Research Associate in Global Population, Sustainability and the Environment


University of Cambridge, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk


Cambridge, UK


DEADLINE: 26 August 2019

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) invites applications for a postdoctoral Research Associate in the area of global population, sustainability and the environment. This is a fixed term post with funding available until 30 September 2022 in the first instance.

Over the next few years, CSER will lead research and outreach to develop a deeper understanding of the impacts of overpopulation on the global environment, and work towards establishing a new consensus that these impacts must be included in global policy. CSER's approach to the study of extreme and existential risks emphasises interdisciplinarity and engagement with policy and technology communities.

CSER's work on environmental risks focuses on establishing new approaches to assess and manage trends that could lead to globally catastrophic impacts, human extinction and civilizational collapse. There is growing awareness of the potentially catastrophic risks associated with global scale environmental changes, including biodiversity loss, climate change, ocean eutrophication and resource scarcity. The empirical challenges in assessing these risks are complicated by their global scale, complexity and unprecedented nature.

Many of these pressing issues relate to human population dynamics. The Sustainable Development Goals are reticent about the imbalance between a rising population and a diminishing biosphere and its connection to humanity's unsustainable demands, and yet it is inconceivable that these goals can be met without addressing this subject.

While many of these trends are widely studied and well understood, we are seeking a researcher with the curiosity and passion to work on hard problems and extreme risks emerging from the intersection of environmental and population changes. It is particularly important to understand appropriate ways of managing such risks within the context of wider technological developments that could both contribute to human welfare and flourishing and help to manage these risks.

Supported by CSER's research team and expert advisory board, the Research Associate will produce independent and collaborative research outputs targeted at academic, government, industry and other audiences.

Applicants must have:

A PhD in a relevant field or professional experience in a relevant area commensurate with the requirements of the role
Expertise relevant to the focus area
Evidence of ability to work in collaborative environments
Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills
Evidence of a serious research interest in the research foci of the Centre
The inclination and the intellectual versatility to engage with a range of 'big-picture' questions, and the ability to pursue such questions in a rigorous way, integrating findings from different academic disciplines using a variety of analytic methods.

The funds for this post are available for 36 months in the first instance.

*How to apply*

If you are interested in applying, please access the University's Web Recruitment System. Our hiring panel can only consider applications made through this system.

Interviews are planned for the week commencing 9 September 2019.

If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact Ruth Farley, HR Administrator on

Contact Name

Ruth Farley

Contact E-mail