Research Associate/Senior Research Associate in Public Policy for 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 public policy for 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 role will explore how best to engage with policy-makers, and turn research into policy. We are seeking a candidate who is able to draw on the developing science of global risk and collaborate with stakeholders to develop practical solutions, concrete proposals and actionable recommendations for policy-makers.

Key project activities associated with the role include:

  • Drafting and revising proposals that can form the basis of a policy co-creation process involving academic, industry, government and civil society stakeholders.
  • Working with CSER's partners to organise workshops and events to integrate multiple perspectives into policy design.
  • Writing papers and reports based on this work (with scope for other more innovative forms of outputs as well).
  • Identifying relevant policy processes and institutions across our full research program and highlighting opportunities for staff to engage with them.

For this role, the ability to undertake such diverse tasks is more important than a particular disciplinary and/or professional background. We are interested in applications from candidates with an academic background accompanied by expertise in public policy, and from candidates with a practical policy background, able to apply their expertise and experience within a research setting.

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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