As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the devastation that biological threats can cause is clearer than ever. Whether biological threats arise naturally, by accident, or through a deliberate effort to weaponize infectious diseases, they pose grave risks to international security and stability, and significantly impact the welfare and health of people around the globe. The urgency for mitigating this area of catastrophic risks is further driven home by the outbreak of war in Europe with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, given that the United States believes Russia still possesses an offensive biological weapons program.
The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) is continuing to develop and cultivate creative solutions that could help address biological threats, with a particular focus on the deliberate weaponization of infectious diseases. As part of this work, CSR is announcing a call for applications for the 2022 – 2023 class of our Fellowship for Ending Bioweapons. Applications are due by 5pm Eastern Standard Time on April 4, 2022. Four to six Fellows will be selected.
In this one-year Fellowship, successful applicants will work with leading experts committed to biological threat reduction and biosecurity, including former government officials who helped dismantle Cold War-era biological weapons capabilities and advance international biological cooperation and policy progress. They will interact with current and former government leaders as well as private and public sector innovators. Activities will include:
- Monthly virtual meetings with mentors from CSR and its network. In these sessions, Fellows will share research they conduct and explore specific issues focused on reducing biological weapons threats, advancing international biosecurity norms, and gaining historical perspectives in addressing biological threats.
- Three workshops among Fellows and select experts to deeply explore dynamics behind addressing state-scale biological weapons programs (workshops may be held remotely or in person with safety precautions, depending on the state of the pandemic).
- Opportunities to produce written products, podcasts, and more.
Fellows will gain deep knowledge of what it will take to address biological weapons activities and a strong network among biosecurity and biotechnology experts. Moreover, they will have contributed unique ideas to the battle against biological threats.
Informed by the unique experiences of its staff and years of collaboration across its expert networks, CSR’s work related to deliberate biological threats ties to a bold vision: making biological weapons the first category of weapons of mass destruction to be effectively eliminated, or rendered obsolete in terms of their mass-destruction potential. You can learn more about CSR’s recommendations for deterring biological weapons activities, improving biosecurity and biodefense, and augmenting international cooperation in our Handbook for Ending Catastrophic Biological Risks.
Eligibility: The Fellowship is open to applicants with a graduate degree or progressing through a PhD program, and demonstrable interest in analyzing and addressing biological threats. Given recent geopolitical developments, eligibility for this Fellowship has been expanded beyond the US this year to include citizens from NATO member states. Therefore, the citizens of the following countries are eligible to apply for this Fellowship: Albania, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Location & Travel: Fellows may work from any geographic location with strong Internet access for conducting monthly video conferences. Fellows must commit to attending the monthly meetings and three workshops (currently planned to be held in person in different U.S. cities depending on safety conditions). Travel costs will be covered by CSR.
Duration: The fellowship lasts for one year, beginning May 1, 2022.
Requirements and Benefits: The activities and related research discussed above will require approximately 15-20 hours per month, plus additional time for workshop participation. Some of this time may be during normal work hours. Each Fellow will receive a stipend of USD $1,000 per month.
Application Instructions: All applicants should complete a CSR application form at this link and upload a resume, cover letter, and an original writing sample authored solely by the applicant (700 words maximum). We also request contact details for two individuals whom we may contact for recommendations. CSR will conduct telephone interviews with a small number of applicants in finalizing the selection of Fellows.
Applications are due by 5pm Eastern Standard Time on April 4, 2022.
About the Council on Strategic Risks: The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) is a nonprofit, non-partisan security policy institute devoted to anticipating, analyzing, and addressing core systemic risks to security in the 21st Century, with special examination of the ways in which these risks intersect and exacerbate one another. Its team members, advisors, and Board have experience in some of the highest U.S. government leadership positions in biosecurity. They hold deep ties to leading biotech innovators and current government officials, and have extensive global networks. This Fellowship is made possible by the generous support of Open Philanthropy.
Chief Executive Officer
Council on Strategic Risks
Council on Strategic Risks