GiveWell is motivated by the simple question: how can we do as much good as possible?
In our efforts to answer this question, our researchers search for and recommend outstanding philanthropic giving opportunities. We focus on global health and poverty alleviation programs in the lowest-income parts of the world because that is where we've found we can have the greatest impact, according to our criteria.
We direct funding to outstanding giving opportunities in two main ways:
Our recommended charities. We rigorously vet and recommend a short list of top charities that meet our criteria of being evidence-backed, cost-effective, transparent, and in need of more funding. Our four current top charities work on lifesaving programs including malaria chemoprevention, antimalarial nets, vaccine incentivization, and vitamin A supplementation. We continuously review our giving recommendations, and this analysis is available, for free, on our website. Based on our recommendations, donors have given more than $1 billion to our recommended programs since our founding in 2007. In 2021 alone, we directed more than $525 million.
Grants to promising opportunities. GiveWell also recommends grants to high impact opportunities outside of our top charities, including incubating, scaling, or getting more certainty around a potential future top charity as well as grants made purely on the basis of expected value. Past grants include support for an initiative to improve the uptake and implementation by governments of evidence-based policy and the first randomized controlled trial of mask-wearing in a low-income country to increase mask use and prevent COVID-19 transmission.
Going forward, we expect to broaden the scope of what we consider funding. We will remain driven by our search for funding opportunities that can save or improve lives the most.
GiveWell’s first Senior Malaria Researcher will be responsible for strengthening the quality of the research and cost-effectiveness modeling guiding GiveWell’s large portfolio of investments in malaria interventions.
In 2022, GiveWell recommended around $150M in investments aimed at preventing deaths from malaria, including funding for distribution of insecticide treated nets, seasonal and perennial chemoprevention, and malaria vaccines. In the coming years, we expect our recommended giving to continue to grow in dollar amounts and supported interventions.
GiveWell’s funding decisions are made by a small team of generalists. As the malaria subject-matter expert within this small team, you will be a significant contributor to our decisions about how hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent with the goal of saving and improving the lives of people living in the lowest-income communities in the world. We expect you to help address holistic questions about GiveWell’s portfolio of investments overall as well as more detailed questions about specific giving opportunities.
Examples of questions you may address include:
How should GiveWell’s portfolio of investments change in response to new technologies and shifts in government or funder priorities?
How does expanding the use of newly-developed insecticides in nets affect cost-effectiveness?
What is the potential cost-effectiveness of novel interventions such as attractive toxic sugar baits at scale across contexts?
You will also work across GiveWell’s research and grantmaking teams to:
Develop a holistic understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of GiveWell’s malaria investment portfolio
Prioritize, investigate, and recommend updates to existing cost-effectiveness models;
Identify, research, and build cost-effectiveness models for promising new malaria interventions;
Research and build cost-effectiveness models for different intervention bundles across contexts; and
Act as an expert advisor to GiveWell’s grantmaking teams
You will leverage a combination of malaria-specific expertise, critical research review and synthesis, empirical analysis, modeling, logical reasoning, and good judgment in order to make practical recommendations.
We expect the Senior Malaria Researcher to have a quantitatively oriented advanced degree (e.g., in epidemiology, statistics, economics or related fields) and substantial expertise related to malaria. The role will also benefit from intellectual flexibility to tackle a wide range of questions such as those listed above and a drive to practical conclusions to guide funding decisions.
We expect you will be characterized by many of the below qualities. We encourage you to apply if you would use the majority of these characteristics to describe yourself:
You have substantial expertise in the malaria landscape (broadly defined). This could include experience in epidemiological or health economics modeling, and/or in program implementation or funding.
You are passionate about helping strengthen GiveWell’s funding recommendations in malaria and eager to work with a small team of generalists to do so.
You are highly skilled at critically analyzing and synthesizing empirical research and understanding how a body of evidence may apply to real-world problems.
You are able to plan an efficient approach to exploring complicated questions, including identifying and focusing on the most decision-relevant aspects of a project.
You consider the big picture, asking questions like: is this project appropriately formulated and the best use of my time? What is GiveWell getting wrong in our research?
You clearly communicate what you believe and why, as well as what you are uncertain about.
You ask a lot of questions, and are curious, rather than defensive, when interrogating your own or others’ work.
You are able to execute research that holds up under scrutiny from others and over time.
You are respectful, effective, and efficient in your interactions with colleagues as well as external parties.
Confidence can sometimes hold us back from applying for a job. Here’s a secret: there's no such thing as a "perfect" candidate. GiveWell is looking for exceptional people who want to make a positive impact through their work and help create an organization where everyone can thrive. So whatever background you bring with you, please apply if this role would make you excited to come to work every day.