Research Scholar | Policy Track

Research Scholar (Policy Track) is a one-year visiting position for policy-focused researchers and policymakers who hope to positively influence the long-run impact of artificial intelligence.

As a Research Scholar, you will conduct research into what decision makers across government and industry should do today to prepare for a world of transformative AI and engage in related advising and public communication. You will deepen your understanding of AI governance and connect and collaborate with a network of experts, within an institutional home that offers both research freedom and research support.

Applications for Research Scholar Policy Track are now closed.

About the Team

GovAI was founded to help humanity navigate the transition to a world with advanced AI. Our 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 compute governance, US-China relations, arms race dynamics, EU policy, and AI progress forecasting.

GovAI researchers have advised decisionmakers in government, industry, and civil society. Most recently, our researchers have played a substantial role in informing the UK government’s approach to AI regulation. Our researchers have also published in top peer-reviewed journals and conferences, including Nature Machine Intelligence, International Organization, and NeurIPS. GovAI alumni have gone on to roles in government; AI labs, including DeepMind and OpenAI; think tanks, including the Centre for Emerging Technology; and universities, including the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. 

The newly formed policy team will aim to develop concrete recommendations for what influential public and private actors (e.g. regulatory agencies and private labs) should do today to put the world in a better position to engage with future risks and benefits from transformative AI systems. In addition to research, the team will engage in advising and public communication. The team will work collaboratively, likely with an initial focus on compute governance, AI regulation, and corporate governance for AI labs. 

About the Role

Research Scholar (Policy Track) is a one-year visiting position for policy-focused researchers and policymakers who hope to positively influence the long-run impact of artificial intelligence.

As a Research Scholar, you will conduct research into what decision makers across government and industry should do today to prepare for a world of transformative AI and engage in related advising and public communication. You will deepen your understanding of AI governance and connect and collaborate with a network of experts, within an institutional home that offers both research freedom and research support.

Our expectation is that the majority of your research time will be dedicated to policy development and advising, although you will also have the freedom to spend time learning or participating in other relevant projects.

You will receive supervision from Markus Anderljung, GovAI's Head of Policy, or Jonas Schuett, who leads our corporate governance work. You will likely meet with your supervisor and with the rest of the team every week, and receive further support and regular check-ins from Emma Bluemke, GovAI's Research Manager. Sam Clarke, GovAI's Strategy Manager, will also be available to offer impact-oriented career advising.

We are also hiring for a General Track version of the role, which might be of interest to applicants who would prefer to conduct more self-directed research or research that has more indirect policy relevance.

Qualifications and Selection Criteria

We are open to hiring candidates with a wide range of research interests and intellectual backgrounds. Although political scientists are most strongly represented within GovAI, we have also hired or hosted researchers with backgrounds in public policy, computer science, economics, history, philosophy, and law.

You might be a particularly good fit if you have:

  • A strong interest in using your career to positively influence the long-run impact of artificial intelligence, in line with our organisation’s mission
  • Demonstrated ability or potential to produce excellent research (ability might be demonstrated by academic publications or by non-academic work such as blog posts)
  • A commitment to intellectual honesty and rigour
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills
  • Self-direction, proactivity, and a desire to have a positive social impact
  • Receptiveness to feedback and commitment to self-improvement
  • Some familiarity with the field of AI governance
  • Some expertise in a domain that is relevant to AI policy

There are no educational requirements for the role. However, we expect that the most promising candidates will typically have policy experience or relevant graduate study.

Salary, location, and duration

Contracts will be 12 months fixed-term. Although renewal is not an option for these roles, Research Scholars may apply for Research Fellow positions once their contract ends. 

Research Scholars on the policy track are encouraged to work from either our office in Oxford or from San Francisco, where our Head of Policy is based. However, we are happy to accept applications from candidates who are only able to work remotely. We are able to sponsor visas. 

Research Scholars will be compensated in line with our salary principles. Depending on their experience, we expect that successful candidates’ annual compensation will typically fall between £50,000 and £60,000 if based in Oxford, UK. If a Research Scholar resides partly or entirely in a city with a higher cost of living, their salary will be adjusted to account for the difference. 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 annual wellbeing budget, a £1,500 annual commuting budget, flexible work hours, extended parental leave, ergonomic equipment, 3% pension contribution, and 33 days of paid vacation.

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


How to apply and what to expect

Applications for Research Scholar Policy Track are now closed.

The application process consists of a written submission in the first round, a remote work test in the second round, and an interview in the final round. The first page of the application form contains a description of the materials required for the first round. Please feel free to reach out to contact@governance.ai if you would need a decision communicated by a particular date or if you have questions about the application process.

If you have questions about the role, the policy team, or whether you should apply, feel free to reach out to markus.anderljung@governance.ai. 

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.

We would also like to highlight that we will likely invite applications to Research Fellow positions towards the end of this year. These are non-visiting positions, intended for AI governance researchers who are interested in designing and executing a research agenda over two or more years. If you think that the Research Fellow position would be a better fit for you, please reach out to contact@governance.ai and register your interest in that role.


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