Research Associate/Senior Research Associate In Communication and Outreach for a Science of Global Risk (Fixed Term)

Full-time, Fixed Term
Closing date: 12 November 2019

DEADLINE: 12 November 2019

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) invites applications for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate or Senior Research Associate in the area of outreach and communication for a science of global risk.

This position has funding available until 30 November 2022 in the first instance. The (Senior) Research Associate will work on some of the most important topics in the world today, will produce ground-breaking and fascinating research, will be part of a supportive and collaborative team, 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, 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

 As part of CSER’s new Science of Global Risk project (supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation), this unique role will combine a range of innovative approaches to grow the user community for the science of global risk. We are seeking a candidate who can help us develop methods and communicate insights to a diverse set of global stakeholders across academia, industry, government and civil society to improve their ability to envision and understand their relationship to global risk and its management.

We are interested in applications from candidates with professional communications and outreach backgrounds, able to apply their expertise and experience within a research setting, and from candidates with an academic background accompanied by expertise in communication, outreach and participation.

Key project activities associated with the role include:

  • Careful design and production of participation, outreach and communication strategies for a science of global risk.
  • Literature review around science communication and collaborative production methodologies to collate diverse insights and formulate novel strategies.
  • Observational research on CSER's participatory scenario-based engagement and other expert elicitation processes, to help optimise their design.
  • Exploration of the application of scenario-based methods to additional domains of global risk, including scenarios that integrate different domains of risk.
  • Writing academic papers and reports based on this work (with scope for other more innovative forms of outputs as well).

For this role, the ability to undertake such diverse tasks is more important than a particular disciplinary and/or professional background. We are particularly keen to hear from candidates with experience working on creative and engaging projects with groups from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and who have the passion and flexibility to work across different scales and domains of stakeholder communities.

About you

Applicants should have:

  • Expertise relevant to the role, such as a PhD in a relevant field or professional experience in a relevant area commensurate with the requirements of the role. We are open to applications from any disciplinary or professional background relevant to the management of global risk.
  • Evidence of ability to work in collaborative environments, and the ability to engage with diverse communities of experts.
  • Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills.
  • Evidence of a serious research interest in the research foci of the Centre.
  • The inclination and the intellectual versatility to engage with a range of 'big-picture' questions, and the ability to pursue such questions in a rigorous way.

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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