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Announcement: Student Prize Competition ‘Enhancing Humanity’s Collective Wisdom’

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The Future of Humanity Institute’s second thesis prize competition for students focuses on a “big picture” question with important implications for practical ethics: how can we best prepare humanity to address the global challenges of the coming century?”. First prize £2000.

Humanity has become more and more connected, from the national level to the personal. Yet are we becoming better able to collectively harness our information, goals, and ideas to lead to wise decisions? How could we best enhance humanity’s collective wisdom to help overcome the global challenges of the next century?

There are many possibilities, from familiar ideas or institutions such as freedom of the press, the adversarial legal system, Wikipedia, and global governance, to less well known ones like prediction markets or Aumann agreement. Most valuable would be high-leverage insights: those that could be easily implemented yet could make a global difference.
The Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University wants to get young researchers thinking about these big questions. Choosing a PhD thesis topic is one of the big choices affecting the direction of your career, and so deserves a great deal of thought. To encourage this, we are running a slightly unusual prize competition. The format is a two-page ‘thesis proposal’ consisting of a 300 word abstract and an outline plan of a thesis on a topic related to enhancing humanity’s collective wisdom. We will publish the best abstracts on our website and give a prize of £2,000 to the author of the proposal we deem the most promising or original.

Open to students in: Science, Economics, Sociology, Law, History, & Politics
£2,000 first prize + smaller prizes
Length: Two pages
Deadline Extended: 15 March 2013

Further details


• We decided on a thesis proposal as a good format for this competition, but, of course, there is no compulsion to actually write your thesis on the chosen topic.
• Submissions should be in PDF or Word format and sent to by the 15th of March 2013. You may submit more than one proposal, but please only send your best ideas.
• We regret that we will be unable to offer individual feedback, due to the large number of proposals anticipated.
• If no entries of sufficient standard are received, prize may not be awarded.
Enquiries to

Related Competitions: 

Winners of the Crucial Considerations for the Future of Humanity Thesis Abstract Competition

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