Niel has a PhD in climate physics from Oxford University. He was a member of President Obama’s Energy and Environment Policy Team, and was Climate Science Advisor to the Office of the President of the Maldives. Niel was also named a “Global Shaper” by the World Economic Forum.
Niel planned to become an advisor on climate policy or climate science to NGOs or governments.
How did Niel’s plans change?
Niel attended a Giving What We Can event in Oxford, and was introduced to the arguments in favour of earning to give, which immediately convinced him to rethink his approach. He initially switched to considering earning to give in finance, but after several months decided to work within effective altruist organisations. This led to him becoming heavily involved in the community in Oxford, and helping to set up 80,000 Hours. Niel then co-founded the Outreach group at the Centre for Effective Altruism. He intends to pursue the career in which he can make the most difference.
What is Niel doing now?
He is currently the Assistant Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, working on the Institute’s operations, fundraising and research communication to the media. Through this work, Niel contributed to the Institute raising an additional £3 million and roughly doubling in size. As a result they have been able to hire a number of outstanding additional researchers working on global catastrophic risks from artificial intelligence and biosecurity.
Update December 2017: Niel has now joined the 80,000 Hours team as an AI Policy specialist.