Call for Applications
Type: Research Associate in Global Justice and Global Catastrophic Risk
Institution: Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER),
University of Cambridge
Location: Cambridge (United Kingdom)
The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) invites
applications for a Research Associate in Global Justice and Global
This postdoctoral position has four years of funding. The Research
Associate will work on some of the most important topics in the world
today, will produce ground-breaking and fascinating research, be part
of a supportive and collaborative team, and will achieve real impact
with their insights.
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 –
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
Global injustice can increase vulnerability to, and hamper recovery
from, global catastrophic risks. As the case of climate change
highlights, global injustice can shield those most responsible for
creating catastrophic risks from their immediate consequences, and
deny those who will be most affected by these risks the resources
required for mitigation and adaptation. Furthermore, global injustice
may be supporting a system of economic and political institutions
that are ill-equipped to solve these challenges, and that, for
example, contribute to unsustainable population growth and resource
depletion. Global injustice and inequality can be precipitating
causes, stress factors and early warning signs of global catastrophic
risk. We need to include justice and equity in our approach to risk
Our research programme seeks to:
(i) study ways in which global inequality and injustice increase
vulnerability to global catastrophic and existential risks;
(ii) work in collaboration with our partners to incorporate
population and economic growth, resource scarcity and global equity
into the overall evaluation of global policy and existential risk; and
(iii) develop a practical framework for global catastrophe justice,
designed to complement existing guidance such as the Sendai Framework
for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Research Associate will be encouraged to develop their own lines
of enquiry within the role, and will work with a high degree of
independence. We aim to build a passionate and engaging culture. Our
approach encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, leading to
creativity, new research insights, and real social change.
Fixed term: Funding for this post is available until 30 September
2023 in the first instance.
- Conduct high-quality research, to be published as papers in leading
- Collaborate with other staff at CSER, contributing to our work
across specific risk areas such as bio-risk, environmental risk and
risks from transformative artificial intelligence, and to our
research-led approaches to policy development.
- Act as an ambassador for the Centre's research, engaging with
scientific and technological communities, civil society, academics,
policy-makers, industry collaborators and the public.
Candidates will have:
- Expertise relevant to the focus area, 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. We particularly encourage applications
from those with a background in a field that produces empirical
insights into the relation between global justice and environmental,
technological, epidemiological or economic risks - and a strong
interest in policy development; or a background in a policy relevant
field - and a demonstrable understanding of global justice and its
relation to risk.
- Evidence of ability to work in collaborative environments, and the
ability to engage with diverse communities of experts including
academics across disciplines, industry partners, and policymakers.
- Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills.
- Evidence of a serious research interest in the research focus areas
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, integrating findings from different
academic disciplines using a variety of analytic methods.
How to apply
If you are interested in applying, please click on the 'Apply online'
button on this webpage:
This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System. Our
hiring panel can only consider applications made through this system.
Deadline: 26 May 2019
Interviews will be held in the week commencing 10 June 2019 to start
as soon as possible.
If you would like to discuss the role, please email Haydn Belfield on:
The full job description can be found here: