The Existential Risk Laboratory’s (XLab) Summer Research Fellowship is a 10-week, in-person program aimed at providing highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to produce high impact research on emerging threats from artificial intelligence, natural and engineered pathogens, nuclear weapons, and risk multipliers such as climate-induced migration, critical infrastructure vulnerability, and interstate conflict. The Fellowship provides an opportunity for early-career scholars in any discipline to test their fit for and build expertise in technically informed policy research and direct technical work. Over the course of the program, fellows undertake an independent or team research project with mentorship support from a domain expert and receive 1:1 support from program staff to identify, develop, and refine their project. Fellows will also participate in peer review sessions, cohort social events exploring Chicago, research workshops, and guest speaker Q&As. Depending on experience, final products can take the form of literature reviews, white papers, or full papers and policy reports.

The legacy of existential risk work at the University of Chicago dates back to Enrico Fermi and  the world’s first nuclear chain reaction under the historic Stagg Field. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists—the creator of the well-known Doomsday Clock—was originally founded in 1945 by UChicago scientists from the Manhattan Project who were concerned about the emerging dangers. XLab was founded in the same spirit of concern and commitment to mitigating the great threats of our time. 


Applications for the 2025 Summer Research Fellowship will open in Spring 2025. 

You can learn more about the program and its previous iterations here:

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