Can philosophical research contribute to securing a long and prosperous future for humanity and its descendants? What would you think about if you really wanted to make a difference?

Crucial considerations are questions or ideas that could decisively change one’s entire approach to an issue. What are the crucial considerations for humanity’s future? These could range from deep questions about population ethics to world government, the creation of greater than human intelligence, or the risks of human extinction.

The Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University wants to get young philosophers thinking about these big questions. We know that choosing a PhD thesis topic is one of the big choices affecting the direction of one’s career, and so deserves a great deal of thought. To encourage this, we are running a prize competition. The format is a two page ‘thesis proposal’ consisting of a 300 word abstract and an outline plan of a thesis regarding a crucial consideration for humanity’s future.  Previous winners can be found here.

We will publish the best abstracts on our website and give a prize of £2,000 to the author of the proposal we deem the most promising or original, which also shows superb academic merit. We decided on a thesis proposal as a good format for this competition, but, of course, there is no compulsion to actually write your thesis on the chosen topic.

Submissions should be in PDF or Word format and sent to by the 1st of September 2014. You may submit more than one proposal, but please only send your best ideas.

We regret that we will be unable to offer individual feedback, due to the large number of proposals anticipated.

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