The Global Priorities Project is looking for research interns for Summer 2016

The Global Priorities Project is now looking to take on one or more interns to support research activities over Summer 2016. This is an opportunity to work with leading researchers and make original contributions in a young and exciting field.

The Global Priorities Project is an Oxford-based think tank that brings the best research to bear to help decision-makers choose between different broad approaches to helping the world. You can find details of our recent work in this update and about our team on the about us page.

Working with Dr Owen Cotton-Barratt, our director of research, past research interns have produced:

  • Models of the cost-effectiveness of research into neglected diseases (Dalton, summer 2014). This project led him to work on a broader analysis of the same theme with Giving What We Can in 2015, and contributed to the direction of some of our policy advocacy.
  • A flowchart showing how different ethical and empirical assumptions can lead people to support different areas (Kokotajlo, summer 2015). This has been viewed over 2,000 times, and received significant positive feedback and requests for physical copies.


A successful candidate will work alongside Owen or an incoming member of the research team to develop an aspect of prioritisation work – helping to answer some question of the form “How can we compare between different ways of helping the world?” The work may include blue-sky theoretical modelling as well as more grounded research based on cost-benefit analysis literature.

A successful candidate will show an aptitude for independent research, good written communication skills, relevant knowledge, and an understanding of our work. Any level of educational background will be considered; in the past we have had interns join us while enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, or with a doctorate.

The work will be fairly independent, with a distinct workstream probably involving stand-alone outputs. However, a member of our research staff will be deeply engaged with the work on a day-to-day basis and we see mentoring and professional development as a key part of the internship.

We support interns by covering accommodation and expenses, but do not offer a salary. Start date and duration are flexible, though we expect the duration to be 4-10 weeks. We are able to provide appropriate visas for non-EU nationals, so candidates from other areas should feel free to apply.

We plan to offer at least one summer internship by the end of January. As our research team grows in 2016, we may be able to offer additional places later in the year.

Application process

Applicants should prepare a research proposal of 300-500 words. This should:

  • Identify a specific research question within the theme of prioritisation;
  • Briefly explain why the question is important;
  • Suggest how you might approach the question with a month’s work.

Flagging your uncertainties or concerns is encouraged. The audience is our research team. Aim to be to-the-point and clear, and feel free to use structures (sections, bullet-points) which facilitate this.

In assessing the proposals, we will be looking for:

  • Clarity of language and communication;
  • Some familiarity with the field;
  • Appropriateness of question and suggested approach.

This is a relatively involved task, and including thinking time we’d expect people to spend between 3 and 6 hours on it, but up to a couple of days would be reasonable. We are not expecting the proposals to be perfect or ready-to-go; rather we would like to see how you think about it. Similarly a successful candidate will not necessarily work on their proposed question, if we agree that there is a better one to address.

We are asking for this because it tests a lot of relevant skills at once, and because we believe that it is independently a valuable exercise to undertake (for people considering research in this area). Owen will provide feedback on at least the top five research proposals submitted.

Please send this proposal as a pdf to with ‘internship’ in the subject line, along with a CV. You don’t need to send a covering letter, but it’s okay to send a short one as well if there’s something particular you want to draw our attention to. Questions about the role or process should be sent to the same address.

Extended deadline: applications are due at the latest by end of day on January 10th 2016. We expect to shortlist candidates and contact them in the following week to arrange Skype interviews.

Posted in GPP.


    • Applications for internships have closed, I’m afraid. If you send your CV to there is a very small chance we’d consider something outside the cycle, but applying in cycle is a good way to increase your chances.

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