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We’re excited to announce that the Global Catastrophic Risks Cause Prioritization team at Open Philanthropy will be hiring several interns this summer to help us explore new causes and advance our research. We think this is a great way for us to grow our capacity, develop research talent, and expand our pipeline for future full-time roles. The key points are:

  • Applications are due at 11:59 PM Pacific on Monday, March 4, 2023.
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled in a degree program or working in a position that offers externship/secondment opportunities.
  • The internship runs from June 10 to August 16-30 (with limited adjustments based on academic calendars) and is paid ($2,000 per week) and fully remote.
  • We’re open to a wide variety of backgrounds, but expect some of the strongest candidates to be enrolled in master's or doctoral programs.
  • We aim to employ people with many different experiences, perspectives and backgrounds who share our passion for accomplishing as much good as we can. We particularly encourage applications from people of color, self-identified women, non-binary individuals, and people from low and middle income countries.

Full details (and a link to the application) are available here and are also copied below.

We hope that you’ll apply and share the news with others!

About the internship

We’re looking for students currently enrolled in degree programs (or non-students whose jobs offer externship/secondment opportunities) to apply for a research internship from June - August 2024 and help us investigate important questions and causes. We see the internship as a way to grow our capacity, develop promising research talent, and expand our hiring pipeline for full-time roles down the line.

We want to support interns as team members to work on our core priorities, while also showing them how Open Philanthropy works and helping them build skills important for cause prioritization research. As such, interns will directly increase our team’s capacity to do research that informs our Global Catastrophic Risks strategy and grantmaking. Ultimately, this will help us get money to where it can have the most impact. 

​​We anticipate that interns will collaborate closely with the team; at the same time, we expect a high degree of independence and encourage self-directed work.

Our internship tracks

We are hiring interns for either the Research or Strategy tracks. The responsibilities for these tracks largely overlap, and the two positions will be evaluated using the same application materials. The main difference is one of emphasis: while research track interns primarily focus on direct research, strategy track interns are sometimes tasked with working on non-research projects (such as helping run a contest or a request for proposals). You will be asked to indicate which track you’d like to be considered for in the application.

Interns will work on multiple projects at different levels of depth, in the same way as full-time team members. They will report to an existing cause prioritization team member and participate in team meetings and discussions, including presenting their work to the team for feedback.

Specific projects will depend on the team’s needs and the intern’s skills, but will fall under the following core responsibilities:

  1. Searching for new program areas. We believe there are promising giving opportunities that don’t currently fall within the purview of our existing program areas. Finding them involves blending theoretical models with concrete investigation into the tractability of new interventions to reduce catastrophic risk. Much of this research is informed by conversations with relevant experts.
  2. Evaluating existing program areas. We pursue many different approaches to reducing catastrophic risk, and it’s not always clear how these strategies compare to one another. The team’s work combines backward-looking evaluation of past grants with forward-looking vetting of programmatic theories of change. Because reductions in catastrophic risk are difficult to measure, we expect the team’s work to involve developing and assessing proxy indicators that are easier to analyze.
  3. Advancing research agendas within program areas. Our program areas are often faced with a backlog of research questions and a deficit of researcher hours to throw at them. The GCR Cause Prioritization team lends research capacity to program staff who need help working through internal research agendas. These projects often involve fine-grained questions that require programmatic context.
  4. Informing high-level strategy. Reducing catastrophic risk is a complicated business, and many of our decisions rely on complicated dynamics that are difficult to capture. For example, our cost-effectiveness bar and spending strategy will depend on when threats emerge, and which opportunities arise to tackle those threats (among many other factors). The team investigates considerations that are most crucial to our strategic decision-making.

Who might be a good fit

We’re open to a variety of backgrounds, but all applicants must be enrolled in a degree program at the time that they are applying, or work at an organization that offers externship/secondment opportunities. Enrolled applicants must be no more than 12 months away from graduation in an undergraduate program, or be enrolled in a graduate program.

While past interns have sometimes gone on to later full-time roles at Open Philanthropy, our internships are typically temporary positions with no assumed extension. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please feel free to reach out to jobs@openphilanthropy.org.

You might be a good fit for this role if:

  • [For the strategy track] You have a background in consulting or equivalent strategic experience.
  • [For the research track] You have a background in analytical research (including, but not limited to, having or working towards a master’s or PhD).
  • You have a strong quantitative skill set, including the ability to incorporate uncertainty into your quantitative models.
  • You are comfortable building “back-of-the-envelope calculations” in domains in which data are sparse.
  • You are comfortable interviewing academics, policymakers, and practitioners across many domains.
  • You are excited about working in a fast-paced research environment that covers a wide range of potential research topics.
  • You exhibit good epistemic judgment, including a willingness to update on new information and a commitment to reasoning transparency.
  • You write quickly, and your prose is simple and easy to read.
  • You are independent, organized, and self-motivated.

Prior experience in global catastrophic risks is not required. The ideal candidate for this position will possess many of the skills and experiences described above. However, there is no such thing as a “perfect” candidate. If you are on the fence about applying because you are unsure whether you are qualified, we would strongly encourage you to apply. 

How to apply

Please apply by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on March 4th to be considered.

The process will have three main steps: an initial application, completion of a work test (for which we offer an honorarium payment to acknowledge applicants' time), and several interviews with the team.

Additional Information

  • These are temporary, full-time, paid positions. Our plan is for the internships to run for 10-12 weeks from June 10 to August 16-30, though we’re open to limited adjustments based on academic calendars. Potential interns must be available for 40 hours per week during their internships for at least the ten weeks following June 10. 
  • Compensation will be $2,000 per week.
  • This position is remote. However, we encourage interns to attend our organization-wide “Togetherness Week” in San Francisco from July 15-19. Open Philanthropy will pay for flights and temporary accommodation for those attending Togetherness Week.
  • We are happy to consider applicants currently studying in the United States on student visas, and we will provide any supporting documentation they require to be eligible for this internship. However, we don’t control who is and isn’t eligible for a visa and can’t guarantee approval under the applicant's student visa program.  
  • We may be able to hire a successful applicant who lacks U.S. work authorization to work remotely abroad.

We aim to employ people with many different experiences, perspectives and backgrounds who share our passion for accomplishing as much good as we can. We are committed to creating an environment where all employees have the opportunity to succeed, and we do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status. 

If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, or have any other questions about applying, please contact jobs@openphilanthropy.org.





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Thanks for sharing, Hazel!

Applicants must be currently enrolled in a degree program or working in a position that offers externship/secondment opportunities.

I guess it would be better to drop this restriction.

Hi Vasco! Thanks for your feedback. We’ll continue to consider the matter for future internships we run.

Hi Hazel,

I think it would be good if you elaborated on your reasons for having the above restriction.

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