X-risk postdocs at Cambridge

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) in Cambridge is now taking applications for four 2-year postdocs to work on existential risks from technology.

As I’ve reported before, there are good reasons to think that the importance of such risks goes beyond the 7 billion lives that are immediately at stake. And we should expect the mitigation of these dangers to be undersupplied by the market.

It’s very exciting to see CSER go from an ambitious idea to a living, breathing, funded thing. As effective altruism becomes more mainstream, we should expect the obvious neglected causes to begin to dry up. If you care about existential risk, I have it on good authority that researchers are in short supply. So I encourage you to apply if you’re interested. (EDIT: The deadline is April 24th.)



DOUBLE EDIT: The Future of Humanity Institute in Oxford is also hiring for one postdoc, due April 27th.

The full CSER job posting is here:

Up to four full-time postdoctoral research associates to work on the project Towards a Science of Extreme Technological Risk (ETR) within the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER).

CSER’s research focuses on the identification, management and mitigation of possible extreme risks associated with future technological advances. We are currently based within the University’s Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). Our goal is to bring together some of the best minds from academia, industry and the policy world to tackle the challenges of ensuring that powerful new technologies are safe and beneficial. We focus especially on under-studied high-impact risks – risks that might result in a global catastrophe, or even threaten human extinction, even if only with low probability.

Candidates should have a PhD in a relevant field, and should provide evidence of potential for academic research and publication at a high level, as well as a strong interest in applying their training to the study of technological risk.

Each RA will report to the Centre’s Academic Director, Professor Huw Price. They will also be expected to work under the direction and guidance of a relevant academic advisor, e.g., Professor Partha Dasgupta for ethics of ETR; Professor William Sutherland for horizon-scanning and ETR; Dr Robert Doubleday for responsible innovation and ETR.

Post-holders will be expected to:

  • Conduct independent and collaborative research on projects related to the themes of CSER (www.cser.org), to be published as papers in leading academic journals.
  • Produce reports for government, industry and other relevant organisations (for example, the World Economic Forum) based on this research, as appropriate.
  • Produce occasional articles suitable for a broader audience in order to increase public understanding of this area of research.
  • Organise, participate in, and speak at workshops, seminar series, lectures and conferences relevant to this research.
  • Develop collaborations with leading researchers and research centres relevant to this research within and outside Cambridge, and with key contacts in government and industry where relevant.
  • Lead and collaborate on further funding applications relevant to the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project and CSER’s broader research aims.

Further details on the specific research areas of CSER can be found on the website www.cser.org and in the Further Information.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

Applications should be made via the CRASSH website http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk by 12pm midday on 24 April 2015.

Please quote reference VM05685 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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