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We are happy to announce that the Swiss Existential Risk Initiative (CHERI) is now Pivotal Research and the CHERI research fellowship is called the Pivotal Research Fellowship.

Apply for the Pivotal Research Fellowship this summer in London to research global catastrophic risks (GCR) with experienced mentors on technical AI safety, AI governance, biosecurity & pandemic preparedness.

Research Fellowship

The Pivotal Research Fellowship will take place in London from July 1st to August 30th, 2024. In our fourth research fellowship, we offer a 9-week program providing fellows with experienced mentors and research managers. Accepted applicants will have the opportunity to work full-time on GCR reduction focusing on emerging technologies: we look forward to hosting fellows working on technical AI safety, AI governance, biosecurity & pandemic preparedness. 

Apply now


Overview of the fellowship

  • Applicants submit a preliminary research proposal that outlines what they are interested in working on during the fellowship. Once accepted, fellows will collaborate with our research managers to adapt and optimize their proposal, and identify suitable mentors for their project.
  • Fellows are mentored by experienced researchers and policymakers. A selection of our previous mentors can be found here
  • The research manager is a key contact throughout the fellowship, assisting with research, enhancing productivity, and providing career support.
  • The fellowship will be located at the LISA offices in London. The offices are a hub for numerous significant initiatives within the GCR domain, including BlueDot Impact, Apollo Research, and the MATS extension program.
  • Fellows receive a stipend of £5000, travel and accommodation expense support, as well as free lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday.
  • Anyone is welcome to apply. We are particularly excited about applicants with little experience but a deep interest in GCR research.  
  • Application Deadline: Sunday, 21st of April, at 23:59 (UTC+1).

Reasons to Apply

  • Gain experience in AI safety and biorisk research through the guidance of your experienced mentor.
  • Set yourself on a path to a meaningful career, focused on impactful work to improve global safety and security.
  • Co-work at a GCR hub surrounded by like-minded researchers.

In our experience, many excellent candidates hesitate to apply. If you're unsure, we encourage you to err on the side of applying. We also encourage you to share this opportunity with others who may be a good fit.


The fellowship's rebranding decision stems from the organization's operations no longer being confined to projects in Switzerland. 

As Pivotal, we strive to carry out various projects as a principal measure to support the GCR talent pipeline. We believe fellowships are still one of the most promising opportunities for upcoming researchers to get started with GCR research. In the past, fellowships have been a significant stepping stone, enabling participants to start impactful careers within and outside the GCR ecosystem.

With Pivotal’s rebranding, leadership has also been transitioning: Naomi Nederlof, who held the position of Director at CHERI, has transitioned to a role as an advisor at Pivotal. Tobias Häberli, previously the Program Director of CHERI, and Tilman Räuker, formerly a Technical AI Safety Research Manager at ERA, are now serving as co-directors of Pivotal.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Apply now





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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 11:54 PM

Sad news for https://pivotalcontest.org/

(I'm shocked that EA now has two "Blue Dot"s and two "Pivotal"s -- neither of which has the words "effective", "institute", or "initiative" anywhere to be seen.)

Exciting! Why the relocation from Switzerland to the UK? The fact that there are more EA/X-risk projects already in London seems like both a pro (more networking and community opportunities, better access to mentors) and a con (less differentiation with other projects like ERA and MATS, less neglected than mainland Europe fellowships).

Feel free to not reply if you deliberately don't want to make this reasoning public.

Hi Oscar, thanks for the question! To clarify, only the fellowship has moved to the UK, not our entire organisation.

We've thought a lot about the pros and cons of moving from Switzerland and largely agree with your points.[1] The main driver for our decision was Switzerland's comparatively small GCR network.

We see the fellowship as an opportunity to immerse fellows in a rich intellectual environment, which London’s – and especially LISA’s – GCR ecosystem offers. Our experience of running fellowships outside of established hubs suggests that fellowships alone are not a great vehicle to build a new GCR hub due to their seasonal nature and limited ability to retain people long-term. Nevertheless, we do see significant value in diversification and are considering future projects outside established GCR hubs for this reason.

Hope this explains our thinking, happy to answer more questions.

  1. ^

    Mentor access isn't a huge concern for us, since we expect most mentor-mentee interactions to happen virtually either way.

Makes sense, sounds good!

We also encourage you to share this opportunity with others who may be a good fit. If we accept any fellow we contacted based on your recommendation, you'll receive $100 for each accepted candidate. The recommendation form is here. 

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