Open Philanthropy Project donations made (filtered to cause areas matching Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness)

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)
Org Watch pagehttps://orgwatch.issarice.com/?organization=Open+Philanthropy+Project

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 48 454,025 3,195,039 10,000 26,086 49,942 250,000 325,000 454,025 570,000 1,625,000 2,620,000 6,000,000 55,000,000
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 46 452,545 1,757,867 10,000 26,086 49,942 169,600 300,000 452,545 520,000 1,300,000 2,400,000 3,556,773 19,500,000
Scientific research 1 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000 17,500,000
Security 1 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000 55,000,000

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 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness (filter this donor) 46 29 80,861,891.00 14,970,000.00 21,565,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00
Security (filter this donor) 1 1 55,000,000.00 0.00 55,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research (filter this donor) 1 1 17,500,000.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 48 31 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00

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 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 39 23 79,471,891.00 14,080,000.00 21,565,525.00 9,362,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00
Security/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Global catastrophic risks/AI safety 1 1 55,000,000.00 0.00 55,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Scientific research/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness 1 1 17,500,000.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19 6 6 890,000.00 890,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Scientific research 1 1 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Classified total 48 31 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00
Unclassified total 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total 48 31 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00

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 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Center for Security and Emerging Technology (filter this donor) 55,000,000.00 0.00 55,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (filter this donor) Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness FB Tw WP Site 40,273,600.00 1,860,000.00 19,500,000.00 169,600.00 16,000,000.00 2,744,000.00 0.00
Nuclear Threat Initiative (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 17,938,574.00 6,000,000.00 0.00 5,461,715.00 6,476,859.00 0.00 0.00
Sherlock Biosciences (filter this donor) 17,500,000.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security (filter this donor) 7,144,627.00 3,600,000.00 0.00 44,627.00 3,500,000.00 0.00 0.00
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense (filter this donor) Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness FB Tw WP Site 4,688,162.00 0.00 0.00 2,588,162.00 500,000.00 1,300,000.00 300,000.00
Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense (filter this donor) 2,620,000.00 2,620,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Center for International Security and Cooperation (filter this donor) WP 2,268,415.00 0.00 1,625,000.00 0.00 0.00 643,415.00 0.00
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 613,380.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 613,380.00 0.00 0.00
Early-Career Funding for Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (filter this donor) 570,000.00 0.00 0.00 570,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation (filter this donor) 520,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 520,000.00 0.00
University of California, San Francisco (filter this donor) 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Genspace (filter this donor) WP 469,025.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 469,025.00 0.00 0.00
National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (filter this donor) 452,545.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 452,545.00 0.00 0.00
Altruistic Technology Labs (filter this donor) 440,525.00 0.00 440,525.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
International Genetically Engineered Medicine Foundation (filter this donor) 420,000.00 0.00 0.00 420,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Sea-Long Global Respiratory Systems (filter this donor) 325,000.00 325,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Smithsonian Institution (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 300,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 300,000.00 0.00 0.00
Center for Global Development (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 299,942.00 250,000.00 0.00 49,942.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
North Carolina State University (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 252,725.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 252,725.00 0.00 0.00
University of Colorado (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 250,000.00 250,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
BioBricks Foundation (filter this donor) 152,950.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 152,950.00 0.00 0.00
Future of Humanity Institute (filter this donor) Global catastrophic risks/AI safety/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness FB Tw WP Site TW 115,652.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 115,652.00 0.00
David Manheim (filter this donor) 65,308.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 65,308.00 0.00 0.00
American Society for Microbiology (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 43,149.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 43,149.00 0.00 0.00
Good Judgment Inc. (filter this donor) 40,000.00 40,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
University of Sydney (filter this donor) 32,621.00 0.00 0.00 32,621.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
University of Oxford (filter this donor) FB Tw WP Site 26,086.00 0.00 0.00 26,086.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Brown Institute for Media Innovation (filter this donor) 15,000.00 15,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
InterAcademy Partnership (filter this donor) 14,605.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 14,605.00 0.00 0.00
Against COVID-19 (filter this donor) 10,000.00 10,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total -- -- 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00 300,000.00

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 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Luke Muehlhauser 2 2 55,040,000.00 40,000.00 55,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Andrew Snyder-Beattie 6 4 33,580,000.00 14,080,000.00 19,500,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Jaime Yassif 17 13 33,451,483.00 0.00 0.00 6,409,104.00 24,298,379.00 2,744,000.00
Chris Somerville|Heather Youngs 2 2 18,000,000.00 0.00 17,500,000.00 500,000.00 0.00 0.00
Claire Zabel 8 8 5,084,482.00 0.00 2,065,525.00 2,953,649.00 65,308.00 0.00
Jacob Trefethen 4 4 600,000.00 600,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Andrew Snyder-Beattie|Jacob Trefethen 1 1 250,000.00 250,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Classified total 40 29 146,005,965.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 24,363,687.00 2,744,000.00
Unclassified total 8 6 7,355,926.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 4,476,859.00 2,579,067.00
Total 48 31 153,361,891.00 14,970,000.00 94,065,525.00 9,862,753.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00

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
Jaime Yassif 1 1 16,000,000.00 16,000,000.00 0.00
Kevin Esvelt 1 1 520,000.00 0.00 520,000.00
Classified total 2 2 16,520,000.00 16,000,000.00 520,000.00
Unclassified total 46 30 136,841,891.00 12,840,546.00 4,803,067.00
Total 48 31 153,361,891.00 28,840,546.00 5,323,067.00

Graph of spending by disclosures and year (incremental, not 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 (12 documents)

Title (URL linked)Publication dateAuthorPublisherAffected donorsAffected doneesDocument scopeCause areaNotes
How Philanthropists are Tackling COVID-192020-03-18Abby Schultz Barron'sOpen Philanthropy Project Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Wellcome Trust Mastercard Impact Fund Schmidt Futures COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Sherlock Biosciences Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security University of Washington (Institute for Protein Design) Review of current state of cause areaBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessThe article describes how private philanthropy is helping in the fight against COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic caused by it. The role of Open Philanthropy Project in funding Sherlock Biosciences as well as the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in prior years is described. The article also describes the joint financing of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator by the Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Mastercard Impact Fund.
Co-funding Partnership with Ben Delo2019-11-11Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Ben Delo PartnershipAI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Global catastrophic risks|Effective altruismBen Delo, co-founder of the cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX, recently signed the Giving Pledge. He is entering into a partnership with the Open Philanthropy Project, providing funds, initially in the $5 million per year range, to support Open Phil's longtermist grantmaking, in areas including AI safety, biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, global catastrophic risks, and effective altruism. Later, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) would reveal at https://intelligence.org/2020/04/27/miris-largest-grant-to-date/ that, of a $7.7 million grant from Open Phil, $1.46 million is coming from Ben Delo.
Will splashy philanthropy cause the biosecurity field to focus on the wrong risks?2019-04-25Filippa Lentzos Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsOpen Philanthropy Project Third-party coverage of donor strategyBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessFilippa Lentzos examines the Open Philanthropy Project's funding in the biosecurity field. She argues that the scale and speed of Open Phil's grantmaking may hurt the field by shaping the agenda of the field to be too focused on global catastrophic risks, and to be less diverse on the whole. The post is linked and discussed on the Effective Altruism Forum at https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Kkw8uDwGuNnBhiYHi/will-splashy-philanthropy-cause-the-biosecurity-field-to (GW, IR) by Tessa Alexanian. Howie Lempel, in the comments, describes more of the post author's views based on her past article https://thebulletin.org/2017/07/ignore-bill-gates-where-bioweapons-focus-really-belongs/ Others who share thoughts in the comments include Alex Foster, Denise Melchin, and Rob Bensinger.
Important But Neglected: Why an Effective Altruist Funder Is Giving Millions to AI Security2019-03-20Tate Williams Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Center for Security and Emerging Technology Third-party coverage of donor strategyAI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Global catastrophic risks|SecurityThe article focuses on grantmaking by the Open Philanthropy Project in the areas of global catastrophic risks and security, particularly in AI safety and biosecurity and pandemic preparedness. It includes quotes from Luke Muehlhauser, Senior Research Analyst at the Open Philanthropy Project and the investigator for the $55 million grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/georgetown-university-center-security-and-emerging-technology to the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). Muehlhauser was previously Executive Director at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. It also includes a quote from Holden Karnofsky, who sees the early interest of effective altruists in AI safety as prescient. The CSET grant is discussed in the context of the Open Philanthropy Project's hits-based giving approach, as well as the interest in the policy space in better understanding of safety and governance issues related to technology and AI
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 Project 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
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Project Staff - 20172017-12-21Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectJaime Yassif Chloe Cockburn Lewis Bollard Nick Beckstead Daniel Dewey Center for International Security and Cooperation Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Good Call Court Watch NOLA Compassion in World Farming USA Wild-Animal Suffering Research Effective Altruism Funds: Meta Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Long-Term Future Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Animal Welfare Fund Effective Altruism Funds: Global Health and Development Fund Donor lottery Future of Humanity Institute Center for Human-Compatible AI Machine Intelligence Research Institute Berkeley Existential Risk Initiative Centre for Effective Altruism 80,000 Hours Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters Donation suggestion listAnimal welfare|AI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Effective altruism|Criminal justice reformOpen Philanthropy Project staff give suggestions on places that might be good for individuals to donate to. Each suggestion includes a section "Why I suggest it", a section explaining why the Open Philanthropy Project has not funded (or not fully funded) the opportunity, and links to relevant writeups
Update on Investigating Neglected Goals in Biological Research2017-11-30Nick Beckstead Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project 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
Suggestions for Individual Donors from Open Philanthropy Project Staff - 20162016-12-14Holden Karnofsky Open Philanthropy ProjectJaime Yassif Chloe Cockburn Lewis Bollard Daniel Dewey Nick Beckstead Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Alliance for Safety and Justice Cosecha Animal Charity Evaluators Compassion in World Farming USA Machine Intelligence Research Institute Future of Humanity Institute 80,000 Hours Ploughshares Fund Donation suggestion listAnimal welfare|AI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Effective altruism|Migration policyOpen Philanthropy Project staff describe suggestions for best donation opportunities for individual donors in their specific areas
Catastrophic Global Risks: A Silicon Valley Funder Thinks the Unthinkable2016-11-30Sue Lynn-Moses Inside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Center for International Security and Cooperation Third-party coverage of donor strategyBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessA discussion of the overall work done by the Open Philanthropy Project on global catastrophic risks, with a particular focus on biosecurity. Comparisons are made with the Skoll Global Threats Fund, and the historical work of the Rockefeller Foundation in disease surveillance (that it recently pulled out of) is referenced
Potential Global Catastrophic Risk Focus Areas2014-06-26Alexander Berger Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Broad donor strategyAI safety|Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness|Global catastrophic risksIn this blog post originally published at https://blog.givewell.org/2014/06/26/potential-global-catastrophic-risk-focus-areas/ Alexander Berger goes over a list of seven types of global catastrophic risks (GCRs) that the Open Philanthropy Project has considered. He details three promising areas that the Open Philanthropy Project is exploring more and may make grants in: (1) Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, (2) Geoengineering research and governance, (3) AI safety. For the AI safety section, there is a note from Executive Director Holden Karnofsky saying that he sees AI safety as a more promising area than Berger does
Biosecurity2014-01-01Open Philanthropy ProjectOpen Philanthropy Project Review of current state of cause areaBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessInitial findings from a shallow investigation into the current state of biosecurity and its funding
Open Philanthropy Project: Grants for Global SecurityInside PhilanthropyOpen Philanthropy Project Center for International Security and Cooperation Third-party coverage of donor strategyBiosecurity and pandemic preparednessAn overview by Inside Philanthropy of the Open Philanthropy Project and its work on biosecurity grants

Full list of donations in reverse chronological order (48 donations)

DoneeAmount (current USD)Amount rank (out of 48)Donation dateCause areaURLInfluencerNotes
Brown Institute for Media Innovation15,000.00452020-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/brown-institute-for-media-innovation-covid-19-rapid-micro-grantsJacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support rapid micro-grants for work that aims to inform the public about the COVID-19 virus. This funding enabled the Brown Institute to award five micro-grants https://brown.columbia.edu/covid19-grant-winners/ to journalists, technologists, health researchers, data scientists, social scientists, and others."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made shortly after COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The amount covers 60% of the award money granted out (five grants of $5,000 each). The reason for funding only 60% are not included in the grant page; it is likely that other sources of funding cover the remaining cost.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The timing is likely determined by the timing of the microgrants round being funded. The grant is made shortly after COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-04-27.
University of Colorado (Earmark: May Chu)250,000.00332020-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/university-of-colorado-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-experimentsJacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support experiments on the decontamination and safe reuse of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers (HCWs) treating COVID-19 patients. This effort is led by Professor May Chu at the Colorado School of Public Health with collaborators from academic research labs, professional PPE testing laboratories, and infectious disease hospitals around the world. The aim of this study is to identify simple, executable processes for decontamination of homemade masks, surgical masks, and N95 respirators that can be applied anywhere, from hospitals to low-resource settings, so that HCWs are protected. The results could inform PPE recommendations for HCW protection from bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and around the time that efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. The grant page also highlights the credentials of the grantee: "Professor Chu serves on the WHO’s Expert Advisory Committee for COVID-19 and helped lead the United States’ response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic at the Office of Science and Technology Policy."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and around the time that efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-04-15.
Sea-Long Global Respiratory Systems325,000.00292020-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/sea-long-global-respiratory-systems-covid-19-ventilation-helmet-productionJacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support the increased production of non-invasive ventilation helmets for COVID-19 patients. The helmets are intended to aid patients under respiratory distress and reduce the demand for ventilators in regions experiencing severe outbreaks, in the U.S. and internationally."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made shortly after COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant is made shortly after COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-04-24.
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security2,400,000.00122020-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-march-2020Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant "to provide general support and to support GHSS project activities on deliberate events and global health security."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is an "exit grant" intended to provide approximatly two years of operating support. It follows a February 2020 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2020 and is probably intendd to give the grantee enough time to find other sources of support.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The grant page says that the grant "will provide GHSS with approximately two years of operating support." This is probably considered a reasonable amount of time for the grantee to find alternativ sources of support.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Reasons for timing are unclear; it seems that the timing is determined by Open Phil's decision to stop supporting GHSS long-term. The decision seems relatively sudden, considering the February 2020 operating support grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2020 just one month before this exit grant.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 24

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: This grant is an exit grant, which means that Open Phil plans to make no further grants to GHSS.

Other notes: This exit grant comes at around the time that the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to be recognized, and Open Phil is doubling down on biosecurity and pandemic preparedness spending related to COVID-19. The relationship of this exit to COVID-19, if any, is unclear. Announced: 2020-04-27.
Against COVID-1910,000.00482020-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/against-covid-19-covid-19-database-supportJacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support the expansion of its database of COVID-19 cases to include data from additional countries. The database tracks COVID-19 cases by transmission (local or imported), age, and other relevant characteristics, and is made available in a public dashboard for researchers, policymakers, and others working to limit the spread of the virus."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and around the time that efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and around the time that efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-04-20.
Good Judgment Inc.40,000.00422020-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/good-judgment-inc-covid-19-forecastingLuke Muehlhauser Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to expand "efforts to aggregate, publish, and track forecasts about the COVID-19 outbreak with the hope that the forecasts can help improve planning by health security professionals and the broader public, limit the spread of the virus, and save lives. The forecasts are aggregated each day from the most accurate 1-2% of forecasters from a large-scale, government-funded series of forecasting tournaments, plus an annual uptake of a handful of top performers from the nearly 40,000 forecasters on Good Judgement Open." The predictions are at https://goodjudgment.io/covid/dashboard/ and the reasoning is explained more in https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/forecasting-covid-19-pandemic

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made at around the time the COVID-19 pandemic is being acknowledged worldwide, and just as Open Phil is ramping up grantmaking in the area. The grant investigator, Luke Muehlhauser, has generally been interested in forecasting. Most other COVID-19 grants are investigated by Jacob Trefethen.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Amount likely determined by project cost

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determmined by the breaking out of the COVID-19 pandemic
Intended funding timeframe in months: 1

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: The blog post https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/forecasting-covid-19-pandemic says: "We may commission additional forecasts related to COVID-19 in the coming months, and we welcome suggestions of well-formed questions for which regularly updated forecasts would be especially helpful to public health professionals and the broader public." Announced: 2020-03-17.
Center for Global Development (Earmark: Jeremy Konyndyck)250,000.00332020-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/COVID-19https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-global-development-covid-19-local-response-guidelinesAndrew Snyder-Beattie Jacob Trefethen Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support work led by Jeremy Konyndyk on developing COVID-19 response guidelines and decision support tools to disseminate to local leaders. The guidelines and tools are intended to help local leaders take appropriate measures to limit the spread of the virus."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. The grant page notes: "Konyndyk was formerly the director of the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, where he managed an annual budget of more than $1.4 billion and helped lead the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant is made around the time that COVID-19 is declared a global pandemic, and as efforts to fight the pandemic are ramping up. Announced: 2020-03-18.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security1,860,000.00142020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/johns-hopkins-center-health-security-masters-phd-program-supportAndrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant " to support the implementation of a Masters and PhD program. The program will focus on major biological and health security risks. This funding will support four PhD students for four years each and four masters students for one year each, as well as faculty time for advising students and a junior administrator." Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2020-03-23.
Nuclear Threat Initiative6,000,000.0052020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support-2020Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support NTI's biosecurity program. This includes "work to reduce Global Catastrophic Biological Risks, enhance biosecurity, and advance pandemic preparedness."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: No reasons stated, but reasons likely similar to the previous three-year $6 million support https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Case_for_the_grant lists these reasons for the previous grant: (1) "NTI’s track record of securing wins in the nuclear security and arms control space." (2) "Our confidence in Dr. Elizabeth Cameron". (3) "NTI appears open to considering work focused on GCR prevention." Also: "we consider biosecurity a neglected area, particularly with regard to GCRs, and this grant is part of a broader effort to fund influential organizations and individuals working in this space that we find credible and that share some of our priorities."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Both the amount and duration of the funding timeframe ($6 million over 3 years) are identical to the previous grant to support the program, made October 2017.

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing likely determined by the three-year window of the previous grant coming to an end. However, the grant is made a little before the end of the three-year window.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 36 Announced: 2020-04-10.
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security1,200,000.00172020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2020Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The intended uses are not described explicitly, but the previous three-year grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support that this renews had a list of intended uses, and this renewal likely has similar intended uses.

Donor retrospective of the donation: Just one month later, in March 2020, Open Phil would make an exit grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-march-2020 to the grantee, covering two years of operating support. This suggests a change of some sort within the interim one-month period in Open Phil's evaluation of GHSS. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2020-03-09.
Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense2,620,000.00102020-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/bipartisan-commission-on-biodefense-general-supportAndrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The grant page says that the grantee "advocates for improvements to U.S. biodefense policy through a variety of activities, including hosting public meetings, publishing reports, and conducting outreach to those in the U.S. government."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says that this grant follows January 2018 support https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2018 to the Blue Ribbon Panel Study on Biodefense, but the connection between the two grantees is not explained. Announced: 2020-03-16.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security19,500,000.0022019-09Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-health-security-gcrs-2019Andrew Snyder-Beattie Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support work on biosecurity, global catastrophic risks posed by pathogens, and other work related to CHS’s mission, and to support the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative. CHS plans to use these funds to continue to conduct policy research and continue to build communications and advocacy capacity."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): No explicit reason for amount given, but it is similar to the previous three-year support amount of $16 million

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing likely determined by the fact that the timeframe for the previous three-year grant (starting January 2017) is coming to an end
Intended funding timeframe in months: 36 Announced: 2019-10-04.
Altruistic Technology Labs440,525.00272019-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/altruistic-technology-labs-biological-risk-preventionClaire Zabel Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: The grantee, "AltLabs", a new organization, intends to use these funds to hire initial staff and pursue various research projects related to catastrophic risk reduction, including machine-learning-based attribution of engineered DNA and broad-spectrum infectious disease diagnostics. Announced: 2019-07-18.
Center for Security and Emerging Technology55,000,000.0012019-01Security/Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness/Global catastrophic risks/AI safetyhttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/giving/grants/georgetown-university-center-security-and-emerging-technologyLuke Muehlhauser Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant via Georgetown University for the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a new think tank led by Jason Matheny, formerly of IARPA, dedicated to policy analysis at the intersection of national and international security and emerging technologies. CSET plans to provide nonpartisan technical analysis and advice related to emerging technologies and their security implications to the government, key media outlets, and other stakeholders.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Open Phil thinks that one of the key factors in whether AI is broadly beneficial for society is whether policymakers are well-informed and well-advised about the nature of AI’s potential benefits, potential risks, and how these relate to potential policy actions. As AI grows more powerful, calls for government to play a more active role are likely to increase, and government funding and regulation could affect the benefits and risks of AI. Thus: "Overall, we feel that ensuring high-quality and well-informed advice to policymakers over the long run is one of the most promising ways to increase the benefits and reduce the risks from advanced AI, and that the team put together by CSET is uniquely well-positioned to provide such advice." Despite risks and uncertainty, the grant is described as worthwhile under Open Phil's hits-based giving framework

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The large amount over an extended period (5 years) is explained at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/questions-we-ask-ourselves-making-grant "In the case of the new Center for Security and Emerging Technology, we think it will take some time to develop expertise on key questions relevant to policymakers and want to give CSET the commitment necessary to recruit key people, so we provided a five-year grant."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Likely determined by the timing that the grantee plans to launch. More timing details are not discussed
Intended funding timeframe in months: 60

Other notes: Donee is entered as Center for Security and Emerging Technology rather than as Georgetown University for consistency with future grants directly to the organization once it is set up. Founding members of CSET include Dewey Murdick from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, William Hannas from the CIA, and Helen Toner from the Open Philanthropy Project. The grant is discussed in the broader context of giving by the Open Philanthropy Project into global catastrophic risks and AI safety in the Inside Philanthropy article https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2019/3/22/why-this-effective-altruist-funder-is-giving-millions-to-ai-security. Announced: 2019-02-28.
Center for International Security and Cooperation1,625,000.00152019-01Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-international-security-and-cooperation-biosecurity-research-2019Claire Zabel Grant over three years to Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) to support Megan Palmer’s work on biosecurity. This research is focused on developing ways to improve governance of biological science and to reduce the risk of misuse of advanced biotechnology. This funding is intended to allow Dr. Palmer to continue and extend a study on the attitudes of participants in International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM), to better understand how institutional environments, safety practices or competition incentives might motivate young scientists and engineers. The grant is a renewal of the October 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-international-security-and-cooperation-biosecurity-research. Announced: 2019-02-12.
Sherlock Biosciences17,500,000.0032019-01Scientific 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: 1; announced: 2019-03-21.
University of Sydney32,621.00432018-12Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/university-of-sydney-global-health-security-conferenceClaire Zabel Grant of $45,000 AUD ($32,620.50 at the time of conversion) to the University of Sydney to support the 2019 Global Health Security Conference in Sydney, Australia. The funds are intended for general support of the conference, and to support travel bursaries to allow participants from low-income countries to attend a gathering of the global health security community, including academics, policymakers, and practitioners. Announced: 2019-01-17.
Nuclear Threat Initiative1,904,942.00132018-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-projects-to-reduce-global-catastrophic-biological-risksClaire Zabel Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support projects to reduce Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (GCBRs). NTI intends to use these funds to support projects including, among others, strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention and reducing state biological threats and additional GCBRs through international dialogues." Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2018-12-13.
International Genetically Engineered Medicine Foundation420,000.00282018-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/igem-synthetic-biology-safety-and-security-2018Claire Zabel Grant over two years to the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation for its work on safety and security, led by Piers Millett. iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition for students. Donor believes that supporting iGEM’s safety and security work could help raise awareness about biosecurity among current and future synthetic biologists. Renewal of May 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/igem-synthetic-biology-safety-and-security. Announced: 2019-01-31.
University of Oxford (Earmark: Andrew Snyder-Beattie)26,086.00442018-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/oxford-university-dphil-support-for-andrew-snyder-beattieClaire Zabel Gift of £20,000 ($26,086 at time of conversion) to the University of Oxford to support the research of the Mathematical Ecology Research Group and the research costs of Andrew Snyder-Beattie, who recently served as Director of Research at the Future of Humanity Institute and a member of FHI’s Biotechnology Research Team. Announced: 2018-10-30.
Nuclear Threat Initiative3,556,773.0072018-07Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-grantJaime Yassif Donation process: It's likely that the donation process relied mostly on the legwork done during the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant as well as the followup on that grant.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to create a Global Health Security Index in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Economist Intelligence Unit. NTI plans to use these funds to support the development of an index of national-level biosecurity and pandemic preparedness capacity in at least 194 countries. The project is modeled on NTI’s analogous Nuclear Materials Security Index."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons not listed, but likely same as for the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant (1) "We are not aware of an existing comprehensive source for this type of information, nor a comprehensive international standard for national global health security capacity." (2) "The GHS Index would be independent and therefore much less likely to be subject to political pressure." (3) "We believe that these three organizations are exceptionally well-equipped to do this work." (4) "Our understanding is that some past examples of similar indexes, such as NTI’s Nuclear Security Index, have been successful at creating political pressure and impacting government decision-making."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing likely determined by completion of the planning work that the planning grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant (February 2017) had funded.
Intended funding timeframe in months: 24 Announced: 2018-07-11.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security169,600.00352018-06Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/upmc-center-health-security-synbiobeta-2018-meetingJaime Yassif Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: $127,600 to Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and $42,000 to SynBioBeta to support a biosecurity fellowship program and a biosecurity panel discussion at the 2018 SynBioBeta conference https://2018.synbiobeta.com/ on synthetic biology. Announced: 2018-07-26.
Early-Career Funding for Global Catastrophic Biological Risks570,000.00202018-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/early-career-funding-global-catastrophic-biological-risksClaire Zabel Total over three years in flexible support to enable five early-career people to pursue work and study related to global catastrophic biological risks. Original grant amount $515,000; $55,000 was added on top in October 2018. Announced: 2018-08-24.
Center for Global Development49,942.00392018-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-for-global-development-pandemic-policy-project-jeremy-konyndykJaime Yassif Grant to support a project on "Policymaking during the Ebola Outbreak: Implications for Future Pandemics" led by Jeremy Konyndyk. Announced: 2018-03-08.
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security44,627.00402018-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2018Jaime Yassif Donation process: Discretionary grant

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to collect data about Libya’s pandemic preparedness capacity and also to establish a model process that can be applied in other countries in the region where it is difficult to obtain data due to political instability or ongoing conflict." Announced: 2018-03-14.
University of California, San Francisco500,000.00222018-02Biosecurity 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.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense2,588,162.00112018-01Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2018Jaime Yassif Intended use of funds: Grantee advocates for improvements to U.S. biodefense policy through a variety of activities, including hosting public meetings, publishing reports, and conducting outreach to members of Congress and the executive branch.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Likely similar reason as for the 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support that it is renewing. An earlier renewal/top-up was done in January 2017.

Donor retrospective of the donation: The grant page https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/bipartisan-commission-on-biodefense-general-support for a February 2020 grant to the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense calls that grant a followup to this and previous grants to the Blue Ribbon Panel Study on Biodefense. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2018-02-16.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace613,380.00192017-12Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/carnegie-endowment-international-peace-chinese-indian-perspectives-biosecurityJaime Yassif Grant over three years to support a project to assess Chinese and Indian perspectives on biosecurity risks associated with advances in biotechnology. Announced: 2018-01-09.
American Society for Microbiology43,149.00412017-12Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/american-society-for-microbiology-biothreats-conference-2018Jaime Yassif Discretionary grant to support a keynote panel discussion and dinner on “Preparing for Biological Catastrophe” during the 2018 ASM Biothreats Meeting, see https://www.asm.org/index.php/biothreats-2018 for more. The dinner discussion will address global catastrophic biological risks as part of a broader conversation about past and potential future pandemics, and is expected to be attended by approximately 400 guests. Announced: 2018-02-15.
InterAcademy Partnership14,605.00472017-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/interacademy-partnership-bwc-meeting-state-partiesJaime Yassif Discretionary grant to support a side event at the December 2017 Biological Weapons Commission (BWC) Meeting of State Parties, and other related activities to support the BWC. Announced: 2017-12-01.
David Manheim65,308.00382017-11Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/david-manheim-research-existential-riskClaire Zabel Grant to perform a research and analysis project, "Eliciting Evaluations of Existential Risk from Infectious Disease.". Announced: 2018-01-30.
Nuclear Threat Initiative6,000,000.0052017-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-supportJaime Yassif Donation process: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Our_process says: "Jaime [grant investigator] had several meetings with [Elizabeth] Cameron [leader of program being funded] and Deborah Rosenblum, Executive Vice President of NTI. She also reviewed and commented on NTI’s proposed budget and project concept notes.

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support NTI's new biosecurity program being led by Dr. Elizabeth Cameron, who recently joined NTI. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Proposed_activities says this includes "biosecurity work in China, developing international norms for dual use bioscience research, and a project to develop innovative ideas in the biosurveillance space. Additionally, some funding is reserved for new project ideas generated during the grant period."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-biosecurity-program-support#Case_for_the_grant lists these reasons for the grant: (1) "NTI’s track record of securing wins in the nuclear security and arms control space." (2) "Our confidence in Dr. Elizabeth Cameron". (3) "NTI appears open to considering work focused on GCR prevention." Also: "we consider biosecurity a neglected area, particularly with regard to GCRs, and this grant is part of a broader effort to fund influential organizations and individuals working in this space that we find credible and that share some of our priorities."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The renewal grant for the same amount ($6,000,000) over the same length of funding timeframe (3 years) suggests that Open Phil would be satisfied with the outcome of the grant. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2018-01-09.
Smithsonian Institution300,000.00302017-07Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/smithsonian-institution-outbreak-exhibitJaime Yassif Grant to support the Outbreak exhibit and related programming at the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit is planned to open in 2018 and run for approximately three years; it may reach up to 8.5 million visitors during that time. Donor hopes this exhibit will help raise awareness of pandemics, in part by drawing public attention to the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic, which is the largest on record. Announced: 2017-12-01.
National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine452,545.00262017-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/national-academy-sciences-international-meeting-governance-dual-use-researchJaime Yassif Grant to support an international meeting on governance of dual-use research in the life sciences organized by the National Academy of Sciences. Announced: 2017-06-14.
Genspace454,025.00252017-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/genspace-diy-bio-labs-projectJaime Yassif Grant to support an evaluation of biosafety and biosecurity in the DIYbio lab community, and a biosafety & biosecurity pilot program in three DIY bio labs, led by Daniel Grushkin and Todd Kuiken, Ph.D. See also the twin grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/north-carolina-state-university-diy-bio-labs-project to North Carolina State University. Announced: 2017-09-26.
North Carolina State University252,725.00322017-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/north-carolina-state-university-diy-bio-labs-projectJaime Yassif Grant to support an evaluation of biosafety and biosecurity in the DIYbio lab community, and a biosafety & biosecurity pilot program in three DIY bio labs, led by Daniel Grushkin and Todd Kuiken, Ph.D. See also the twin grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/genspace-diy-bio-labs-project to Genspace. Announced: 2017-09-26.
BioBricks Foundation152,950.00362017-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/biobricks-foundation-biosecurity-activities-sb70Jaime Yassif Grant to support biosecurity activities at the SB7.0 meeting. Announced: 2017-07-07.
Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security3,500,000.0082017-03Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-- Donation process: The grant page says: "To investigate this grant, we had several phone conversations with GHSS leadership and reviewed materials they shared, including project proposals, budgets, and information about the track record of core staff."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grantee plans to spend the majority of the grant funding on three main activities: (1) "Improving the capacity of the international community to respond to biological attacks." (2) "Researching international best practices for building laboratory capacity within national-level biosurveillance systems." (3) "Conducting a review and financial audit of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), an international effort that is organizing hundreds of millions of dollars in donor funding to build capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks." Also: "GHSS plans to use most of the remaining funds on one or more additional projects that will be chosen in consultation with the Open Philanthropy Project; some to research new project ideas; and a small amount to cover minor infrastructure improvements."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons for the grant include: (1) Main activities listed are in line with Open Phil priorities for biosecurity and pandemic preparedness. (2) "The co-leaders of GHSS, Rebecca Katz and Julie Fischer, are internationally recognized experts on the World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations and global health security capacity building." (3) "This grant will free up GHSS staff time to do research on biosecurity and pandemic preparedness issues that are important to us" (by moving away from project-specific contracts with the United States government). (4) "Support for GHSS will help to build capacity for biosecurity and pandemic preparedness analysis and advocacy outside of government". (5) "Few other centers research similar topics".

Donor retrospective of the donation: Followup grants https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2018 (2018) and https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness/georgetown-center-global-health-science-and-security-general-support-2020 (2020) suggest that Open Phil would continue to have a positive impression of the grantee. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2017-03-24.
Nuclear Threat Initiative476,859.00242017-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-planning-grant-- Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant "to support the first phase of the creation of the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, a public report that will score countries on factors relevant to biosecurity and pandemic preparedness." NTI intends to partner with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (also an Open Phil grantee) and the Economist intelligence Unit. Planned activities include: (1) "Developing a draft framework for the Index based on information from literature reviews and expert interviews." (2) "Convening an international expert advisory group to refine the framework and generate a list of potential metrics and indicators." (3) "Determining the availability of data sets for each metric and indicator." (4) "Publishing a set of 20-30 metrics and indicators that can be used to measure global health security in an index."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Reasons listed for the grant include: (1) "We are not aware of an existing comprehensive source for this type of information, nor a comprehensive international standard for national global health security capacity." (2) "The GHS Index would be independent and therefore much less likely to be subject to political pressure." (3) "We believe that these three organizations are exceptionally well-equipped to do this work." (4) "Our understanding is that some past examples of similar indexes, such as NTI’s Nuclear Security Index, have been successful at creating political pressure and impacting government decision-making."

Donor thoughts on making further donations to the donee: The grant page says: "The key open question for this grant is whether the proposed GHS Index can offer an improvement over the JEE in terms of how it measures capacity to prevent and respond to pandemics. An important related question is whether sufficient publicly available data exist to support an effective index. We recommended this planning grant to provide NTI, CHS and EIU with an opportunity to explore these questions by developing a preliminary set of categories for the Index and determining whether publicly available data exist in those categories."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The followup grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/nuclear-threat-initiative-global-health-security-index-grant to create the Global Health Security index (i.e., to go beyond the planning grant to actual implementation) suggests that Open Phil would be satisfied with the results of the planning grant. Announced: 2017-03-07.
Genspace15,000.00452017-02Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/genspace-diybio-and-fbi-meetingJaime Yassif Grant to support a meeting between the DIYbio community and the FBI. Announced: 2017-06-16.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security16,000,000.0042017-01Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-global-health-security-and-global-catastrophicJaime Yassif Donation process: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-global-health-security-and-global-catastrophic#Our_process "Jaime had several conversations with CHS leadership about high-level issues relevant to the grant, reviewed materials shared by CHS, and spoke to other experts in the field to get their perspectives on its work."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant to support CHS's work on biosecurity, global health security, and global catastrophic risks posed by pathogens. Over the course of the grant, CHS plans to devote about one-third of its total funding and staff time to GCR-related projects and two-thirds to general health security and public health preparedness work

Donor reason for selecting the donee: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-global-health-security-and-global-catastrophic#The_organization the grantee organization has (1) Track record of research and policy development, (2) Track record of policy impact

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-global-health-security-and-global-catastrophic#Budget_and_room_for_more_funding "We do not have a detailed budget breakdown for the grant; it is mostly unrestricted and is designed to give CHS flexibility to pursue the projects it considers most important and to have the most impact." An approximate breakdown is given. Also: "Overall, we estimate that this grant will increase CHS’s annual budget from $5.3 million to approximately $8 million."

Donor retrospective of the donation: The September 2019 renewal https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-health-security-biosecurity-health-security-gcrs-2019 (3 years, for $19.5 million) suggests that Open Phil would be satisfied with the results of the grant

Other notes: Largest grant made to date by Open Phil. Grant writeup includes lengthy discussion of grant. Open Phil had previously made a grant to the organization when it was housed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and known as the UPMC Center for Health Security. Using the grant money, the grantee would launch a bunch of projects related to Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (GCBR); see http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/about-the-center/pressroom/press_releases/2017-07-27_global-catastrophic-biological-risk-definition.html (2017-07-27) for the associated press release. Intended funding timeframe in months: 1; announced: 2017-02-08.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense500,000.00222017-01Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2017-- Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant to enable it to continue its advocacy for biodefense policy improvements. Grant is a top-up to previous grant of 1300000 in 2016-08 described at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support

Donor reason for selecting the donee: Likely similar reason as for the 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Likely because the earlier funds of $1.3 million granted in August 2016 are running out

Donor retrospective of the donation: The further grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2018 suggests that the Open Philanthropy Project is happy with the results of the grant. Announced: 2017-02-27.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security2,744,000.0092016-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/upmc-center-health-security-emerging-leaders-biosecurity-initiativeJaime Yassif Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: Grant to support the continuation of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI). For the first five years of its program, ELBI was funded by the Department of Defense (DoD). The grant page says: "Our understanding is that, for reasons unrelated to the quality of the program, DoD is not planning to renew support for it this year, and that the possibility of future DoD funding for the program is uncertain."

Donor reason for selecting the donee: The grant page says: "Our highly positive impression of ELBI is based in part on the opinion of Jaime Yassif (our Program Officer for Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness), in part on our observation that the program has a strong reputation throughout the field, and in part on our favorable view of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which runs the program. Jaime is a 2012 alumna of ELBI."

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): Likely to be based on the cost of the program

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): The grant page says: "Our understanding is that, for reasons unrelated to the quality of the program, DoD is not planning to renew support for it this year, and that the possibility of future DoD funding for the program is uncertain."
Intended funding timeframe in months: 36

Other notes: The recipient was housed at the time at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and called the UPMC Center for Health Security. The grant was made to fully support the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI) for the next three years. The grant was based partly on the positive impression of the program by Jaime Yassif, program officer in the area who was an alumnus from 2012. Announced: 2016-10-12.
Center for International Security and Cooperation643,415.00182016-10Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/center-international-security-and-cooperation-biosecurity-research-- In support of research by Megan Palmer. Her policy research is focused on developing ways to improve the governance of biological science and technology. One of the projects she intends to focus on in the next few years is a study of past, current and future iGEM competitions to better understand how to motivate young scientists and engineers to take biosafety and biosecurity seriously and how to instill those values in a way that lasts throughout their careers. Announced: 2016-11-03.
Future of Humanity Institute115,652.00372016-09Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/future-humanity-institute-biosecurity-and-pandemic-preparedness-- Conceptually part of a larger grant to the recipient, whose primary work area is AI risk reduction. More details in writeup for larger grant at https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/miscellaneous/future-humanity-institute-general-support. Announced: 2017-03-06.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense1,300,000.00162016-08Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-- Donation process: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support#Our_process "Jaime Yassif, our Program Officer for Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness, had three phone conversations with Study Panel staff, reviewed the Study Panel’s 2015 report, and evaluated the policy impact of the Study Panel’s phase-1 activities using materials provided by its staff."

Intended use of funds (category): Organizational general support

Intended use of funds: Grant of $1,300,000 via Potomac Institute for Policy Studies to enable it to continue its efforts started with a $300,000 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant in April2015 through the end of 2017.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support#Case_for_the_grant (a) This grant hopefully influences the US government, which is the biggest biodefense policy spender. (b) The Study Panel's track record to date gives some confidence that the next phase of its work will be effective.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support#Budget "The Study Panel’s phase-1 work had a budget of $600,000. The budget for its second phase has grown due to an increase in project length and scaled-up efforts in this second phase."

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by the completion of Phase 1, which cost $600,000 and was partly funded by the $300,000 grant by the Open Philanthropy Project
Intended funding timeframe in months: 16

Donor retrospective of the donation: The January 2017 top-up grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support-2017 suggests that the Open Philanthropy Project was happy with the progress of the grant, but wanted to top up the amount.

Other notes: Grant via Potomac Institute of Policy Studies. Announced: 2016-11-10.
International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation520,000.00212016-05Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/igem-synthetic-biology-safety-and-security-- Grant for iGEM (the recipient) to grow staff devoted to safety and security and support a pilot workshop on safety and security. Detailed writeup available. Announced: 2016-05-24.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense300,000.00302015-04Biosecurity and pandemic preparednesshttps://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant-- Donation process: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant#Our_process "We learned about this funding opportunity from Bruce Altevogt, who at the time was a senior program officer at the Institute of Medicine. Our investigation process for this grant included speaking with Dr. Robert Kadlec and other Study Panel staff about the Study Panel’s proposed activities and strategy, speaking with other potential funders about their thoughts on this opportunity, and having Open Philanthropy Project Program Officer Howie Lempel attend three of the Study Panel’s panel sessions."

Intended use of funds (category): Direct project expenses

Intended use of funds: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant#Budget "The Study Panel’s total expected budget is about $570K. About 70% of its costs come from three major line items: (1) Honoraria (~$8-10K per person per event): $196K (2) Study Panel and administrative staff salaries: $102.5K (3) Funding for public relations firms to support outreach activities, a press conference launch event, and related publicity activities: $104K.

Donor reason for selecting the donee: According to https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant#Case_for_this_grant (1) The grant has a reasonable chance of influencing US biosecurity policy. (2) There is too little philanthropic funding for biosecurity policy design. (3) This grant may help clarify Open Philanthropy Project's biosecurity and pandemics grantmaking strategy. (4) Open Phil has a positive impression of the grantee.

Donor reason for donating that amount (rather than a bigger or smaller amount): The total budget for the work that is being funded by the grant is $570K. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-grant#Room_for_more_funding explains how, in light of the funding already secured, $300K is enough to fully fund the work, and that is the amount the Open Philanthropy Project is funding

Donor reason for donating at this time (rather than earlier or later): Timing determined by the current state of progress of the work and the funding situation

Donor retrospective of the donation: The grant page for the August 2016 grant https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/biosecurity/blue-ribbon-study-panel-biodefense-general-support cites the success of this grant.

Other notes: The Panel convened four meetings and intended to release a report in October 2015 using this grant. The Open Philanthropy Project published a detailed writeup justifying the grant. Announced: 2015-10-27.

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