Program Manager

This role is a unique opportunity to foster a multidisciplinary field incorporating ideas from computer science, economics, cognitive science, politics, and more. You’ll own our grantmaking principles and processes, and never stop improving them, in aid of positively shaping the direction of AI research.

Deadline: 08 January 2023 23:59 UTC

The Cooperative AI Foundation (CAIF, pronounced “safe”) is a new charitable entity whose mission is to support research that will improve the cooperative intelligence of advanced AI for the benefit of all. This mission is driven by our belief that many of the most important problems facing humanity – climate change, nuclear war, and pandemic preparedness, to name but a few – are problems of cooperation, and that AI will be increasingly important when it comes to solving (or exacerbating) such problems.

Backed by a large philanthropic commitment, our ambition is to build the nascent field of Cooperative AI, improving the ability of AI systems to engender cooperation between humans, machines, and institutions. A more detailed introduction to this field can be found in our recent Nature piece and paper on open problems in Cooperative AI.

The “benefit of all” sits at the heart of everything we do. We are relentless in our ambition to have the greatest possible positive impact, both supporting and trusting our staff (and our external partners) to perform at their best. We strive to learn from our failures, through a culture of curiosity, openness, and compassion, alongside evidence-based reasoning and rigorous evaluation. With a diversity of perspectives and values forming the core of any cooperation problem, we must also practise what we preach: maintaining plurality, equity, and inclusiveness in all that we do.

The Role
The Organisation

We’re looking for a Program Manager to lead the deployment of CAIF’s multi-million dollar budget for funding groundbreaking and critical research.

We’ve got ambitious plans for 2023, and the Program Manager will be key to making a lot of them happen! It’s an almost blank-slate challenge for someone who’s ready to bring an innovative, thoughtful approach to funding and supporting research. You’ll work to raise awareness and accessibility of our programs, especially for work that goes systematically underfunded, and reduce bias in evaluating proposals. You’ll figure out how we can better predict and monitor outcomes without undue burden on researchers. You’ll be proactive, collaborative and inclusive in your approach, in order to stimulate more relevant and high-quality proposals from a wide range of potential grantees. Your responsibilities include:

  • Iterate on our grantmaking process to make it more effective, fair and efficient, including optimising our use of software and negotiating provider renewal or switch
  • Be the main point of contact for applicants, reviewers and institutions end-to-end
  • Conduct and/or automate initial screenings of grant applications, due diligence and managing conflicts of interest
  • Report on grantmaking KPIs, gather feedback and run team retrospectives after each grant allocation
  • Work with leadership & trustees to scope out, refine and advertise new grant calls
  • Work with CAIF’s research analysts to actively search for promising grantmaking opportunities and cultivate a relevant applicant pool
  • Scope out and run potentially creative programmes, e.g., a PhD scholarship and/or postdoctoral fellowship scheme, awards, competitions, grand challenges, and other new and innovative ways of making grants
  • Support with other related activities ad hoc, e.g., our summer retreat of 25-50 leading thinkers; setting up working groups; publicising cooperative AI; and helping with annual strategy & planning

We’re primarily a remote organisation, with opportunities to meet colleagues in person (currently based in London, Oxford, and Sheffield).

We offer lots of flexibility to fit your hours around your life, whether that’s because you’re most productive at a particular time of day or because you need to do the school run. We’re flexible as to whether this role is full-time, or part-time (4 or 4.5 days per week).


Salaries at CAIF account for demonstrated competencies and location-based cost of living. For this role we expect salaries offered to be between £50,000 and £65,000 (or the equivalent in your home currency). A successful candidate with less prior experience should also expect their salary to increase in the role, contingent on performance.

Our benefits package includes home office equipment; travel expenses to co-locate with colleagues; 33 days of paid holiday (including bank holidays); 5% pension contribution; generous learning and development budget; and health and wellbeing support.


The application deadline is the 8th January at 23:59 GMT. Please apply using this form. You will be asked to submit a CV and respond to a few short questions.

Candidates who succeed in passing the application review process will be invited to a short interview in January. The next stages will consist of a short remote work test, followed by a presentation and final interview. We hope to communicate final decisions in early February.

We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, and we encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. We especially encourage applications from underrepresented groups. If you have specific needs or circumstances that require accommodation, please contact us.

Hopefully, you’ll be all of the following:

  • An experienced grantmaker, program manager or similar (any discipline including end-to-end ownership of planning, testing, problem-solving, managing stakeholders, due diligence and reporting)
  • Able to demonstrate excellent judgement and epistemic understanding (i.e., having a good sense of what a good grant looks like)
  • Tech-savvy, bringing systems thinking around processes and ideally some competency in IT automation
  • A proactive and creative problem-solver, motivated to own something strategically and operationally and make it amazing
  • Methodical, with a quantitative/empiricist mindset and excellent attention to detail

Some extra skills that would be great:

  • People person – comfortable interacting with stakeholders in academic contexts as well as others
  • Willing to roll your sleeves up and build things from scratch, with a start-up mentality (try, fail & improve)

Of course, we’ll also be looking for alignment with our organisational values (see above). Note that prior knowledge of cooperative AI, academia, or grantmaking is not required, though we would expect someone in this role to learn more about these through their work.

Application Process