S. J. Beard

Academic Programme Manager and Senior Research Associate

As CSER’s Academic Programme Manager, S. J. (Simon) Beard works across CSER's research projects; as well as leading work on developing new methods to study existential risk and helping to coordinate our communications, fundraising, and policy engagement and organise our conferences, public lectures, and visitor programmes. 

Much of their work focuses on developing methods to assess and manage global systemic risks such as those relating to climate change, which has been described by Vice (https://www.cser.ac.uk/news/vice-guy-studies-global-systems-death-spiral-might/) as "bringing scientific precision to the doomsday scenario that wipes us off the planet." This draws on a comprehensive study (https://www.cser.ac.uk/resources/analysis-evaluation-methods/) of methods for assessing global catastrophic risk but also relates to considerations of global (in)justice and public policy, as discussed on the Future of Life Podcast (https://www.cser.ac.uk/news/fli-podcast-climate-crisis-existential-threat-simo/). Their first book (link to book page), with Julius Weitzdörfer, assesses injustice as a barrier to recovery from mega-disasters.

S. J. is also an advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Future Generations, an Affiliated Researcher at the Institutet för framtidsstudier, a BBC New Generation Thinker, and a member of the editorial board of the journal Futures. They have made radio programmes for the BBC, such as “What do you do if you are a manically depressed robot?” (https://www.cser.ac.uk/news/free-thinking-essay/) and “I love my children but are they the biggest moral mistake I ever made?” (https://www.cser.ac.uk/news/i-love-my-children-are-they-biggest-moral-mistake-/), and have also appeared on Radio and TV programmes, including Newsnight, Analysis, and the Naked Scientists. 

Before joining CSER, Simon was a postdoctoral research fellow with the Future of Humanity Institute’s project ‘Population Ethics: theory and practice'. They have a PhD in Philosophy and an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford. Alongside working on existential risk, they have published on population ethics and intergenerational justice and have a strong interest in big questions about the nature and future of morality (https://www.cser.ac.uk/news/bbc-deep-ethics-long-term-quest-decide-right-wrong/). 

S. J. has extensive experience across politics and policy-making, including as a researcher in the UK parliament, think tanks, and NGOs and as a parliamentary candidate. They have taught moral and political philosophy at Cambridge, the LSE, and VU Amsterdam, supervise students through the Effective Thesis project (https://beta.effectivethesis.com), and were formally a private tutor in economics. Their Erdös-Bacon-Sabbath number is 11.

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