Researcher

Astera Institute is looking for one or more junior or senior researchers to help us understand the current landscape in certain technical and scientific domains.

We need someone to help find interesting technologies, companies, and people looking for donations, investments or other collaborations. We are interested in a wide range of areas that have the potential to greatly increase the wellbeing of humanity including things such as space, climate change, longevity, and meta-science. Most likely we will start by hiring either a junior researcher or a senior researcher, but might hire both.

Responsibilities will include

  • Scouring the internet
  • Talking to scientists and technologists
  • Reading papers
  • Making recommendations about the feasibility of various projects and companies
  • Making their findings digestible and accessible to the rest of the organization
  • Helping us decide our ultimate involvement in certain areas or with specific projects

Requirements

  • Science or engineering background
  • Curious and Creative
  • Self motivated
  • Clear writer

Objectives

  • To understand high-value interventions that can improve the world. Clearly and succinctly explain these interventions to the Executive Director.
  • To prioritize interventions. This will involve searching through a lot of interesting ideas that seem potentially high value but turn out to be of low value, and spending time with the Executive Director focusing on understanding the highest value interventions.

Onboarding process:

  • The role will start with a 1-3 month trial period, after which we can discuss opportunities for a longer commitment depending on your experience, performance, and career ambitions.

Scope of commitment for the Junior role

  • We seek a time commitment of 18-24 months for this role after the trial.  After 2 years, we’d consider promotion to a more senior role with more responsibility.  We fully expect that junior researchers learn quickly and sometimes ‘outgrow’ their roles after a 1-2 year period, and will be supportive helping the researcher transition into a new role after 2 years if they are looking to move elsewhere for career growth.  We’d also consider promotion to a senior role.Supervision: Meetings every other day with the Executive Director.  Will start by asking high level questions, (see below). Will be asked to read and talk to people about the interventions to understand them better and assess their feasibility. Eventually you should generate your own questions and your research will be more self directed.

Scope of commitment for the Senior role

  • For a senior researcher, we’d similarly seek a 2-year commitment (after the trial phase), but would take more seriously the possibility of a longer-term engagement.  If we end up highly value-aligned and intellectually compatible, this role could end up being a career-length engagement that steers how Astera uses its resources.Supervision: Meetings once or twice a week.

Example Initial Questions for Investigation:

  • What is the most feasible approach to slow or reverse global warming?
  • Catalog and assess all of the asteroid mining schemes you can find.
  • What is the most promising anti-aging research being done now?
  • What technologies or research have the highest EV for civilization per dollar invested in them?

Compensation:

  • Negotiable, depending on experience/accomplishment, $90k/year minimum.

If interested please send your resume to: [email protected]