People frequently ask us what high-impact research in different disciplines might look like. This might be because they’re already working in a field and want to shift their research in a more impactful direction. Or maybe they’re thinking of pursuing an academic research career and they aren’t sure which discipline is right for them.
Below you will find a list of disciplines and a handful of research questions and project ideas for each one.
They are meant to be illustrative, in order to help people who are working or considering working in these disciplines get a sense of what some attempts to approach them from a longtermist perspective might look like. They also represent projects that we think would be useful to pursue from a longtermist perspective.
These lists are not meant to be exhaustive; nor are they meant to express a considered view on what we think the most valuable questions and projects in each area are.
We’ve categorised the entries by discipline, though even if you’re already a researcher in one discipline we’d encourage you to consider questions and projects from others as well. Working at the intersection of two fields, and using the tools from one to tackle questions from another, can be good ways to increase your impact, as these interfaces are often more neglected.
There is some overlap between the disciplines listed below, and some repetition of questions that seemed like particularly good examples of research in more than one field.
This article is a work in progress — we hope to add and refine entries to these lists over time.
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Biology and genetics
- 3 Business and organisational development
- 4 China studies
- 5 Climate studies and earth sciences
- 6 Cognitive science and neuroscience
- 7 Economics
- 8 Epidemiology, synthetic biology, and medicine
- 9 Global Priorities Research
- 10 History
- 11 Law
- 12 Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computer science
- 13 Philosophy
- 14 Physics and astronomy
- 15 Political science, international relations, and security studies
- 16 Psychology
- 17 Public policy
- 18 Science policy/infrastructure and metascience
- 19 Sociology
- 20 Statistics and mathematics
- 21 Sources