Research Priorities

We believe that one of the most valuable contributions that research can make to the long-term flourishing of humanity is to figure out how we can motivate and empower people to do more good in better ways. This is a formidable scientific challenge that many more people should be working on. Just imagine how much better the world could be and how much faster our global problems could be solved if we had more effective, theoretically sound, and evidence-based approaches to unlock people’s potential to make valuable contributions to society! We believe that the best way to get there is to unite researchers from various basic and applied disciplines behind common goals. To find out what those goals should be and inspire more people to work on them, we are facilitating an open, collaborative effort in which researchers and practitioners come together to brainstorm, discuss, curate, and publish a tentative list of questions about well-doing, personal growth, and ill-doing that are most important for the long-term flourishing of humanity.

What have we accomplished so far?

  1. We compiled a short-list of impactful behavioral science research questions.

  2. We developed a quantitative method for estimating the cost-effectiveness of scientific research and written a report about it. [Report]

  3. We have applied this method to estimate the cost-effectiveness of research on promoting prosocial behavior in hours of happiness per dollar invested. Our estimate suggests that such research is about 100 times as cost-effective as psychotherapy. [Report]

How can I get involved?

There are several easy ways to get involved now:

  1. Propose potential research goals and questions, by entering them in this spreadsheet.

  2. Comment on other people's proposals in the Comment columns of that spreadsheet.

  3. Email falk.lieder@tuebingen.mpg.de to inquiry for opportunities to get involved in estimating the impact of research on one or more of the identified topics.