Applications have now closed for the 2020/21 intake of DPhil scholarships.

FHI will be awarding up to two scholarships for the 2020/21 academic year for DPhil students starting at the University of Oxford whose research aims to answer crucial questions for improving the long-term prospects of humanity. Candidates are considered from a range of disciplines, including but not limited to computer science, economics, international relations, mathematics, philosophy, and public policy. Our goal is to choose the very best students and support them as they begin work on some of the greatest challenges the human race faces.

About the scholarship

Recipients of the Future of Humanity Institute scholarship become part of a group of exceptional students working on crucial questions for humanity across a range of disciplines.

Scholars receive:

  • Fully paid University fees
  • A generous grant for living expenses of at least £19,000 per year
  • Desk space in the Future of Humanity Institute’s office, which is shared with the Global Priorities Institute and Centre for Effective Altruism
  • Access to lively lectures and regular seminars and working groups, including those run under FHI’s Research Scholars Programme
  • The opportunity to network with world-leading researchers and to participate in social occasions held at FHI

The scholarship is awarded for the duration of fee liability, subject to satisfactory academic progress.


To be eligible for a Future of Humanity Institute scholarship you must be starting a full- or part-time DPhil programme in the relevant academic year in a relevant discipline. You can be either a Home/EU or an overseas student. Your supervisor does not need to be attached to the Future of Humanity Institute.

FHI is an interdisciplinary institute. Eligible departments for the FHI DPhil scholarship are Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, History, Law, Mathematics, the Oxford Internet Institute, Philosophy, Physics, Politics and International Relations, Public Policy, Sociology, Statistics, and Zoology. In exceptional circumstances, applicants from other departments may be considered.

To be eligible for the scholarship, your research should be aimed at answering crucial questions for humanity. There will be a preference for candidates working in existing FHI research areas: global priorities research and macrostrategy; AI strategy; AI safety; and reducing catastrophic risks from biotechnology.


At FHI we think it is important to take the consequences of research seriously, and to be able to take a sensible and clear-eyed view of our own research as well as that of others. This includes choosing research which we think has some chance of being important, but also being realistic about possible pitfalls. For our DPhil scholarship application, we want to see candidates exhibit their thinking on these questions, as applied to their own research.

Eligible candidates are invited to prepare the following materials:

  • A cover letter of 300-600 words explaining:
    • If you are optimistic, how you hope your research might be of substantive importance for the long-term future;
    • Your largest concerns about ways in which your research might fail to achieve that potential;
    • The most plausible ways in which you foresee your research could have negative consequences;
    • Anything else you think it is important for us to know.
  • A curriculum vitae
  • The research proposal you submitted as part of your DPhil application
  • FHI will also request your full DPhil application from your department, for use in the selection process for longlisted candidates.

The provisional selection process is as follows:

  • Shortlisting from written applications
  • Interviews for shortlisted candidates (possibly multiple rounds)

We expect to reach final decisions by the beginning of April.

If you have any questions, please contact

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