Essay Prize for Global Priorities Research

4 min

The Global Priorities Institute (GPI) is pleased to announce an essay prize inviting submissions  on topics in global priorities research from graduate students currently pursuing master’s level courses in philosophy.


Essay prize for Global Priorities Research

Foto: Pixabay

The winning entry will be published as a working paper on GPI’s website and the winner will receive a prize of £1,000.  


Who is eligible?

In order to be eligible for the prize, you must be pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy equivalent to an MA or MPhil degree, which will typically include candidates in the coursework stage of a US PhD. For further details please see the Appendix.


Global priorities research

There are many problems in the world. Because our resources are scarce, it is impossible to solve them all. An actor seeking to improve the world as much as possible therefore needs to prioritise, both among the problems themselves and (relatedly) among means for tackling them. This requires careful analysis. Some opportunities to do good are vastly more cost-effective than others, but identifying which are the better opportunities requires grappling with a host of complex questions - questions about how to evaluate different outcomes, how to predict the effects of our actions, how to act in the face of uncertainty, how to identify more practically usable proxies for the criteria we ultimately care about, and many other topics.


Essay submissions should address philosophical questions of this kind: that is, philosophical questions of crucial practical importance for agents trying to set priorities in a way that is suitably informed by concern for what will best promote the impartial good. For further details, please see the GPI research agenda. Note, however, that entries for the prize need not address questions from this agenda where candidates believe there are other philosophical questions of crucial importance for global priorities research.



Submissions should be made via this form. The linked form will also ask you to record the title of the submission, the word count, as well as your personal details.


Submissions should be in English, double-spaced, and no more than 10,000 words in length, including footnotes and bibliography. Submissions should be prefaced by an abstract of 50-200 words.


Submissions should be anonymised. They must be single-authored and only one submission per person is permitted. Essays on which candidates have previously received feedback from supervisors or assessors remain eligible for submission, however.



The deadline for submission is 1 July 2021. Following the deadline, we aim to announce the winning entry within a month. In the event that no submission is judged to be of sufficient quality, GPI reserves the right to award no prize.



The following guidelines define sufficient conditions for eligibility for the essay prize among graduate programmes in philosophy, with primary reference to the English-speaking world. If your programme is not covered by these notes, please contact gpi-office@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for further guidance.


Candidates are eligible for the prize if they are currently pursuing

  • a master’s degree (MA, MPhil, MSt, MLitt, MSc, BPhil) in philosophy (or a joint subject degree of which philosophy forms a part),
  • an honours degree in philosophy in Australia or New Zealand, or
  • the coursework stage of a PhD in philosophy, provided that (i) the PhD program does not require a prior master’s in philosophy (or, in Australia or New Zealand, an honours degree) and (ii) candidates have not yet started their dissertation. In the US and Canada, this is typically the first two years of a PhD programme.


Note that students who are currently pursuing undergraduate degrees in philosophy at Scottish universities which award MAs for such degrees (such as the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews) are not eligible for the prize.



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