Michael Noetel

Senior Lecturer @ UQ // Chair and Director @ EA Australia
641 karmaJoined Jan 2020Working (6-15 years)St Lucia QLD 4067, Australia


I create effective, scalable educational programs. I want them to help people make better decisions, become more empathic, and more effective in their work (esp. their research). I'm an awarded educator, receiving national awards, international senior fellowships, and the highest honour from my university. I also have a strong academic research background: I'm Chief Investigator on $3.7m of competitive, industry-partnered research grants; have published in the Scimago #1 journals for psychology, applied psychology, ageing, paediatrics, education (three times, see #1, #2, #3), and sport science (twice, see #1 & #2); and my work is cited almost 4x the world average (according to InCites; all data as of June 2021). 

How others can help me

I am looking to expand a team of researchers looking at how to most effectively train people to make clear and ethical decisions. This might include:

  • Improving the quality of education and communication for EA community building
  • Training policymakers and organisational leaders in clear/ethical thinking (improving institutional decision-making)
  • Training young people in clear thinking about their careers

To that end, I'd appreciate introductions to:

  • Potential PhD / honours students who might want to work on the questions above
  • Early-career researchers who might want to do research fellowships together
  • Like-minded researchers looking to collaborate on similar projects

How I can help others

I have strong methodological expertise in a few areas that might be valuable:

  • Figuring out what works best to solve a problem by designing and running systematic reviews / meta-analyses
  • Effectively and faithfully scaling up behaviour change with online educational intervention
  • Designing and running projects, like randomised trials of interventions
  • Accumulating academic career capital


Richard I really love your writing, but as a parent I find it so hard to just sit and read stuff. 95% of the forum's content I get via the podcast feeds. Now, I don't expect everyone to go full Experimental History or Joe Carlsmith and audio narrate each post, but unless you're wanting to keep things on Substack turf, you might consider cross-posting the full thing here (like Bentham's Bulldog did for the critique of the wired article). I don't ask this of everyone, so please consider this a compliment: I love your work and want it in my ears.[1] 

  1. ^

    That sounded weirder than I meant it to

One lens to look at this is less through the ‘we’re all similarly qualified’ like the AMA but more through the ‘we’re working with the same values’ or ‘we’re working on similar problems’ like the Institute of Public Administration Australia. These have no qualification requirements. Still they offer similar things to what ea communities try to do https://qld.ipaa.org.au/for-individuals/

These examples at the end are interesting and worth me mulling over. I do get the sense that Greenpeace or the NAACP would do many of the things you do

That’s a good point. All AMA members have to meet certain criteria. I can see how ‘’8 week reading group” pales in comparison to a medical degree.

I'll look into it. The census data part seems okay. Collecting a representative sample would be harder (e.g., literacy rates are lower, so I don't know how to estimate responses for those groups).

Thanks Seb. I'm not that surprised—public surveys in the Existential Risk Persuasion tournament were pretty high (5% for AI). I don't think most people are good at calibrating probabilities between 0.001% and 10% (myself included).

I don't have strong hypotheses why people 'mostly support' something they also want treated with such care. My weak ones would be 'people like technology but when asked about what the government should do, want them to keep them safe (remove biggest threats).' For example, Australians support getting nuclear submarines but also support the ban on nuclear weapons. I don't necessarily see this as a contradiction—"keep me safe" priorities would lead to both. I don't know if our answers would have changed if we made the trade-offs more salient (e.g., here's what you'd lose if we took this policy action prioritising risks). Interested in suggestions for how we could do that better.

It'd be easy for us to run in other countries. We'll put the data and code online soon. If someone's keen to run the 'get it in the hands of people who want to use it' piece, we could also do the 'run the survey and make a technical report one'. It's all in R so the marginal cost of another country is low. We'd need access to census data to do the statistical adjustment to estimate population agreement (but that should be easy to see if possible).

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