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Applications for this position have closed

Position description

The research team at the Centre for Effective Altruism is now looking to take on Summer Research Fellows in 2017 to pursue prioritisation research. This is an opportunity to work with leading researchers and make original contributions in a young and exciting field.
This is a continuation of the research internship programme previously run by the Global Priorities Project. Past participants have generally taken the lead on a project under the supervision of one of our researchers.


The research team primarily does research on prioritisation - questions of the form “How can we compare between different ways of helping the world?”. Our work includes both blue-sky theoretical modelling as well as more applied research based on cost-benefit analysis literature. Presently, our team has two full-time researchers who focus on prioritisation (Stefan Schubert and Max Dalton) and four part-time researchers who focus on prioritisation (Owen Cotton-Barratt, Amanda Askell, Ben Garfinkel and Pablo Stafforini).


A successful candidate will show an aptitude for independent research, good written communication skills, relevant knowledge, and an understanding of our work. Any level of educational background will be considered. In the past we have had interns join us while enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, or with a doctorate.
The work will be fairly independent, with a distinct workstream probably involving stand-alone outputs. However, a member of our research staff will be deeply engaged with the work on a day-to-day basis and we see mentoring and professional development as a key part of the fellowship.

We support fellows by covering accommodation and expenses, but do not offer a salary. Start date and duration are flexible, though we expect the duration to be 4-10 weeks. We are able to provide appropriate visas for non-EU nationals, so we welcome applications from candidates all over the world.

We plan to offer two to four summer fellowships.

How to apply

Applicants should prepare a research proposal of 300-500 words. This should:

  • Identify a specific research question within the theme of prioritisation;
  • Briefly explain why the question is important;
  • Suggest how you might approach the question with a month’s work.
  • Flagging your uncertainties or concerns is encouraged. Aim to be to-the-point and clear, and feel free to use structures (sections, bullet-point lists) which facilitate this. The audience is our research team.

A successful candidate will not necessarily work on their proposed question, if we agree that there is a better one to address. Two key reasons why we are asking for a research proposal are that it tests a lot of relevant skills at once, and that it is independently a valuable exercise to undertake (for people considering research in this area).

In assessing the proposals, we will be looking for:

  • Clarity of language and communication;
  • Some familiarity with the field;
  • Appropriateness of question and suggested approach.

This is a relatively involved task, and including thinking time we’d expect people to spend between 3 and 6 hours on it, but up to a couple of days would be reasonable. We are not expecting the proposals to be perfect or ready-to-go; rather we would like to see how you think about it. We will provide feedback on at least the top ten research proposals submitted.

Please send this proposal as a pdf to along with a CV. You don’t need to send a covering letter, but you may send a short one as well if there’s something particular you want to draw our attention to. Questions about the role or process should be sent to the same address.

There will be two deadlines for the applications: January 10, 2017, and March 7, 2017. We expect to shortlist candidates and contact them in the week after the respective deadlines to arrange Skype interviews. We plan to offer one or two fellowships after each deadline; applications by the early deadline will automatically be considered in the second round.