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The Existential Risk Alliance (ERA) has opened applications for an in-person, paid, 8-week Summer Research Fellowship focused on existential risk mitigation, taking place from July 3rd to August 25th 2023 in Cambridge, UK, and aimed at all aspiring researchers, including undergraduates. 

To apply and find out more, please visit the ERA website

If you are interested in mentoring fellows on this programme, please submit your name, email and research area here, and we will get in touch with you in due course. 

If you know other people who would be a good fit, please encourage them to apply (people are more likely to apply if you recommend they do, even if they have already heard of the opportunity!) If you are a leader or organiser of relevant community spaces, we encourage you to post an announcement with a link to this post, or alternatively a printable poster is here.

Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted, and we encourage early applications, as offers will be sent out as soon as suitable candidates are found. We will accept applications until April 5, 2023 (23:59 in US Eastern Daylight Time). 

 

The ERA Cambridge Fellowship (previously known as the CERI Fellowship) is a fantastic opportunity to:

  • Build your portfolio by researching a topic relevant to understanding and mitigating existential risks to human civilisation.
  • Receive guidance and develop your research skills, via weekly mentorship from a researcher in the field.
  • Form lasting connections with other fellows who care about mitigating existential risks, while also engaging with local events including discussions and Q&As with experts.

Why we are running this programme 

Our mission as an organisation is to reduce the probability of an existential catastrophe. We believe that one of the key ways to reduce existential risk lies in fostering a community of dedicated and knowledgeable x-risk researchers. Through our summer research fellowship programme, we aim to identify and support aspiring researchers in this field, providing them with the resources and the mentorship needed to succeed.

What we provide

  • A salary equivalent to £31,200 per year, which will be prorated to the duration of the summer programme.
  • Mentorship from a researcher working in a related field.
  • Complimentary accommodation, meal provisions during working hours, and travel expense coverage
  • Dedicated desk space at our office in central Cambridge.
  • Opportunity to work either on a group research project with other fellows or individually.
  • Networking and learning opportunities through various events, including trips to Oxford and London.

What we are looking for

We are excited to support a wide range of research, from the purely technical to the philosophical, as long as there is direct relevance to mitigating existential risk. This could also include social science or policy projects focusing on implementing existential risk mitigation strategies.  

Incredibly successful projects would slightly reduce the likelihood that human civilisation will permanently collapse, that humans will go extinct, or that the future potential of humanity will be permanently reduced. A secondary goal of this project is for fellows to learn more about working on existential risk mitigation, develop relevant skills, and test their fit for further research or work in this field.

Who we are looking for

Anyone can apply to the fellowship, though we expect it to be most useful to students (from undergraduates to postgraduates) and early-career individuals looking to test their fit for existential risk research. We particularly encourage undergraduates to apply, to develop their research experience. 

We are looking to support proactive individuals from a wide range of subject areas who have a high potential to do impactful work in the future. Candidates will be assessed both on ability to contribute to the existential risk research community and motivation to reduce existential risks. 

Application process 

The first stage consists of essay-style questions, and is the main portion of the application process. We will evaluate applications on a rolling basis and applicants who progress to the next stage will be invited for a short interview, which is the final stage. Successful applicants will be notified by late April, and afterwards we will work with accepted fellows to develop their project ideas and pair them with relevant mentors. 

We want to help people work on important problems even if it is not at ERA, so in that spirit, we also encourage you to check out the other programmes listed here.

Questions?

Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions section first. If you have questions about anything else which is not covered in our FAQs, please email us at specialprojects@rethinkpriorities.org

If you have any feedback, please submit it via our anonymous feedback form
 

Credits

This post is from the Existential Risk Alliance, which is a fiscally sponsored project of Rethink Priorities. 



 

Comments6
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 1:31 PM

I encourage those considering applying to note the following advice:

Don’t spend too long thinking about the pros and cons of applying to an opportunity (e.g., a job, grant, degree program, or internship). Assuming the initial application wouldn’t take you long, if it seems worth thinking hard about, you should probably just apply instead.

(From the post “Don’t think, just apply! (usually)”; I think this advice is especially appropriate for early career individuals, hence my signal boosting it here.)

I did the summer fellowship last year and found it extremely useful in getting research experience,  having space to think about x-risk questions with others who were also interested in these questions, and making very valuable connections. I also found the fellowship very enjoyable. 

Exciting! Have you considered linkposting this to LessWrong? (Some technical AIS folks and AI governance folks check LW more than EAF)

Thanks!
I see it is posted on LW, but as a separate post: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/uhFo7XeaRHL7b9ioh/announcing-the-era-cambridge-summer-research-fellowship

(I assume it doesn't much matter that it isn't link-posted, however if you think it is valuable to fix I can ask Nandini to)

Hi! I won't be able this summer, is this likely to be run next year as well?

Hi Jonathan! I currently work for ERA as a Research Manager. While nothing is certain in this world, I would say there is a very good chance we will be running this or a highly similar program again next summer. :)

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