Research Assistant: A Science of Global Risk (Part Time, Fixed Term)

Part Time, Fixed Term
Closing date: 10 November 2019

DEADLINE: 10 November 2019

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) invites applications for a part-time Research Assistant (0.5FTE) to support the work of the Project Director, Professor Lord Martin Rees and CSER colleagues associated with the project.

This position has funding available until 30 November 2022 in the first instance. The Research Assistant will be part of a supportive and collaborative team working on some of the most important topics in the world today, and will achieve real impact with their work.

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

CSER is an interdisciplinary research centre within the University of Cambridge dedicated to the study and mitigation of risks that could lead to human extinction or civilisational collapse.

The Centre was founded by Lord Martin Rees; Jaan Tallinn, the co-founder of Skype; and Huw Price, the Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, to “steer a small fraction of Cambridge's great intellectual resources to the task of ensuring that our own species has a long-term future.” As Lord Rees says, “our century is special, because for the first time in 45 million centuries, one species holds the future of the planet in its hands – us.”

Our research focuses on how to manage extreme risks, including biological risks, environmental risks, and risks from artificial intelligence. We have a strong focus on delivering social impact and policy change. Our expertise has been sought by European, Asian and American governments, leading technology companies and the United Nations. Through our publications, expert workshops, and international conferences we have fostered a global community of academics, policy-makers and industry-leaders working to reduce existential risk.

Lord Martin Rees

Lord Rees is one of the foremost scientific voices in the UK – if not the world. He frequently gives public lectures and media interviews on science and on global risks. His academic work is in cosmology and astrophysics: he has been Astronomer Royal since 1995. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge 2004-2012 and President of the Royal Society 2005-2010. He is the author of over 500 publications and several books, including:

  • Our Final Century: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century? (2003).
  • On the Future: Prospects for Humanity. (2018).

The Role

As part of CSER’s new Science of Global Risk project (supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation), this role will support the work of Professor Lord Martin Rees and CSER colleagues associated with the project. The research assistant’s activities are expected to include: indexing, referencing and formatting of major project publications; literature review; basic research; and support for reporting activities.

About you

Ability to work collaboratively is essential. The project has a strong focus on policy engagement and outreach to diverse user communities and we particularly encourage applications from those with experience in such activities. Demonstrable understanding of some area of global risk would be an advantage.  Experience of conference or workshop organisation is desirable.

Applicants should have:

  • A good undergraduate or Master's degree in a relevant field
  • Capacity to work independently and conduct high quality research
  • Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills

The research assistant will join an interdisciplinary research team working to better understand global risks, their interconnections, and management options. We are seeking candidates who will contribute to this community and work as part of a team, both within CSER and with our many research partners.

Funding for this post is available until 30 November 2022 in the first instance.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying, please click on the 'Apply online' button on this webpage (or at the button below). This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System. Our hiring panel can only consider applications made through this system.

Interviews are planned for the week commencing 25 November 2019.

The full job description can be found here.

If you have any questions about this vacancy you can contact Simon Beard at or about the application process, contact Ruth Farley, HR Coordinator at

Find out more & apply

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