Free open Job in North, South & Central America Summer Research Fellowship 2021 at Legal Priorities Project


We are excited to announce that applications for our Summer Research Fellowship 2021 are now open. For 10 weeks between mid-May and late July, participants will work with researchers at the Legal Priorities Project (LPP) on ways in which the law can help to protect the interests of future generations. Fellows will receive a stipend of USD 7,000, which includes travel expenses for a 2-week symposium at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City from July 12th to July 24th. The rest of the fellowship is remote.

If you are interested in carrying out longtermist legal research in fields such as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, or institutional design, as well as helping shape LPP’s long-term strategy and priorities, we invite you to apply. The application deadline is January 16th, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

About us

The Legal Priorities Project (LPP) is an independent, international research project founded by researchers at Harvard University. Our mission is to conduct legal research that tackles the world’s most pressing problems. This currently leads us to focus on the protection of future generations – an approach which has been referred to as longtermism. Our particular focus lies on the law & governance of (i) artificial intelligence, (ii) synthetic biology, and (iii) institutional design & decision-making. We also focus on (iv) meta-research, which allows us to question our methodological assumptions, and re-evaluate our selected cause areas and the most effective ways of working on them.

We collaborate with researchers at top universities and research organizations around the world, such as Harvard University, MIT, Georgetown Law, NYU, ITAM, University of Oxford, OpenAI, and Strathmore Law School. At LPP, you will enjoy a highly interdisciplinary and friendly research environment and will work together with intellectually curious colleagues who deeply care about doing the most good they can through law.

About the fellowship

We are looking for excellent graduate law students, PhD candidates, and postdocs who will join LPP for a fixed period of 10 weeks. Students approaching the final year of a 5-year undergraduate law degree are also welcome to apply. You will take the lead on a research project, with mentorship and support from other LPP researchers. The expected output is a research article or similar on a question relevant to our research priorities. We also expect fellows to attend regular meetings, give occasional presentations on their research, and provide feedback on other research pieces.

Selection criteria

  • Familiarity with one of our priority cause areas: (i) law & governance of artificial intelligence, (ii) law & governance of synthetic biology and biorisk, (iii) institutional design & decision-making, and (iv) meta-research. We are open to discussing other areas if they are relevant to longtermist legal research.
  • Willingness to engage with longtermism : Most LPP projects address research questions within our cause areas through a longtermist lens.
  • Ability to carry out self-directed research with limited need for supervision.
  • Excellent written communication skills.
  • Excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Strong academic qualifications: Preference will be given to graduate law students (JD or LLM), PhD candidates, and postdocs working in law and/or law-relevant research.

Further details

  • Positions available : We accept up to 15 candidates.
  • Duration & format : 10 weeks starting in mid-May 2021. For the first eight weeks, work will be remote. For the last two weeks (July 12th – July 24th), you will come to Mexico City for the 2021 SRF Symposium at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), where you will present and share your research with other team members and fellows. We consider applicants from all countries.
  • Work quota : We expect fellows to work full time (with flexible working hours), but we are open to considering part-time work.
  • Compensation : You will receive a stipend of USD 7,000 for the whole fellowship but will not be employed by LPP. The stipend includes approximately USD 2,000 to cover travel and accommodation expenses in Mexico City.
  • Diversity and equal opportunity employment : LPP is an equal opportunity employer, and we value diversity in our organization. We welcome applications from all sections of society. We do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability status, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws. If you have a disability or additional need that requires accommodation, please let us know.

Application process

We have done our best to make the application process as simple and time-efficient as possible.

  • First round : Please complete this simple application form. The deadline is January 16th, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time. The form asks you to submit your CV and a research proposal related to our research priorities. The proposal should be at most two pages long (including references). The topic you choose will not necessarily be the topic you will be working on during the SRF. You can also submit more than one proposal but the total length should still be under two pages including references. Additionally, you may provide us with a sample piece of research you have carried out in the past. This is optional and does not have to relate to our cause areas. We will review all applications and will send invitations to the second round by January 22nd .
  • Second round : This round will consist of one or two short online interviews. We plan to make the final decisions by February 5th . If you need an earlier decision, we can arrange this in exceptional circumstances. Simply get in touch.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact us at If you think you might be a good fit for the role but are unsure whether you should apply, we strongly encourage you to simply do so. We very much look forward to receiving your application!