Huw Price - Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge

Huw Price
Academic Director

Huw is Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy and a Fellow of Trinity College. He is also the Academic Director of CSER which he founded in 2012 with Martin Rees and Jaan Tallinn. Previously Huw was the Director of the Centre for Time at the University of Sydney and author of Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point. He became interested in existential risk after a chance encounter with Jaan Tallinn, and has written extensively to the public about such risks. His work is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation as part of the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project at CSER.


Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh
Executive Director

Seán is Co-I on CSER’s research projects. Under his and Huw Price’s leadership, CSER has grown in two years to be a world-leading academic research center on extreme technological risk. Since 2011 Sean has played a central role in international research on the long-term impacts and risks of artificial intelligence (AI), project managing the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, and leading CSER’s AI industry engagement. He has had an active program of engagement with both policymakers and research leaders in computer science on long-term AI, in the UK, Europe and US. Prior to Cambridge, Sean also established the FHI-Amlin Collaboration on Systemic Risk - a major academic-reinsurance industry partnership on catastrophic risk modelling - as well as several other research programmes in Oxford. His primary research interests include: emerging technologies, risk, technology policy, horizon-scanning and foresight, expertise elicitation and aggregation, genomics, synthetic biology, evolution and artificial intelligence. He has a PhD in genomics from Trinity College Dublin. His work is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation as part of the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project at CSER.

Research Staff

Tatsuya Amano
Research Associate |

Tatsuya’s current project aims to assess the likelihood of catastrophic ecosystem shifts causing existential risks through statistical modelling based on both empirical data and expert knowledge. He has a background in ecology and conservation biology, and his primary research interests are in the effective use of scientific information for biodiversity conservation. His research is focused in particular on the following three aspects of information use in conservation science: (i) identifying gaps in information and their drivers, (ii) overcoming information gaps with modelling approaches, and (iii) bridging the research-implementation gap.

SAShahar Avin
Research Associate

Shahar's research examines challenges and opportunities in the implementation of risk mitigation strategies, particularly in areas involving high uncertainty and heterogenous or conflicting interests and incentives. Mixing anthropological methods and agent-based modelling, Shahar works with other CSER researchers and others in the X-risk community to identify and design opportunities for impact. He completed his doctoral thesis, "Breaking the grant cycle: On the rational allocation of public resources to scientific research projects", at the department for history and philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Tim Lewens and Dr Stephen John. Shahar has also worked as a software engineer, both in a large corporation and at early stage startups in Israel and in Cambridge.


Simon Beard
Research Associate

Simon's research examines the ethical challenges in evaluating existential risks, with a special focus on the risks associated with developing new technologies. He is working to establish alternatives to Cost Benefit Analysis for use in evaluating long term decisions that can take account of the value of future generations and the cost of existential risks. Before joining CSER, Simon worked as a research fellow at the University of Oxford where he conducted research in Population Ethics: Theory and Practice. Simon holds a PhD in Moral Philosophy from LSE. His work is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation as part of the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project at CSER.

ACAdrian Currie
Research Associate

Adrian is primarily interested in how scientists successfully generate knowledge in tricky circumstances: where evidence is thin on the ground, targets are highly complex and obstinate, and our knowledge is limited. This has led him to examine the historical sciences – geology, palaeontology and archaeology – and to argue that the messy, opportunistic (‘methodologically omnivorous’) and disunified nature of these sciences often underwrites their success. His interest in knowledge-production has also led him to think about the natures of, and relationships between, scientific tools such as experiments, models and observations, and their use in sciences whose targets are less amenable to lab work – ecology and climate science, for instance. Adrian received his PhD from Australian National University, and prior to joining CSER has also studied and taught at Victoria University of Wellington, Sydney University, the University of Calgary, and IRH in Bucharest. He is a founder of, and regular contributor to, Extinct, the philosophy of paleontology blog. At CSER, Adrian is looking at the relationship between the culture of science, and our capacity to understand, predict and mitigate low probability, high impact events. His work is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation as part of the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project at CSER.

YLYang Liu
Research Associate |

Yang is a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Philosophy and St Edmund's College. His studies focus on a range of issues in logic and probability, broadly construed as covering topics in Bayesian decision theory, the logic and philosophy of artificial intelligence, mathematical and philosophical logic, epistemic game theory, and the philosophy of mathematics and logic. Yang is a co-founder and co-chair of the University Seminar on Logic, Probability, and Games at Columbia University, where he received his PhD. His work at Cambridge is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation as part of the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project at CSER.


Catherine Rhodes
Academic Project Manager

Catherine works across all of CSER's research projects. Her work has broadly focused on the interactions between and respective roles of science and governance in addressing major global challenges. In the context of extreme technological risks, Catherine is particularly interested in understanding the intersection and combination of risk stemming from technologies and risk stemming from governance (or lack of it). She has particular expertise in international governance of biotechnology, including biosecurity and broader risk management issues. Catherine has a background in international relations, but has engaged in extensive interdisciplinary work. Her PhD was funded as part of a Project to Strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention at the Bradford Disarmament Research Centre, and she retains a strong interest in international actions to prevent misuse of bioscience. This includes recent contributions to projects on the development of biosecurity and ethics education, and on improving science and technology review in the biological and chemical weapons control regimes. Catherine worked for the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at Manchester University from 2008-2015, where her work included: elaborating the meaning and content of scientific responsibility at the global level; investigation of science advisory processes in international organisations; and a substantial study of the international governance of genetic resources, which has significant implications for the use of biosciences in managing major global challenges. Her work is supported by the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.

JWJulius Weitzdörfer
Research Associate profile

Julius is an Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Law and the 2014 Charles & Katharine Darwin Research Fellow at Darwin College. He teaches EU Environmental and Sustainable Development Law. At CSER, he works on the project "Managing Extreme Technological Risk" under the direction of Dr Robert Doubleday and Prof Lord Martin Rees. His work is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation as part of the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project at CSER.

***SCAM WARNING (2016/10/12): Julius is NOT renting out any property in the UK. Any such representations constitute attempted fraud and identity theft. If you receive messages using this identity related to any flat, apartment, or house, please notify the (real estate) website's host and the police. Thank you.***


Bonnie Wintle
Research Associate |

Bonnie's role at CSER is to ‘horizon scan’ for the early identification, management and mitigation of possible extreme risks associated with future technological advances, under the direction of Prof Bill Sutherland (University of Cambridge, Department of Zoology). Her work is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation as part of the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project at CSER. She is also a postdoctoral affiliate of Newnham College, Cambridge. Bonnie's previous work has explored ways to improve expert judgement for environmental decision-making and biosecurity, and was completed in the School of Biosciences at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Prof. Mark Burgman and Dr Fiona Fidler. She has a background in ecology, and has also worked as a cartographer and in government for a national parks agency.

Administration Staff

jens-steffensenJens Steffensen
Research Project Administrator 

Jens is CSER's research project administrator. He organises events, keeps an eye on CSER's grant/budget management and helps to guide the general development and growth of the project. He holds a master's degree in Analytical Journalism and a BA in Philosophy. Since 2012 he has been developing and delivering executive educational programmes for C-suites and board members at Copenhagen Business School.

Management Committee

Partha Dasgupta (Chair)
Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics, Fellow of St John's College

Robert Doubleday
Executive Director, Centre for Science and Policy, Bye-Fellow of Christ's College

Jane Heal
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, former Master, Fellow of St John's College

Tim Lewens
Professor of Philosophy of Science; Deputy Director, CRASSH; Fellow of Clare College

Susan Owens
Professor of Environment and Policy; Professorial Fellow of Newnham College

Huw Price (Co-founder)
Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy; Fellow of Trinity College

Martin Rees (Co-founder)
Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics; past President of the Royal Society; former Master, Fellow of Trinity College

William Sutherland
Miriam Rothschild Professor of Conservation Biology, Fellow of St Catharine’s College

Jaan Tallinn (Co-founder)
Founding engineer of Skype and Kazaa; Co-founder of Future of Life Institute

Scientific Advisory Board

Cambridge Advisors

David Cleevely
Founding Director, Centre for Science and Policy

Tim Crane
Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy

Hermann Hauser
Co-founder, Amadeus Capital Partners

Stephen Hawking
Director of Research, DAMTP; former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics

Sean Holden
Senior Lecturer, Computing Laboratory; Fellow of Trinity College

Adrian Kent
Professor of Quantum Physics, Centre for Quantum Information and Foundations, DAMTP

Chris Lowe
Professor of Biotechnology

David Spiegelhalter
Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk

Adrian Weller
Director, Cambridge in America

External Advisors

Margaret Boden
Research Professor of Cognitive Science, University of Sussex

Nick Bostrom
Professor of Philosophy, Future of Humanity Institute (Oxford Martin School), Oxford

David Chalmers
Professor of Philosophy, NYU & ANU

George M Church
Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

Doyne Farmer
Co-Director, Complexity Economics, Institute for New Economic Thinking (Oxford Martin School), Oxford

Alison Gopnik
Professor of Psychology and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy, UC Berkeley

Robert May
Professor of Zoology, Oxford; past President of the Royal Society

Elon Musk
CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors

Tim Palmer
Royal Society Research Professor in Climate Physics, University of Oxford & Oxford Martin School

Peter Piot
Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Stuart Russell
Professor of Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley

Dana Scott
Emeritus Professor of Computer Science, Philosophy & Mathematical Logic, Carnegie Mellon University

Murray Shanahan
Professor of Cognitive Robotics, Imperial College, London

Peter Singer
Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University

Max Tegmark
Professor of Physics, MIT

Jonathan B Wiener
Professor of Law, Environmental Policy & Public Policy, Duke University