Research Fellow

We are looking to hire one or more Research Fellows. We are open to candidates with a wide range of research interests and backgrounds, who have a demonstrated ability to produce excellent research and care deeply about the lasting impacts of AI.  The role would offer significant flexibility, access to a broad network of experts, and opportunities for collaboration.

‍Applications for the Research Fellow position are now open. The deadline for applications is 23:59 BST Sunday 7 July 2024.

About the Team

GovAI was founded to help humanity navigate the transition to a world with advanced AI. Our first research agenda, published in 2018, helped define and shape the nascent field of AI governance. Our team and affiliate community possess expertise in a wide variety of domains, including AI regulation, responsible development practices, compute governance, AI company corporate governance, US-China relations, and AI progress forecasting.

GovAI researchers have closely advised decision makers in government, industry, and civil society. Our researchers have also published in top peer-reviewed journals and conferences, including International Organization, NeurIPS, and Science. Our alumni have gone on to roles in government, in both the US and UK; top AI companies, including DeepMind, OpenAI, and Anthropic; top think tanks, including the Centre for Security and Emerging Technology and RAND; and top universities, including the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

Although we are based in Oxford, United Kingdom — and currently have an especially large UK policy focus — we also have team members in the United States and European Union.

About the Role

Research Fellows will conduct research into open and important questions that bear on AI governance. This research could take the form of reports, policy memos, academic papers, blog posts, or whatever format is most conducive to impact. Research Fellows may also spend a substantial portion of their time engaging in direct policy advising.

We are interested in candidates with a range of academic and professional backgrounds, who have a demonstrated ability to produce excellent research and care deeply about the lasting impacts of AI on the world, in line with our mission.

Research Fellows are expected to work under the guidance of a Senior Research Fellow, but have substantial flexibility in project selection. They are also expected to offer supervision and mentorship to junior researchers, such as our Summer and Winter Fellows. Collaboration with other researchers both inside and outside of GovAI is encouraged.

We are committed to supporting the work of Research Fellows by offering expert guidance, funding for projects, productivity tools, limited obligations on one’s time, access to a broad network of experts and potential collaborators, and opportunities to communicate one’s research to policymakers and other audiences.

For promising researchers who lack sufficient experience conducting AI governance research, we may consider instead offering one-year visiting Research Scholar positions that are intended to support professional development. There is a shared application for the Research Scholar and Research Fellow roles.

Areas of Interest

We are open to work on a broad range of topics. To get a sense of our focus areas, you may find it useful to read our About page or look at examples listed on our Research page. Broad topics of interest include — but are not limited to — responsible AI development and release practices, AI regulation, international governance, compute governance, and risk assessment and impact forecasting.

Please note that we are specifically open to hiring researchers who intend to conduct technical research, so long as this technical research is relevant to AI governance. 

Qualifications and Selection Criteria

We are open to candidates with a wide range of academic or professional backgrounds. We have previously hired or hosted researchers with backgrounds in computer science, public policy, political science, economics, history, philosophy, and law. 

You might be a particularly good fit if you have:‍

  • Demonstrated ability to produce excellent research, preferably (but not necessarily) within the domain of AI governance
  • Deep interest in the lasting implications of artificial intelligence for the world, in line with our organisation's mission
  • Established expertise in a domain with significant AI governance relevance
  • Self-directedness and desire for impact
  • Commitment to intellectual honesty and rigour
  • Good judgement regarding the promisingness and importance of different research directions
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills
  • Proactivity and commitment to professional growth
  • Strong interest in mentorship
  • Broad familiarity with the field of AI governance

There are no specific education or experience requirements for the role, although we expect that the most promising candidates will typically possess multiple years of relevant research or policy experience.

Duration, Location and Salary

Contracts are full-time and last two years fixed-term, with the possibility of renewal.

We typically prefer for Research Fellows to work primarily from our office in Oxford, UK. However, we also consider applications from strong candidates who are only able to work remotely. In cases where a Research Fellow’s work would be specifically relevant to actors in another part of the world (such as Washington, DC), we will also often prefer that the Research Fellow works from that part of the world.

We are able to sponsor visas in the UK and the US.

Depending on their experience, we expect that successful candidates’ annual compensation will — if they are based in Oxford, UK — typically fall between £60,000 and £80,000. If a Research Fellow resides predominantly in a city with a higher cost of living, their salary will be adjusted to account for the difference. As a reference point, a Research Fellow based in Washington, DC would typically receive between $85,000 and $120,000. In rare cases where salary considerations would prevent a candidate from accepting an offer, there may also be some flexibility in compensation.

Benefits associated with the role include health, dental, and vision insurance, a £5,000 (~$6,000) annual wellbeing budget, an annual commuting budget, flexible work hours, extended parental leave, ergonomic equipment, a 10% employer pension contribution, and 33 days of paid vacation (including public holidays).

Please inquire with if questions or concerns regarding compensation or benefits might affect your decision to apply.

How to Apply and What to Expect

The application process consists of a written submission in the first round, a paid remote work test in the second round, and a final interview round. Candidates who pass through the second round should expect to participate in a pair of interviews and may also be asked to produce additional written material. We also conduct reference checks for all candidates we interview.

Please feel free to reach out to if you would need a decision communicated by a particular date, if you need assistance with the application due to a disability, or if you have questions about the application process.

We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, and we encourage individuals with underrepresented perspectives and backgrounds to apply. We especially encourage applications from women, gender minorities, people of colour, and people from regions other than North America and Western Europe who are excited about contributing to our mission. We are an equal opportunity employer.

Apply now
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