Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge

The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk is an interdisciplinary research centre within the University of Cambridge dedicated to the study and mitigation of risks that could lead to human extinction or civilisational collapse.

Our primary aims are:

(i) to study extreme risks associated with emerging and future technological advances, and impacts of human activity, with the goal of understanding these risks, and developing prevention and mitigation strategies for specific risks.

(ii) to develop a methodological toolkit to aid us in identifying and evaluating future extreme risks in advance, and in taking the necessary steps ahead of time.

(iii) to examine issues surrounding the perception and analysis of these risks in the scientific community, the public and civil society, and develop strategies for working fruitfully with industry and policymakers on avoiding risks while making progress on beneficial technologies.

(iv) to foster a reflective, interdisciplinary, global community of academics, technologists and policymakers examining individual aspects of global catastrophic risk, but coming together to integrate their insights.

(v) to focus in particular on risks that are:

  • globally catastrophic in scale,
  • plausible but poorly characterized or understood,
  • capable of being studied rigorously and addressed,
  • clearly play to CSER’s strengths (interdisciplinarity, convening power, policy/industry links), and
  • require long-range thinking. In other words, extreme risks where we can really expect to achieve something.
  • (vi) to achieve and maintain global leadership in the study of global catastrophic and existential risk.