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.
Open Philanthropy Biosecurity Scholarships
Table of Contents
Update: The Biosecurity Scholarships program has been superseded by our career development and transition funding program. Individuals interested in funding for work and study related to global catastrophic biological risks should apply there.
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 impact on the very long-run future.
The deadline for this program has passed. If we reopen scholarships in a future year, we will update this page.
2. 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. Other opportunities for funding can be viewed here.
We will consider applications that fall into two categories:
- Funding for graduate programs.
- 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.
- Funding for other research projects and relevant projects in the space. Historical examples have included funding individuals to:
- Participate in internships at think tanks or other organizations
- Conduct summer research in an academic lab
- Undertake an independent research project that could inform the creation of a new biosecurity organization
The program is open to applicants in any country. However, we may decline to make an award if we are not able to comply with local laws.
2.1 Support for graduate programs
Funding can be requested for master’s and PhD programs. Selected applicants will receive a 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.)
3. 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 is not a graduate 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.
4. Application Process
- Applications are due October 11, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
- This deadline has now passed. If we reopen scholarships in a future year, we will update this page.
- We will respond to all applications and expect to respond by November 22, 2022.
- If you need a decision significantly earlier than November 22, 2022, please specify this in your application and apply as early as possible. We may be able to expedite the decision process for you.
- Proposal, no more than 500 words. This should include a description of the projects or programs you are requesting funding for, and how you see this contributing to your career progression in GCBRs.
- Budget, if you are requesting funding for a GCBR-related project that is *not* a graduate program. This should be roughly half a page detailing the expenses you are requesting support for.
- Personal statement, no more than 500 words. 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 and GPA (undergrad and graduate, if applicable)
- Answers to a few other questions (see application form)
- Optional: links to previous projects, websites, or other online material
- We may contact you to request additional information.
Questions? Please contact [email protected].