Senior Researcher Position

An opportunity to join our team

The effective altruism movement is allocating hundreds of millions of dollars and millions of person hours to improve the world. Better research can dramatically improve this allocation. Rethink Priorities is a research organization aimed at uncovering the actionable insights across different EA causes that are needed to do this. We have founding values – we care about transparency, tractability, short feedback loops, actionability, and impact assessment.

So far we’ve done a deep dive on the cost-effectiveness of vaccines and learned some lessons, we’ve launched the PriorityWiki (and got some press!), we’ve commissioned a site visit of farming practices in rural Zambia, and we’ve looked at re-analyzing veg outreach studies.

For the remainder of 2018, we’re working on:

  • researching interventions in fish welfare
  • assessing invertebrate sentience
  • understanding the experiences of wild animals
  • assessing the impact of corporate campaigning
  • running and analyzing the EA Survey

We’re also looking into some projects to understand how to have an impact in the long-term future.

If this all sounds right up your alley, you’re our kind of person. We think our research is well-placed to make a difference. We’re looking for part-time and full-time researchers to help us do new research to dramatically improve this impact throughout the effective altruism movement. Senior researchers are expected to take lead and complete important research projects as a part of the team.

What we need from you

  • Openness to doing research in a variety of different cause areas
  • Openness to spending a lot of time on work related to animal welfare (as we think this is uniquely tractable and neglected and it represents the majority of our restricted funding and current stakeholder interest)
  • The ability to find, read, and critically apply academic research from a variety of disciplines
  • Comfort with quickly learning how to apply research outside your field of knowledge
  • Prior research experience (an undergraduate thesis or blog post on any topic is okay)
  • Comfort with independent work and be self-directed
  • Able to consistently work 20 hours or more a week (though flexibility and vacation time are provided)

What would be nice to have (but not required)

  • Broad familiarity with effective altruism
  • Familiarity with basic statistical techniques (e.g., t-test, chi-squared test, statistical power, experimental design)
  • Ability to do basic statistical programming (e.g., implement a t-test) in Python and/or R
  • Familiarity with GitHub
  • Familiarity with Stan
  • Familiarity with Guesstimate
  • Prior experience with cost-effectiveness modeling
  • Prior experience conducting surveys

What we’re offering

  • Opportunity to have a large impact, ensuring your research is read and taken seriously by key decision makers who influence millions of dollars
  • Competitive salary based on your personal needs and experience
  • Have a lot of input on what you work on (we agree as to what’s worthwhile as a team)
  • Flexible work hours (work part-time or full-time, work on your own schedule as long as you show results and communicate well)
  • Flexible work location (we’re currently in San Francisco, Vancouver, and Chicago and welcome new additions anywhere in the world)
  • Very fun and energetic team (get to be a part of the wider Rethink Charity Slack)
  • Very low bureaucracy
  • Fast-paced publication calendar (no waiting six months to publish something)
  • Own the intellectual property of everything you create
  • We don’t provide snacks but we could mail you a box of Oreos if you want

How to Apply

  • To be considered for this opening soon please apply by November 4, 2018. We intend to reopen the application process at some point in 2019.
  • Send in a resume and one example of your best previous research work to Feel free to also send me any questions you may have about the role.
  • Also, for applications, please send with your resume:
    • No more than one page explaining what you like, what you dislike, and how you would improve/expand the following research piece: “Thoughts on the Reducetarian Labs MTurk Study”.
    • A proposal for a research project you think is tractable and important. A good research proposal should be no more than a page, outline the topic, outline why it is important, and provide a brief sketch of how the question at hand would be answered.
  • Successful applicants based on this first stage will be contacted for the remainder of the application process, which includes spending three hours completing a test task and about 60mins each completing two interviews. That’s it!