock and, if they can, what effects perturbation of the clock may have on the aging processes in the mice. They will also investigate why some human syndromes are associated with accelerated aging, and will study how the clock works in various types of cultured human cells."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says "The research will seek to understand how the clock measures age and whether changes to the associated processes can have useful impact on aging in humans." Intended funding timeframe in months: 36; announced: 2019-06-22.
Rita Allen Foundation495,000.00332019-04Scientific research/human health and wellbeing/pain studieshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/rita-allen-foundation-fellowship-supportChris Somerville Heather Youngs Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to provide three years in flexible support to three scholars identified by the American Pain Society in collaboration with the Rita Allen Foundation as excellent researchers in the fields of pain, neuroscience, anesthesiology and neurology. The scholars are: Jordan McCall, assistant professor, Washington University St. Louis; Peter Grace, assistant professor, MD Anderson Center Texas; and Vivianne Tawfik, assistant professor, Stanford University.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Amount likely determined by the number of researchers being funded and the total cost of funding them for three years. No explicit discussion of reason for amount on the grant page Intended funding timeframe in months: 36; announced: 2019-06-26.
Yale University180,000.00402019-03Scientific research/human health and wellbeinghttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/human-health-and-wellbeing/yale-university-school-of-medicine-vascular-therapyChris Somerville Heather Youngs Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: The grant page says that the grant is "to support research on the modification of vascular permeability by monoclonal antibodies against key regulatory proteins. Increased permeability might allow medicines to cross the blood-brain barrier and could accelerate the development of new therapies for neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, while decreased permeability could be useful in treating conditions such as swelling in stroke victims and sepsis." Announced: 2019-07-18.
University of Michigan2,500,000.00132019-03Scientific research/transformative basic sciencehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/university-michigan-research-on-mammalian-gamete-developmentChris Somerville Heather Youngs Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support research by Professor Sue Hammoud on mammalian gamete development. Dr. Hammoud’s proposed research would be specifically focused on development of gametes from stem cells.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "Progress in this area could eventually enable people with fertility challenges to have children and could eventually help reduce the incidence of a wide variety of high-burden disorders (such as heart disease, chronic pain, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease) and promote other positive outcomes. Dr. Hammoud’s research is amongst the most promising our science team has encountered so far in this field." The grant follows up on an April 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/university-southern-california-genomic-research-methods Intended funding timeframe in months: 48; announced: 2019-05-18.
University Health Network1,134,975.00252019-02Scientific research/human health and wellbeinghttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/university-health-network-preterm-birth-researchHeather Youngs Grant to the University Health Network, a Canadian research center affiliated with the University of Toronto, to support a randomized controlled trial investigating the efficacy of an intervention to reduce preterm birth in Malawi. Preterm birth is a leading cause of global under-five mortality, resulting in over 1 million deaths each year. The research will be led by Kevin Kain and Chloe McDonald. Announced: 2019-04-26.
Center for Global Development333,550.00342019-01Scientific research/human health and wellbeinghttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/center-for-global-development-gene-drive-researchAlexander Berger Discretionary grant to support research on the assessment and regulation of gene drive technology. CGD plans to use this grant to identify key political and social considerations that may inform global decisions on the development and deployment of gene drive technology, particularly with respect to malaria. CGD will conduct interviews and site visits to develop a better understanding of regulatory, social, and political considerations at play in different contexts. The research will be led by Gyude Moore, CGD visiting fellow and former Minister of Public Works in Liberia. Announced: 2019-02-15.
University of Southern California2,250,000.00162019-01Scientific research/tools and techniqueshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/Social-Science-Genetic-Association-Consortium-general-supportAlexander Berger Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC). Approximately 20% of this grant is intended to support work on bioethics and the public discussion of these topics.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "Our understanding is that SSGAC has received substantially less funding to date than comparable consortia (such as in psychiatric genetics), but still produces high-quality, replicable research and serves as a model of careful public communication, most notably through their discussions of frequently asked questions." Announced: 2019-05-18.
Sherlock Biosciences17,500,000.0012019-01Scientific research/Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/sherlock-biosciences-research-viral-diagnosticsChris Somerville Heather Youngs Donation process: The Open Philanthropy Project's scientific advisors Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs were hopeful about viral diagnostics after hearing of research coming out of Feng Zhang's lab (Zhang would later co-found Sherlock Biosciences). When they ran into David Walt, they asked him if his new company (Sherlock Biosciences) would be interested in developing a viral diagnostic, and after consulting with his team, he said they would. This started the process of vetting Sherlock Biosciences for the grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support the development of a diagnostic platform to identify any virus present in a patient sample.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs have been interested in viral diagnostics because development of this technology could both reduce threats from viral pandemics and also benefit health care broadly. The selection of Sherlock Biosciences was because of their team and technology, which made it plausible that they could develop this technology

Other notes: The Open Philanthropy Project also recommended an additional investment in Sherlock Biosciences. Sherlock recently spun out of Harvard University’s Wyss Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The launch of Sherlock Biosciences, and the funding by the Open Philanthropy Project, are discussed in Forbes at https://www.forbes.com/sites/elliekincaid/2019/03/21/with-launch-of-new-crispr-company-competition-extends-to-diagnostics/ More background explanation related to the grant is in the conversation blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/explaining-our-bet-sherlock-biosciences-innovations-viral-diagnostics. Intended funding timeframe in months: 60; announced: 2019-03-21.
Georgia Institute of Technology50,000.00452018-12Scientific research/transformative basic science/Innocentive challengehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/georgia-institute-of-technology-saad-bhamlaChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant to support research led by Dr. Saad Bhamla. Dr. Bhamla’s proposal, “Feathers as extreme water pumps,” was submitted in response to the Open Philanthropy Project's Innocentive challenge https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9934081 on bioinspiration and unusual biology. While this funding is not restricted to the execution of that proposal, the Open Philanthropy Project science team believes Dr. Bhamla's lab conducts other creative research, and wants to reward the spirit of creative science. Announced: 2019-02-12.
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities150,000.00412018-12Scientific research/transformative basic science/Innocentive challengehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/university-of-minnesota-nanomaterials-research-led-by-prof-claudia-schmidt-dannertChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant to support nanomaterials research led by Professor Claudia Schmidt-Dannert. Professor Schmidt-Dannert’s proposal, titled “Genetically programmable, adhesive nanomaterials as patterned and functional surface coatings,” is the grand prize winner of the Open Philanthropy Project's Innocentive challenge https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9934081 on bioinspiration and unusual biology. The Open Philanthropy Project science team believes Professor Schmidt-Dannert could be able to design new materials with applications such as anti-fouling, anti-corrosion, and anti-freeze coatings, as well as coatings for biomedical applications. Announced: 2019-02-12.
EicOsis Human Health, Inc.5,000,000.0052018-11Scientific research/human health and wellbeinghttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/eicosis-human-health-inc-pain-researchChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant to support clinical trials on a novel, non-opioid, oral therapy for neuropathic and inflammatory pain. The Open Philanthropy Project believes alternate therapies for chronic pain could help address the epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction. EicOsis previously received Blueprint funding https://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/ for neuroscience research from the National Institutes of Health. This seed-stage investment is intended to support continued early research and development in the hopes that EicOsis can subsequently raise additional funds from other investors. Announced: 2019-02-15.
University of California, Berkeley200,000.00382018-10Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/university-of-california-berkeley-research-on-drought-tolerant-rice-by-prof-brian-staskawiczChris Somerville Heather Youngs Discretionary grant over three years to support the editing of the rice genome for increased drought tolerance led by Professor Brian Staskawicz. The work involves using CRISPR modifications to increase drought tolerance on Indian rice, and the goal is to address the problem of erratic rice yields which have negative impoact on the livelihoods of 100 million small farmers. The experiments are funded in part my a match from the Innovative Genomics Institute. This follows the plant pathology workshop grant of December 2016 https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/uc-berkeley-plant-pathology-workshop. Announced: 2018-10-23.
CDC Foundation1,044,501.00262018-10Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/cdc-foundation-malaria-control-research-project-2018Chris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant to support research on malaria control. This funding will be used to support work on the cryopreservation of mosquito larvae (which, if successful, would make it easier for researchers to maintain different strains of mosquitoes) and on RNA interference (which, if successful, would make it easier for researchers to avoid releasing female mosquitoes — which could potentially spread malaria — as part of field trials). Related previous grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/cdc-foundation-malaria-control-research (September 2016) and related grant to Target Malaria https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research (May 2017). Announced: 2018-10-30.
Duke University2,550,171.00122018-10Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/duke-university-CRISPR-Based-Epigenome-Editing-ToolsChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant over three years to Duke University to develop tools to apply epigenome editing to refine genome wide association studies (GWAS). The work will be led by Charles Gersbach, the Rooney Family Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering. This funding will support research to develop CRISPR-based epigenetic tools to interrogate thousands of regions of DNA, allowing for more nuanced studies of genomic regions identified through GWAS. The grant will also fund testing and verification of the tools by identifying loci implicated in schizophrenia, a poorly understood disorder. Announced: 2018-10-30.
Boston Children's Hospital1,695,376.00202018-10Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/boston-childrens-hospital-chronic-pain-researchChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant over four years to conduct basic research into the epigenetics of chronic pain. The work will be led by Yi Zhang, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and the Fred Rosen Chair Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. This funding will support research to identify 1) specific neurons in a region of the brain involved in processing environmental stimulation into associative learning; 2) changes in gene expression and epigenetic modification in neurons associated with chronic pain; and 3) feedback and modulatory processes that may be involved in resolving pain signals and neuronal sensitivity. Announced: 2018-11-27.
University of California, San Francisco1,021,318.00272018-08Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/university-of-california-san-francisco-chronic-pain-researchChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant over three years to support basic research on understanding the brain mechanisms that process pain messages and that contribute to the transition from acute to chronic pain after injury. The work will be led by Allan Basbaum, PhD, Professor and Chair of UCSF’s Department of Anatomy. This grant will allow UCSF to pursue an answer to the question of how the brain interprets various types of pain signals (e.g., heat, cold, mechanical) and itch, how these signals are regulated by different anesthetics and how they are altered when there is injury. Resolving these questions could facilitate the design of novel drugs that can block pain without also blocking consciousness. Announced: 2018-09-21.
VasoRx4,700,000.0072018-04Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/vasorx-atherosclerosis-investmentChris Somerville Heather Youngs Investment to test a new therapy for vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and pulmonary hypertension. The original amount was $1.6 million. In January 2019, $3.1 million was addded to the amount, and the total on the website was updated to reflect this. Announced: 2018-04-26.
Science Philanthropy Alliance225,000.00372018-04Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/science-philanthropy-alliance-general-supportChris Somerville Heather Youngs Discretionary grant over three years to join the Science Philanthropy Alliance, "a community of funders who work together to inspire new, emerging and current philanthropists to dedicate a portion of their philanthropy to basic science.". Announced: 2018-05-15.
Life Sciences Research Foundation780,000.00292018-04Scientific research/transformative basic sciencehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/life-sciences-research-foundation-young-investigatorsChris Somerville Heather Youngs Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support early-career investigators. The funds will support four postdoctoral fellows for three years apiece. The fellows have proposed research projects investigating immunology, virology, neurobiology, and tuberculosis."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The followup 2019 grant suggests that this grant would be considered a success Intended funding timeframe in months: 36; announced: 2018-05-03.
MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group3,000,000.0092018-02Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/massachusetts-institute-technology-synthetic-neurobiology-group-2018Chris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant over two years. Grantee group led by Ed Boyden. Followup to March 2016 grant, and made for similar reasons as that first grant: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/massachusetts-institute-technology-synthetic-neurobiology-group. Announced: 2018-03-08.
University of California, San Francisco500,000.00302018-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/ucsf-research-antiviral-activity-hsp90-inhibitorsChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant to support research led by Dr. Raul Andino to test the broad spectrum antiviral potential of several drugs. The grant will allow Dr. Andino to carry out tests of the effectiveness of two commercial-quality drugs against five different viruses. Original grant amount of $320,000 in February 2018, and an additional $180,000 added in June 2018 (grant page updated around 2018-06-29). Announced: 2018-03-24.
Mamoreruinochi wo Mamorukai40,000.00462018-02Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/mamoreruinochi-wo-mamorukai-legal-aid-for-scientists-in-japanChris Somerville Heather Youngs Discretionary grant made by the Open Philanthropy Action Fund. Grantee, which translates roughly as Protect the Lives Protectable, is a Japanese organization that protects science journalists and scientists from attacks, insults, and litigation. Announced: 2018-07-06.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center2,934,400.00112018-01Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/beth-israel-deaconess-medical-center-clinical-trial-sepsis-therapyChris Somerville Heather Youngs Grant to support Dr. Michael Donnino to conduct a multicenter clinical trial of a therapy for severe sepsis. Announced: 2018-01-30.
protocols.io200,000.00382017-12Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/protocols-io-platform-improvementsHeather Youngs Discretionary grant to ZappyLab, Inc (doing business as “protocols.io”) to support improvements to the protocols.io platform, which provides open access for science methods. Announced: 2017-12-08.
Arizona State University6,421,402.0042017-11Scientific research/transformative R01https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/arizona-state-university-canine-clinical-trial-multivalent-cancer-vaccineHeather Youngs Grant to be used in support of a canine clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of a multivalent, preventative cancer vaccine. The trial will test the cancer-prevention efficacy of a multi-valent frameshift peptide (FSP) vaccine, developed by Dr. Stephen Albert Johnston, in healthy, middle-aged pet dogs. The trial will be conducted under the direction of Dr. Douglas Thamm, Director of Clinical Research at the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. Part of a set of "second chance" grants by the Open Philanthropy Project for some rejected applications for the NIH Transformative R01 program https://commonfund.nih.gov/tra discussed at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-second-chance-program-nih-transformative-research-applicants and https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-08795-0. Announced: 2017-12-20.
University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design)11,367,500.0032017-11Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/university-of-washington-universal-flu-vaccineChris Somerville Heather Youngs Donation process: In the blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/questions-we-ask-ourselves-making-grant Michael Levine describes the process of deciding the grant: "Through ongoing conversations, the original grant proposal focusing on the development of a universal flu vaccine evolved into an expanded grant incorporating work on a computational protein design system that we believe could have much broader utility if it makes it possible to rapidly design new vaccines or antiviral drugs."

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support research on the use of computational protein design to develop a universal influenza vaccine. This work will be led by UW Professor David Baker, Ph.D., and UW Assistant Professor Neil King, Ph.D. In addition, part of this funding is intended to improve the Rosetta molecular modeling and design software originally developed in Baker’s lab. UW Assistant Professor Frank DiMaio, Ph.D., and others will work to improve Rosetta to better predict the properties of proteins

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/questions-we-ask-ourselves-making-grant suggests a scope increase for the grant from being for a universal flu vaccine to being for improving computational protein design techniques as well.

Other notes: The grant is discussed in https://ssir.org/articles/entry/giving_in_the_light_of_reason as part of an overview of the Open Philanthropy Project grantmaking strategy. Intended funding timeframe in months: 60; announced: 2018-04-04.
University of California, Berkeley5,000,000.0052017-08Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/uc-berkeley-aging-related-research-conboyHeather Youngs Grant over five years to support research on the basic biology of aging-related diseases and impairments, led by Dr. Irina Conboy. Grant is a result of https://www.openphilanthropy.org/research/cause-reports/mechanisms-aging (investigation into mechanisms of aging). Announced: 2017-11-03.
Future of Research150,000.00412017-07Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/future-research-exit-grant-2017Nick Beckstead Exit grant to allow grantee to find time for alternative funding sources. Follows a $300,000 grant made in 2016 for two years. Announced: 2017-08-21.
University of Notre Dame2,054,142.00172017-06Scientific research/transformative R01https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/university-notre-dame-nanopore-protein-sequencing-developmentHeather Youngs Grant over three years to the University of Notre Dame to support the development of an instrument that uses a sub-nanometer-diameter pore (i.e. a sub-nanopore) to read the amino acid sequence of whole protein molecules. The collaborative effort led by Dr. Gregory Timp involves researchers at the University of San Diego and Johns Hopkins University. Part of a set of "second chance" grants by the Open Philanthropy Project for some rejected applications for the NIH Transformative R01 program https://commonfund.nih.gov/tra discussed at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-second-chance-program-nih-transformative-research-applicants and https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-08795-0. Announced: 2017-12-20.
University of California, San Francisco825,000.00282017-06Scientific research/transformative R01https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/ucsf-liver-regeneration-experimentsChris Somerville Grant over three years to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to support research into the development of a stem cell treatment method for repairing or replacing damaged human livers. The work will be led by Tammy T. Chang, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Surgery. Part of a set of "second chance" grants by the Open Philanthropy Project for some rejected applications for the NIH Transformative R01 program https://commonfund.nih.gov/tra discussed at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-second-chance-program-nih-transformative-research-applicants and https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-08795-0. Announced: 2017-12-20.
Duke University81,500.00432017-06Scientific research/antiviral and inhibitor workhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/duke-university-timothy-haystead-hsp70Chris Somerville Grant for work that will be led by Dr. Timothy Haystead, Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at the Duke University School of Medicine. Funding from this grant will allow Dr. Haystead to pay a specialized company to determine the molecular structure of the human Hsp70i protein in a complex with HS-72, and to hire a summer intern to support his antiviral and inhibitor work. The original grant amount was $49,500. In May 2018, $32,000 to the original award amount for additional work on the project. Announced: 2017-08-16.
Target Malaria17,500,000.0012017-05Scientific research/malaria/gene drive testing and governancehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/target-malaria-general-support-- Donation process: As explained in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/target-malaria-general-support#Our_process the donation process included conversations with Target Malaria, the Gates Foundation, Kevin Esvelt, Stephanie James, and several other people, and review by scientific advisors Chris Somerville and Daniel Martin-Alarcon

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant to help the project develop and prepare for the potential deployment of gene drive technologies to help eliminate malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, if feasible, ethical, safe, approved by the regulatory authorities, and supported by the affected communities. This grant will support training and outreach programs, research into the potential ecological effects of releasing gene drives, operational development, regulatory support, and an unrestricted funding reserve.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: As described in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/target-malaria-general-support#Case_for_the_grant (1) Gene drives, and Target Malaria's work in particular, seem important and tractable as a malaria elimination strategy, (2) Target Malaria has a lot of room for more funding, (3) Even a few weeks of speed-up of the work would likely have good cost-effectiveness. More explicit quantification is available in the back-of-the-envelope calculation (BOTEC) at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GsE2_TNWn0x6MWL1PTdkZT2vQNFW8VFBslC5qjk4sgo/edit?ts=5cc10604#heading=h.g3c8stqygqae Quantification related to (3) is also in the spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1E8qu474nUUvPjK21oBqGkdQ9FuXanigOgSGfumhL3_c/edit#gid=1061406209

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The reasoning for the amount is not articulated, but it is likely related to the budget https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/target-malaria-general-support#Budget_and_proposed_activities as well as the cost-effectiveness calculations. One factor helping with the size of the grant is that the organization is also heavily funded by the Gates Foundation (grant of $36 million over 3.5 years) so that the Open Philanthropy Project will be under 50% of the grantee's funds, and can also piggyback on th vetting already done by the Gates Foundation

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The timing is probably affected by two factors: (a) The belief that even a few weeks of speed-up of the work would likely have good cost-effectiveness, qunaitified in the spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1E8qu474nUUvPjK21oBqGkdQ9FuXanigOgSGfumhL3_c/edit#gid=1061406209 (b) The timing of the Gates Foundation grant and the scaling up of the project
Intended funding timeframe in months: 48

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: Key questions for follow-up are listed at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/target-malaria-general-support#Key_questions_for_follow-up but there is no explicit discussion of follow-up grants

Donor retrospective of the donation: In the July 2019 blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/givewells-top-charities-are-increasingly-hard-beat the grant is mentioned as one of the few grants that crosses the 1000x cost-effectiveness barrier in expected cost-effectiveness as of the time of making the grant, and also as accounting for over half of the total money volume of such grants

Other notes: The grant is discussed in https://ssir.org/articles/entry/giving_in_the_light_of_reason as part of an overview of the Open Philanthropy Project grantmaking strategy. Announced: 2017-05-17.
Rockefeller University1,600,000.00212017-04Scientific research/transformative R01https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/rockefeller-university-viral-histone-mimicsHeather Youngs Grant to support research on viral histone mimics led by Professor Alexander Tarakhovsky. Professor Tarakhovsky has discovered a novel mechanism through which viruses may influence host gene expression: he found that in influenza H3N2, the non-structural 1 (NS1) protein acts to downregulate antiviral genes (i.e. weaken host defense systems) by mimicking human histone 3, which interferes with normal histone regulation in the host cell. Professor Tarakhovsky and his collaborators plan to use this grant to further explore this mechanism in the life cycle of the yellow fever virus and to determine whether the mechanism occurs in other host-virus interactions. Part of a set of "second chance" grants by the Open Philanthropy Project for some rejected applications for the NIH Transformative R01 program https://commonfund.nih.gov/tra discussed at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/our-second-chance-program-nih-transformative-research-applicants and https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-08795-0 Original grant amount $1.5 million; an additional $100,000 added to grant in July 2018 (page update: 2018-07-10). Announced: 2017-12-20.
New Partnership for Africa’s Development2,350,000.00152017-04Scientific research/malaria/gene drivehttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/new-partnership-africa-s-development-general-supportClaire Zabel Grant to the Planning and Coordinating Agency, the technical arm of the African Union, to support the evaluation, preparation, and potential deployment of gene drive technologies in some African regions. Part of a set of grants related to gene drives; see https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/target-malaria-general-support for a larger grant to Target Malaria in the same domain and at around the same time. Announced: 2017-05-26.
Innovative Genomics Institute63,000.00442016-12Scientific research/plant pathologyhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/uc-berkeley-plant-pathology-workshop-- Money for a plant pathology workshop. Grantee housed at the University of California, Berkeley. Announced: 2017-03-27.
CDC Foundation1,214,437.00232016-09Scientific research/malaria/mosquito cryopreservationhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/cdc-foundation-malaria-control-research-- Supplement to grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/target-malaria-general-support to Target Malaria; see writeup for latter to understand grant reasoning. Announced: 2017-05-17.
Research Institute of Industrial Economics500,000.00302016-08Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/research-institute-of-industrial-economics-genomic-research-methods-- Grant to the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) to support the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC). IFN is a private, non-profit research institute in Stockholm, Sweden, with around 40 researchers. Previous grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/university-southern-california-genomic-research-methods (2016-04) to the University of Southern California also supported SSGAC. Donor notes: "Our understanding is that SSGAC has received substantially less funding to date than comparable consortia (such as in psychiatric genetics), but still produces high-quality, replicable research and serves as a model of careful public communication". Announced: 2018-04-19.
Foundation for the National Institutes of Health1,228,845.00222016-07Scientific research/malaria/gene drive testinghttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/foundation-national-institutes-health-working-group-- Grant to support ~20 experts recommending a consensus on field testing gene drives to fight malaria. This recommendation will include guidelines on how to safely field test gene drives for population modification and population suppression of vector mosquitoes in order to determine whether they could safely and ethically be deployed widely. FNIH and Gates Foundation have been the two big players in this area so far. Announced: 2016-08-01.
University of Southern California1,738,500.00192016-04Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/university-southern-california-genomic-research-methods-- Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium and the Behavioral and Health

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page notes that Open Phil hopes the grant will advance scientific tools and techniques, by: (1) devekoping cross-cuttingly useful advances in analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), (2) combining data from multiple sources and developing polygenic sources that can be distributed freely as public goods

Donor retrospective of the donation: Open Phil would make a followup grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/research-institute-of-industrial-economics-genomic-research-methods to the Research Institute of Industral Economics, also to support the SSGAC, and a later grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/Social-Science-Genetic-Association-Consortium-general-support to USC to again support SSGAC Announced: 2018-04-19.
Future of Research300,000.00352016-04Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/future-research-general-support-- Grantee is a new nonprofit with a stated mission “to improve the scientific research enterprise.” Grant is a preliminary one and Open Phil plans to revisit the organization after 2 years of progress. Announced: 2016-04-29.
MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group2,970,000.00102016-03Scientific research/neurobiologyhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/massachusetts-institute-technology-synthetic-neurobiology-group-- Grant is to expand research at MIT Media Lab’s Center for Extreme Bionics. Among other things, the grantee is working on developing new methods and techniques for mapping the brain. Announced: 2016-05-09.
Rescuing Biomedical Research299,112.00362016-01Scientific researchhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/scientific-research/miscellaneous/princeton-university-rescuing-biomedical-research-- Grantee is a project based in Princeton University. Goal is to establish a more “predictable and stable” federal budget for research, and to improve grant funding so that trainees are funded by dedicated training grants. Followup conversation with Shirley Tilghman of grantee organization at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/sites/default/files/Shirley_Tilghman_05-19-16_%28public%29.pdf on 2016-05-19 and with Christopher Pickett of grantee organization at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/sites/default/files/Christopher_Pickett_11-16-16_%28public%29.pdf on 2016-11-16. Announced: 2016-01-27.

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