Published: 11/27/2022

The deadline for applications is December 2, 2022

The Stanford Existential Risks Initiative (SERI) postdoctoral fellows will develop and pursue independent research agendas addressing large-scale risks across any of the four research areas (advanced artificial intelligence, biological risks, nuclear risks, and extreme climate change), with a faculty member appointed to oversee and facilitate their research. Fellows will also contribute to SERI’s mission by teaching courses centered on existential risk reduction, either teaching undergraduates and/or graduate courses that have been already developed, or by taking the opportunity to develop and teach an original course.

Appointment start date: 9/1/2023

About SERI

The Stanford Existential Risks Initiative (SERI) is a collaboration between Stanford faculty and students dedicated to mitigating global catastrophic risks, such as extreme climate change, nuclear winter, global pandemics (and other risks from synthetic biology), and risks from advanced artificial intelligence. Our goal is to foster engagement from both within and beyond the Stanford community to produce meaningful work aiming to preserve the future of humanity. We plan to provide skill-building, networking, professional pathways, and community for students and faculty interested in pursuing existential risk reduction. 

Program Details

This position offers unique possibilities for impact for fellows dedicated to pursuing the reduction of existential and global catastrophic risks through both research and education. Fellows will develop and pursue independent research agendas addressing large-scale risks across any of the four research areas (advanced artificial intelligence, extreme climate change, pandemics and synthetic biology, nuclear war, and nuclear winter), with a faculty member appointed to oversee and facilitate their research. Potential mentors include SERI co-directors Stephen Luby (Global HealthCenter for International Security and Cooperation) and Paul N. Edwards (Program in Science, Technology & SocietyCenter for International Security and Cooperation), as well as other Stanford faculty. 

Fellows will also contribute to SERI’s mission by teaching courses centered on existential risk reduction. These may be previously developed undergraduate and/or graduate courses, but SERI fellows are encouraged to develop and teach one or more original courses. Fellows should be enthusiastic about both their research and teaching contributing to addressing large-scale, large-impact risks, and expect to spend 50% of their time engaged in research and 50% in teaching. 

Fellows can also expect access to students and the rich intellectual life at Stanford, and may also play a role in and contribute to SERI’s programming. 

Terms of Appointment

  • SERI Postdoctoral Fellow appointments will be for two-year terms, with possibility of extension. Fellows will be appointed under a faculty mentor, who will oversee and facilitate their research process. 
  • Fellows will be appointed to a 50% research / 50% teaching position. Fellows will be expected to teach three courses over two years. 
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with and contribute to SERI programming, and mentor students, if they so choose. 
  • Fellows will receive a competitive salary including benefits. 

Qualifications

We are seeking applicants from all areas of research related to existential risk reduction, spanning STEM fields, social sciences, and humanities. We particularly encourage applicants trained in science & technology studies (STS), global health, and international relations. Applicants must have completed a doctoral degree by the position start date, must have demonstrated the ability to pursue a program of research in one or more of the SERI focus areas, and must have a strong commitment to teaching, backed by previous teaching experience.