Open Philanthropy Early-Career Funding for Global Catastrophic Biological Risks

This program aims to provide flexible support for a small group of people early in their careers to pursue work and study related to global catastrophic biological risks (GCBRs), events in which biological agents could lead to sudden, extraordinary, and widespread disaster. Our goal is to reduce risks to humanity’s long-run future, and this opportunity is aimed at people whose chief interest is GCBRs as they relate to the impact on the very long-run future.

Applications are due here by January 1, 2021, at 11.59 p.m. Pacific Time. We will review applications and make decisions on a rolling basis.

Goals

The goal of this program is to provide flexible support that empowers exceptional people early in their careers who are interested in averting potential global catastrophic biological risks, which we see as an important and neglected issue.

Funding criteria

  • This opportunity is primarily aimed at people whose chief interest is in GCBRs as they relate to impact on the very long-run future.
  • If you are interested in pursuing a career related to the very long-run future, but your primary interest is not GCBRs, please consider applying to our program for individuals interested in improving the long-term future.
  • We will consider applications for funding for graduate programs as well as other research projects and relevant projects in the space. One example of the type of program we are interested in supporting is the Johns Hopkins doctoral program’s track in health security, which includes participation in Center for Health Security (CHS) research activities and mentorship and advising from CHS faculty.
  • The program is open to applicants in any country.1
  • Support for graduate programs

    • Funding can be requested for master’s and PhD programs. Selected applicants will receive a standard support package that covers tuition in addition to a living and travel stipend. Other programs may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    • People already enrolled in a graduate program can apply for support related to making their course of study more relevant to GCBRs. However, they will need to make a compelling case for the value of additional funding for facilitating GCBR-relevant work.
    • Applicants must explain how the programs they are pursuing will support their entry into career paths relevant to addressing global catastrophic biological risks (for example, in government, industry, academia, or think tanks). However, the program need not be explicitly GCBR-focused. (If it isn’t, the value of the program for work on GCBRs should be explained in the application materials.)

    Other information

    • There is neither a maximum nor a minimum number of applications we intend to fund; rather, we intend to fund the applications that seem highly promising to us. However, our best guess is that we will fund a small number of applications.
    • Funding for new graduate programs will begin when the program begins.
    • If you are applying for funding for a GCBR-related project that does not fall under the standard tuition and stipend package (e.g. something other than funding for a PhD or master’s program), you will be required to submit a budget detailing the expenses you are requesting support for.
    • In some cases, we may ask outside advisors to help us review and evaluate applications. By submitting your application, you agree that we may share your application with our outside advisors for evaluation purposes.
    • We may make changes to this program from time to time. Any such changes will be reflected on this page.
    • We encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply, especially self-identified women and people of color.

    Application process

    Application timeline

    • Applications are due January 1, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
    • We will review applications and make decisions on a rolling basis.
    • We will respond to all applications and expect to respond within 8 weeks.
    • If you need a decision significantly earlier than March 2021, please specify this in your application and apply as early as possible. We may be able to expedite the decision process.

    Application materials

    • Proposal, no more than two pages. This should include a description of the projects or programs you are requesting funding for, how you see this contributing to your career progression in GCBRs, and a ½ page budget detailing the expenses you are requesting support for, and the level of support you need.
    • Budget, if you are requesting funding for a GCBR-related project that does not fall under the standard tuition and stipend package (e.g. something other than funding for a PhD or master’s program). This should be a 1/2 page detailing the expenses you are requesting support for.
    • Personal statement, no more than two pages. This should describe your interest in this topic and motivations for applying, as well as your broader views about global catastrophic risks and related topics.
    • Academic transcript (undergrad and graduate, if applicable)
    • CV
    • GPA (undergrad and graduate, if applicable)
    • GRE scores (if you are applying to a graduate program)
    • Optional: links to previous projects, websites, or other online material
    • We may contact you to request additional information
    • You can apply for this opportunity here. If you are unable to use the application form, please send all application materials to biosecurity@openphilanthropy.org.

      Questions? Please contact biosecurity@openphilanthropy.org.

      • 1. However, we may decline to make an award if we are not able to comply with local laws.