Executive Director of the Insect Welfare Project

Posted by
Rethink Priorities
Redwood City, CA
Published 8 days ago

Within the animal advocacy space, few organizations work directly on the welfare of invertebrate animals, and none focus exclusively on the welfare of insects. However, it is already plausibly the case that insects farmed for food and feed outnumber all vertebrate animals farmed for food, and in the near future, will likely become the vast majority of all animals directly harmed or killed by humans for food. Even more massive in scale are insects killed by pesticides. Other industries routinely use billions of insects.

The lack of work being done to understand and improve the lives of these insects is a critical oversight on the part of the animal advocacy research community. To address this, a group of concerned researchers have begun constructing the foundations of a new project, temporarily called the Insect Welfare Project, to address these issues.

We’re now seeking an Executive Director for this project. This person will initially join our team and work to get the project off the ground and build it into a successful, independent charity. We expect this new organization to start by tackling urgent issues related to the growth of the industry raising insects for food and feed.

While starting an organization can be a daunting task, we hope to provide significant support to the project and the Executive Director, including:

  • Fiscal sponsorship in the short term while the project gets off the ground
  • Commitment to fully fund the Executive Director’s salary and benefits for at least one year
  • Seed funding and introductions to interested funders, to enable the rapid growth of the organization over the next few years
  • Access to researchers at Rethink Priorities, including a staff entomologist, to aid in the assessment of conditions for insects on farms
  • Training in nonprofit operations, finance, and compliance, and ongoing operations support after the organization becomes independent of Rethink Priorities

We’re seeking a visionary and strategic leader who would work on this project for at least several years, ideally growing the organization into a highly effective charity. In the short term, this position would report to a Co-Executive Director of Rethink Priorities during an assessment period to ensure that the candidate is the right fit, after which we’d work with the candidate to help them incubate and launch this new organization as an independent nonprofit.

This position is open only to full-time candidates in the US and Europe. The salary is between $61,500 and $65,500 annually during the period that the organization is part of Rethink Priorities, depending on location and experience. This position is remote. Rethink Priorities offers comprehensive benefits including health coverage and unlimited time off.

To apply for this position, please submit a resume and spend no more than two hours producing a document that answers the following prompt by the end of day on May 23rd, 2021.

Prompt: Imagine that tomorrow you were put in charge of an organization working to reduce the harms of insect farming for food and feed over a five year period, and a grant of $200,000 to begin the work. Describe in detail what steps you would take and what would inform your decisions. Basically, describe to us what strategies and approach you would take to implementing interventions to reduce the harms of insect farming.

  • Include all information you think is relevant, such as budgets, contingency plans, etc.
  • While in this scenario you begin the project with $200,000, for the purposes of this application, assume that further funding of around the same scale is available per year, contingent on the project successfully making progress on the issue.
  • Note that for this prompt we are specifically referring to insects farmed directly to be fed to other animals, such as black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, and crickets, and not insects where only a part of their body or a byproduct they produce is used (such as honeybees and cochineals).


What you’ll do

  • Figure out a better name for the project
  • Develop the charity’s mission and vision
  • Develop a strategic plan for the new charity
  • Oversee the development of a new charity dedicated to reducing human harms on insects, starting with insects farmed for food and feed
  • Work with researchers to identify the highest impact interventions on insect welfare
  • Develop and implement high-impact interventions to improve insect welfare
  • Test and assess interventions as the charity implements them
  • Develop budgets, hire and manage staff, and oversee the administration of a nonprofit working on insect welfare issues


Skills you have

  • Strategic-mindedness
  • Capable of changing one's mind in the face of new facts or information
  • Interest in developing a nimble organization that can change direction as needed to have the greatest impact
  • Dedication to reducing the suffering and improving the well-being of insects
  • Dedication to the principles of effective altruism, such as a focus on impact and cost effectiveness
  • Willingness to commit to this project for the long term — this role is critical to the success of the project over time, and needs a dedicated long-term Executive Director
  • Experience in the animal welfare community with corporate campaigns, lobbying, investor relations, or another area directly related to the work you’ll be conducting


About Rethink Priorities

Rethink Priorities is a research organization aimed at uncovering insights from a variety of academic fields and using that information to inform policymakers and major foundations about how to best set policy to help humans and nonhuman animals.

Since the beginning of 2018, we’ve:

  • Brought to light the important and neglected area of invertebrate welfare
  • Researched the scale of industries that use animals
  • Created quantitative existential risk assessments, starting with estimating the harm of nuclear war
  • Studied the life history of herbivorous insects
  • And much much more!

Within the animal advocacy space, few organizations work directly on the welfare of invertebrate animals, and none focus exclusively on the welfare of insects. However, it is already plausibly the case that insects farmed for food and feed…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Start Date
    July 1, 2021
  • Application Deadline
    May 23, 2021


$61,500 - $65,500


We offer comprehensive benefits, including paid parental leave, unlimited time off, and more!

We offer comprehensive benefits, including paid parental leave, unlimited time off, and more!


Work may be performed anywhere in the world
Associated Location
1355 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA 94063, United States

How to Apply

Complete the application here:

Complete the application here:

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