Research Assistants in Sustainable Finance

Cambridge University
Closing date: 16 June 2019

DEADLINE: Midnight (GMT) Sunday 16 June 2019

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) invites applications for two part-time Research Assistants 0.2FTE and 0.4FTE (7.5 and 15 hours per week) in the area of sustainable finance. The appointments are fixed term until 30 June 2020.

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, the Astronomer Royal; 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.

The Role

The Research Assistants will support Dr Ellen Quigley, and other colleagues associated with the research project on sustainable finance, in investigating the ways in which the financial system can contribute to the transition to a zero-emissions economy. The Research Assistant will undertake basic research activities including assistance with literature reviews, workshop organisation, and fact-finding, and will contribute to the writing of research reports and publications.

We particularly encourage applications from those with knowledge of climate science, energy systems, finance, economics or engineering. Experience in financial analysis or quantitative skills would be an advantage. Ability to work collaboratively is essential, and experience of conference or workshop organisation is desirable.

Candidates should have a good undergraduate or Master’s degree in a relevant field, and should demonstrate a strong interest in rapid decarbonisation. CSER has developed a community of researchers working together on the complex challenges of managing extreme risks and we are looking for candidates who will contribute this community and work as part of a team, both within CSER and with our many research partners.

Fixed term: Funding for these posts is available until 30 June 2020.


  • Undertake basic research for the sustainable finance project, e.g. by conducting literature reviews.
  • Assist the lead researcher in development and drafting of reports, academic publications, and other materials.
  • Provide administrative and organisational support for project events.
  • Participate in relevant Centre-wide activities such as team-meetings, work-in-progress seminars, and public events. This may include presentation of work of the project.
  • Liaise regularly with the lead researcher on research progress and event coordination.
  • Plan own day-to-day research activity within the framework of the project.

About you

Candidates should have:

  • A good undergraduate or Master's degree in a relevant field
  • Experience with or ability to quickly acquire knowledge of financial or quantitative data analysis is desirable
  • Knowledge of climate science, energy systems, finance, economics or engineering is desirable
  • Capacity to work independently and conduct high quality research
  • Evidence of ability to work in collaborative environments
  • Ability to engage with diverse communities of experts – including academics across disciplines, industry partners, and policymakers.
  • Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills
  • Fluency in English
  • Experience of working in a research team is desirable

An enthusiasm and strong commitment to the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk’s core research aims is expected. The Research Assistant will be expected to undertake some work independently as well as participating in collaborative work with colleagues at the Centre. The Research Assistant is expected to conduct most of their research in Cambridge and be based there but may travel elsewhere for research, conferences and meetings.

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 25 June 2019.

The full job description can be found here.

If you have any questions about this vacancy you can contact Dr Simon Beard,; or about the application process, contact

Find out more & Apply

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