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If you have a good shot at getting any of these positions, we’d be keen to discuss your next career decision in-person. We’re in touch with most of the employers on this list, so we can sometimes provide introductions or information about roles that have not yet been advertised.
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You are viewing our curated list of the most promising publicly advertised vacancies we’re aware of. They’re all high-impact opportunities at top organisations that are working on some of the world’s most pressing problems. These positions are demanding, but if you’re a good fit for one of them, it could be your best opportunity for impact.
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The roles we list here are very demanding. If they seem out of reach right now, see our article on how to invest in yourself to maximise your impact in the long-term, or scroll down for more suggestions on how to find leads.
Organisations we recommend
Some of the highest impact jobs are never advertised and are instead created for the right applicants. So below is our list of what we think are some of the best organisations working on some of the world’s most pressing problems. These are all potentially very high-impact places to work in any role, and many can help you to develop great career capital.
Our top priority areas:
- Google DeepMind is probably the largest and most advanced research group developing general machine intelligence. It includes a number of staff working on safety and ethics issues specifically. See current vacancies. Google Brain is another deep learning research project at Google. See current vacancies.
- The Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) was one of the first groups to become concerned about the risks from machine intelligence in the early 2000s, and has published a number of papers on safety issues and how to resolve them. See current vacancies.
- The Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University was founded by Professor Nick Bostrom, author of Superintelligence. It has a number of academic staff conducting both technical and strategic research. See current vacancies.
- OpenAI was founded in 2015 with the goal of conducting research into how to make AI safe and freely sharing the information. It has received $1 billion in funding commitments from the technology community. See current vacancies.
- The Partnership on AI was established in late 2016, led by a group of AI researchers representing six of the world’s largest technology companies: Apple, Amazon, DeepMind and Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft. See current vacancies.
- The Future of Life Institute does a combination of communications and grant-making to organisations in the AI safety space, in addition to work on the risks from nuclear war and pandemics. See current vacancies.
- The The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at Cambridge University house academics studying both technical and strategic questions related to AI safety. See current vacancies.
- The Berkeley Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence is very new, but intends to conduct primarily technical research, with a budget of several million dollars a year. See current vacancies.
Allan Dafoe at Yale University (Research Associate with FHI, Oxford University), who is conducting research on ‘global politics of AI’, including its effects on international conflict. PhD or research assistant positions may be available – contact [email protected] for more information.
AI Impacts works on forecasting progress in machine intelligence and predicting its likely impacts.
- The Center for Health Security (CHS) received a $16 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project, who see CHS “as the preeminent U.S. think tank doing policy research and development in the biosecurity and pandemic preparedness (BPP) space”.
- The Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University conducts multidisciplinary research on how to ensure a positive long-run future. With the recent hire of Piers Millett, FHI is looking to expand its research and policy functions to reduce catastrophic risks from biotechnology. See current vacancies.
- The Center for International Security and Cooperation, which has a biosecurity programme headed by Megan Palmer and was funded by the Open Philanthropy Project.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative is a U.S. non-partisan think tank that works to prevent catastrophic attacks and accidents with nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical and cyber weapons of mass destruction and disruption. See current vacancies.
- Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is a government agency that funds research relevant to the U.S. intelligence community. It has sponsored research on how to improve biosecurity and pandemic preparedness. See current vacancies
The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University houses academics studying both technical and strategic questions related to biosecurity. See current vacancies.
- Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense is a panel that analyses the United States’ defense capabilities against biological threats, and recommends and lobbies for improvements.
- Global Catastrophic Risk Institute is an independent research institute that investigates how to minimise the risks of large scale catastrophes. See current vacancies.
- Open Philanthropy Project, which advises GoodVentures, a several billion dollar foundation, on its philanthropy. See current vacancies. Disclaimer of conflict of interest: we have received a grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. You could also consider working at their partner organisation, GiveWell, which carries out priorities research within international development.
- The Global Priorities Institute at Oxford, which is the leading academic research centre focused on this topic (note that our co-founder, Will MacAskill, is a researcher there). See current vacancies.
- Future of Humanity Institute, which does macrostrategy research to analyse the long-term outcomes of present day actions. See current vacancies.
Note: Our investigation of this area is only shallow, so we are not confident in our analysis and recommendations. See the Open Philanthropy Project’s overview of this area for more detail and a longer list of organisations.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative is a U.S. non-partisan think tank that works to prevent catastrophic attacks and accidents with nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical, and cyber weapons of mass destruction and disruption. See current vacancies.
- Ploughshares Fund is a the largest U.S. philanthropic foundation focused exclusively on peace and security grantmaking. It supports initiatives to reduce current nuclear arsenals and to limit the likelihood of nuclear war (and to a lesser extent risks from chemical and biological weapons). See current vacancies.
- The Future of Life Institute works to reduce the risks from a number of areas, in particular nuclear war, pandemics, and advanced AI. See current vacancies.
- Global Catastrophic Risk Institute is an independent research institute that investigates how to minimise the risks of large scale catastrophes, such as from nuclear war. See current vacancies.
- The Centre for Effective Altruism conducts research into fundamental questions on how to do the most good, and encourages donations to the best charities available working on priority problems. It includes the project Giving What We Can, which encourages people to pledge 10% of their income to the most effective organisations for helping others. See current vacancies. If you’d like express interest in working at the Centre for Effective Altruism, fill out this short form. Disclaimer of conflict of interest: we are fiscally sponsored by the Centre for Effective Altruism.
- 80,000 Hours – yes, that’s us. We do research into the careers which do the most good and help people pursue them. If you’d like to express interest in working with us, fill out this short form.
- The Open Philanthropy Project takes an effective altruism approach to identifying high-impact giving opportunities across a wide range of problem areas, shares this research freely online, and uses it to advise top philathropists on where to give. See current vacancies. Disclaimer of conflict of interest: we have received a grant from the Open Philanthropy Project.
- Founder’s Pledge encourages entrepreneurs to make a legally binding commitment to donate at least 2% of their personal proceeds to charity when they sell their business.
Other promising areas:
Advocacy for animals on factory farms
- Animal Charity Evaluators conducts research to find the highest impact ways to help non-human animals. See current vacancies.
- The Humane League runs programmes, such as corporate campaigns and grassroots outreach, that aim to persuade individuals and organisations to adopt behaviours that reduce farmed animal suffering. See current vacancies.
- Sentience Politics is an anti-speciesist political think tank that advocates for more humane treatment of all sentient beings. See current vacancies.
- Animal Equality is a farmed animal advocacy organisation that conducts undercover investigations and promotes them online and through media outlets, as well as doing grassroots outreach. See current vacancies.
- Mercy for Animals engages in a variety of farmed animal advocacy programmes through undercover investigations of factory farms, legal advocacy and corporate outreach campaigns. See current vacancies.
Development of meat substitutes
- The Good Food Institute seeks out entrepreneurs and scientists to join or form start-ups focused on producing plant-based and cultured meat, and provides advice and lobbying to help them succeed. See current vacancies.
- Impossible Foods is creating plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, and has already created the widely-acclaimed Impossible Burger. See current vacancies.
- Beyond Meat creates plant-based meat alternatives that are sold in Whole Foods stores in the US. See current vacancies.
- New Harvest supports, funds, and promotes the development of animal products made without animals, such as cultured meat, milk and egg whites.
- Hampton Creek develops plant based animal product alternatives, such as vegan mayo, cookies and salad dressing. See current vacancies.
- GiveWell conducts thorough research to find the best charities available to help people in the developing world. See current vacancies.
- The Center for Global Development is a U.S. nonprofit think tank that focuses on international development. See current vacancies.
- Evidence Action scales proven interventions to improve life for the global poor. Their Deworm the World Initiative is one of GiveWell’s top-rated charities. See current vacancies.
- Charity Entrepreneurship helps people start new charities that have the potential to become recommended by GiveWell, such as Charity Science Health and Fortify Health.
- Against Malaria Foundation is one of charity evaluator GiveWell’s top charities and provides funding for antimalarial bed net distributions.
- Schistosomiasis Control Initiative is one of charity evaluator GiveWell’s top charities and works with governments across Sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen to develop national schistosomiasis control programmes.
- Innovations for Poverty Action is a non-profit research and policy organisation which, since its inception in 2002, has conducted over 600 randomised controlled trials and other evaluations. See current vacancies.
- GiveDirectly, one of GiveWell’s top-rated charities, distributes unconditional cash transfers to people living in East Africa. See current vacancies.
- Any other organisation not already listed that’s recommended by GiveWell (see list) or that has received a GiveWell Incubation Grant (see list).
You can also find vacancies and volunteer opportunities on the Effective Altruism Jobs Facebook Group.
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