This program aims to provide flexible support for individuals who want to pursue or explore careers in AI policy1 (in industry, government, think tanks, or academia) for the purpose of positively impacting eventual societal outcomes from “transformative AI,” by which we mean potential future AI that precipitates a transition at least as significant as the industrial revolution (see here). This program is part of our grantmaking focus area related to transformative AI (explained here).

Summary

  • You may request funding for support of graduate study (master’s program or above) in highly ranked programs related to public policy, international relations, security studies, law, economics, or political science.
  • Alternately, if you already have a graduate degree in one of the disciplines listed above, but would like to improve your understanding of AI, you may request funding for graduate study or other training related to AI (e.g. Coursera, Udacity, or a master’s program2).
  • 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.
  • Applications for this round are due October 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, but we will review applications and make decisions on a rolling basis.
  • You can apply for this opportunity here. (Due to limitations in Google Forms, a Google account is required to apply.)

Example types of applications we’d like to see

  • “In late 2019 I plan to apply to these four highly ranked programs related to security studies and then pursue a career in AI policy, but I would need some financial support to take any of those programs.”
  • “I have been accepted into these two highly ranked law schools and intend to pursue a career in AI policy, but I would need financial support to complete the JD.”
  • “I have a graduate degree in public policy and have worked in government for 6 years, and I would like to transition to a focus on AI policy, but to do that well I’d need to quit my job and study AI for 6-18 months while covering my living expenses.”
  • “I have some experience in AI but I’d like to transition to a career in AI policy, so I’m planning to apply to these highly ranked programs, but I would need some financial support to take them.” (In this scenario, it may be better to apply to PMF, AAAS, or TechCongress, but if you don’t qualify for one of those options, we will consider your application.)
  • “I’m part-way through a highly ranked security studies program but some additional funding would allow me to focus more on AI policy during the degree.”

Goal

The goal of this program is to provide flexible support that empowers exceptional people who are interested in positively affecting the long-run effects of transformative AI via careers in AI policy, which we see as an important and neglected issue. For those unfamiliar with our focus on transformative AI issues, we provide links to further context in an appendix.

Dates

Applications are due October 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. We will review applications and make decisions on a rolling basis. Funding for upcoming graduate programs will begin when the program begins. We will endeavor to respond to all applications.

Funding criteria

  • The program is open to applicants in any country.3
  • Funding can be requested for master’s programs, PhD programs, and JD programs. Other programs (e.g. Coursera/Udacity training in machine learning) may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicants may request full support, or partial support if their need is lower and/or their commitment to the area is more tentative.
  • Applicants already enrolled in a graduate program can apply for support related to making their course of study more relevant to AI policy. However, they will need to make a compelling case for the value of additional funding for facilitating AI policy-relevant work.
  • The program need not be explicitly focused on AI policy; indeed, we are not aware of any such graduate programs.
  • This opportunity is aimed at individuals whose chief interest is in the long-run effects of transformative AI.

Because women and minorities are currently underrepresented in discussions of AI and AI policy, we especially encourage women and minorities to apply for funding, and we plan to prioritize consideration of those applications.

Application materials

  • Proposal, no more than two pages. This should include a list of the program(s) you are requesting funding for (including the list of programs you plan to apply for, if you haven’t yet applied), how our funding could contribute to your career progression in AI policy, other “career next steps” you’re considering (e.g. if you don’t receive funding from us) and their pros and cons, a brief budget detailing the expenses you are requesting support for, and the level of support you need. If you expect to do significant research on AI policy issues during your program (probably true for only a small minority of applicants), please also share some initial thoughts on what that research might entail.
  • Personal statement, no more than two pages. This should describe your motivations for applying, how you came to be interested in the topic, which questions or challenges you might especially like to address if you pursue a career in AI policy, etc.
  • Academic transcript (undergrad and graduate, if applicable).
  • Answers to a few other questions (see the form).
  • We may contact you to request additional information.

You can apply for this opportunity here. (Due to limitations in Google Forms, a Google account is required to apply.)

Questions? Please contact ai-policy@openphilanthropy.org.

Appendix: Links to further context