Future of Life Institute to Launch Vitalik Buterin Fellowships Centered on AI Safety Research

The institute studies ways artificial intelligence can help mankind.

AccessTimeIconSep 24, 2021 at 5:37 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 14, 2024 at 10:49 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The Future of Life Institute, a charity and outreach organization, is launching two fellowship programs named after Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

The Vitalik Buterin Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellowships are centered on “existential safety research” in artificial intelligence (AI), the institute announced Tuesday.

  • Key Events You Shouldn't Miss at Consensus 2024
    Key Events You Shouldn't Miss at Consensus 2024
  • What to Expect From Consensus 2024
    What to Expect From Consensus 2024
  • Will Solana and Altcoins Dominate the Market Next?
    Will Solana and Altcoins Dominate the Market Next?
  • What's Next for FIT21?
    What's Next for FIT21?
  • Funding for the Ph.D. fellowship provides up to $40,000 a year for five years (with the possibility of extensions), and will cover tuition fees and a stipend. An additional $10,000 will be provided for research-related expenses including travel and computing, according to the announcement.

    Fellows will also be able to interact with other researchers in workshops. The institute is “working to ensure that tomorrow’s most powerful technologies are beneficial for humanity,” its website reads. Specifically, the Future of Life Institute focuses on keeping artificial intelligence “beneficial,” while exploring ways of reducing risks from nuclear weapons and biotechnology.

    The Vitalik Buterin Postdoctoral Fellowship in AI Existential Safety is for postdoctoral appointments starting next fall.

    Funding is for three years subject to annual renewals based on satisfactory progress reports. The fellowship includes an annual $80,000 stipend and a fund of up to $10,000 that can be used for research-related expenses such as travel and computing.

    Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer and crypto heavyweight. In 2015, Buterin, Joseph Lubin, Gavin Wood and others launched the Ethereum blockchain – a platform on which users can create decentralized apps.

    The program is targeted at students applying to start their Ph.D. in 2022. Applications for the Ph.D. fellowship close on Oct. 29, while applications for the postdoctoral fellowship close on Nov. 5.


    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Sebastian Sinclair

    Sebastian Sinclair is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Australia.

    Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.