Research Associate in Responsible Innovation and Extreme Technological Risk


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 Responsible Innovation and Extreme Technological Risk. This project asks how risk-awareness and societal responsibility can be encouraged in the development of technologies with great transformative potential without discouraging innovation.

Working closely with CSER's industry and policy partners, the project draws insights from discussions about responsible innovation across academia, industry, policy, regulation and civil society to address the challenges posed by Extreme Technological Risk (ETR). Examples of relevant questions include: How should ETR be discussed in the public sphere while avoiding sensationalism and misunderstanding? What can be learned from historical examples of technology governance and culture-development? What are the roles of different forms of regulation in the development of transformative technologies with risk potential?

CSER's approach to studying ETR emphasises interdisciplinarity and engagement with policy and technology communities; this is reflected in the profile of this role. We are open to applications from any disciplinary and/or professional background relevant to Responsible Innovation. These could include: science and technology studies, geography, sociology, philosophy of science and relevant technological fields (e.g. AI, biotechnology or geo-engineering).

The Research Associate will be expected to contribute to the production of individual and collaborative research relevant to the focus area of Responsible Innovation and Extreme Technological Risk, and to participate in CSER's broader scholarly and outreach activities. The post-holder will also be expected to develop connections with scientific and technological communities to gain a deeper understanding of technological progress, future trajectories, and cultures of practice, to inform their work. This might be achieved through periods embedded in laboratories and/or research and development facilities.

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. Ability to engage with diverse communities of experts: including academics across disciplines, industry partners, and policymakers.
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.

Funding for this post is available for 12 months from the start date in the first instance.

*How to apply*

Our hiring panel can only consider applications made through the University's Web Recruitment 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