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Applications for this position must be recieved no later than Sunday, March 31st 2019, 11:59 pm BST

Position description

The Centre for Effective Altruism is now looking to take on Summer Research Fellows in 2019 to pursue research aimed at cause prioritisation or improving the long-term future.

This is a continuation of the internship program we ran in previous years. However, this year’s Summer Research Fellows will receive mentorship from researchers in the Future of Humanity Institute’s Research Scholars Programme, rather than from CEA researchers.

This is an opportunity to work with researchers and make original contributions in a young and exciting field. Past participants have generally taken the lead on a project with mentorship and support from a more experienced researcher. The expected output is a research article on a question relevant to cause prioritisation.

We expect to offer three to ten summer research fellowships. We aim to have all fellows stay in Oxford for the eight weeks from 22nd July to 13th September, but are open to considering different dates for exceptional candidates.

The Ideal Candidate

Successful candidates 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 doctorates.

Further details

The internship will take place at the Centre for Effective Altruism's Oxford office, which we share with the Future of Humanity Institute and the Global Priorities Institute. The internship will be unpaid, though we will cover housing, food, and other living expenses for the duration. Interns will also be reimbursed for travel and accommodation costs. We will likely be able to provide a limited number of visas for exceptional non-EU applicants, so we welcome applications from all over the world.

This year’s project lead is Max Daniel, a Senior Research Scholar at the Future of Humanity Institute. He’ll also be responsible for conducting interviews and selecting candidates.

How to apply

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

  • Identify a specific research question within the themes of prioritisation or improving the long-term future;
  • 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 the research team at the Future of Humanity Institute.

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 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 the 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. We also understand that there will be a lot of variation between how much time qualified candidates spend on such a task; for example, native English speakers might need less time to edit their language for clarity. In some rare cases, we think that a qualified applicant might spend up to a couple of days to write up a research idea.

We are not expecting the proposals to be complete enough that research can begin immediately; rather, we mostly want to see how you think about the task. Once you've clearly expressed an idea, we don't think that spending a lot of time polishing your proposal will improve our evaluation. We will provide feedback on at least the top ten research proposals submitted.

We are an equal-opportunity employer and value diversity at our organization. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status. We are happy to make any reasonable accommodations necessary to welcome all to our workplace. Please contact us to discuss adjustments to the application process.

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

Applicants should include details of their availability in the email if they won’t be available for the default period from 22nd July to 13th September.

The application deadline is Sunday, 31st March. Interviews will be conducted over Skype between 13th and 18th April. Final decisions will be made by 19th April.