Project Manager

Start date: As soon as possible
Status: Full-time employee, salaried (note: at this time, we are unable to sponsor visas for this role)
Compensation: TBD based on experience (minimum $50,000)
Typical hours: 40 per week, primarily during standard business hours.
Work Location: Berkeley, CA
Reports to: TBD, depending on focus and seniority

Overview
Possible Areas of Focus:
- Collaborations Focus
- Grants Focus
- Projects and Policies Focus
Qualifications
Benefits
Link to Apply

Overview

BERI is seeking Project Managers to join its core staff. Project Managers may focus on supporting our collaborations, leading grant investigations, or developing new projects and policies. The types of tasks any given Project Manager will be assigned will depend on the organization’s needs, the candidate’s particular strengths (as assessed by BERI), and the candidate’s preference.

We want people who have high initiative and a tendency to get things done, who feel dissatisfied and want to take action when they see x-risk mitigation projects getting stalled in ways that they can personally unblock.

Below, we describe three focus areas for Project Managers. While some Project Managers may work across multiple focus areas, we expect most will specialize in one.

Focus Areas

Collaborations Focus

For organizations that BERI is highly aligned with, BERI is willing to invest significant time and funding into providing direct support. BERI currently offers this type of direct support to three organizations: CHAI, FHI, and CSER.

A Project Manager with a focus on collaborations must be able to:

(a) maintain strong professional interpersonal relationships while clearly and responsibly holding to BERI’s ethos,

(b) be highly resourceful—as often as we can, we want to say ‘yes’ to to our partners’ requests,

(c) be efficient in execution,

(d) never let any “balls drop”— high-impact organizations are depending on BERI to execute projects for them, so its important that candidates for this role are highly organized.

Typical responsibilities may include the following:

  • Timely communication with partners to discover their needs.

  • Developing robust procedures for processing and tracking incoming requests.

  • Fielding a wide variety of one-off requests to be followed by:

    • Research into available methods for BERI to support its partners. This can involve learning to fully understand the nuances of legal issues, or assisting with investigations into university policy.

    • Clearly explaining BERI’s reasons for pursuing, adjusting, or refusing a particular route of action.

    • Sourcing a method of available execution against each task, whether that involve fulfilling it yourself, hiring a contractor, or other means.

    • Managing the execution through delivery of the various projects.

  • Solving coordination problems between people and organizations through strategic thinking, drafting and reviewing proposals, agreements, etc. for new projects and policies.

  • Long-term planning and process creation for collaboration growth

We are looking to build a culture of excellence for our collaborations, such that our partners want to work with BERI, find it to be a reliable and resourceful organization, and clearly understand the capabilities and limits of what we can provide.

There is significant room for growth in this role to help develop the long-term frameworks, procedures, and types of direct support that we provide to the organizations with which we work. Long-term, we find it likely that we’ll increase the scale and scope of existing collaborations, as well as engage in new ones with high impact organizations.

Grants Focus

BERI runs a Grants & Awards Program; as of November 2018, we held approximately $4.4 million in funds intended to be granted to organizations and individuals working to reduce existential risk. A Project Manager with a grants focus at BERI would assist with our grant investigations and short- and long-term grant program development. We want someone with:

(a) research ability, who is good at focusing on the most important questions, explaining their reasoning, and flagging their uncertainty,

(b) excellent task management, who is able to make progress on multiple grant investigations simultaneously, and

(c) the ability to communicate clearly with a wide range of applicants and the public.

Primary responsibilities may include:

  • Investigating organizations that have applied for a grant. This includes gathering information from prospective grantees, conducting research (e.g. into their particular programs), seeking input from BERI’s advisors, analyzing the case for funding, and writing up grant proposals for consideration by BERI’s grants committee.

  • Managing or assisting with individual grant rounds. This may involve developing application processes, drafting public materials (e.g., announcements), answering applicants’ questions, and collecting additional information on applicants as requested by the relevant grants committee.

  • Overseeing grant logistics. This includes drafting grant agreements, onboarding grantees to BERI’s purchasing policies, and collecting and reviewing relevant documentation (e.g., financial reports).

  • Streamlining BERI’s grant-making procedures. We want our grants processes to be as convenient as possible for grantees, references, and advisors, while still fully satisfying BERI’s duty to be a responsible, impactful grantmaker. Improving on processes could involve soliciting and incorporating feedback from others and researching new ways for BERI to structure its processes.

BERI seeks to run a grants program long-term that both helps existing high-impact organizations scale and discovers and fosters new opportunities for alleviating existential risks. BERI believes in the continuous development of its grant-making strategy, and there are substantial opportunities to contribute to the program in this role.

Projects & Policies Focus

Current BERI staff spend much of their time developing new projects and policies to both a) support external-facing programs, and b) lay important groundwork for BERI’s future capacity and efficiency.

A Project Manager with a focus on projects & policies should be:

a. Good at evaluating big picture approaches,

b. Especially detail-oriented,

c. A scrupulous researcher,

d. Comfortable negotiating, and sometimes acquiescing to, the viewpoints of staff, advisors, and other actors, and

e. A strong communicator.

Responsibilities of a Project Manager with a focus on projects and policies may vary significantly month-to-month, depending on BERI’s current priorities. Responsibilities could include:

  • Developing models of how BERI relates to other groups (the IRS, the government, the public, etc.) and applying those models to improve our processes. This will likely involve substantial legal research.

  • Understanding weaknesses in BERI’s current processes, identifying open questions about how to best resolve those weaknesses, and then pursuing research to answer those questions (e.g., via online investigation and/or calls with lawyers, accountants, other organizations, etc.)

  • Developing or revamping policies to give BERI more capabilities. E.g., we might ask a Project Manager to develop policies for contractor and employee compensation or to develop a guide for determining which employees are exempt vs. non-exempt.

  • Setting up procedures for new programs. This may include developing a selection process for potential beneficiaries, creating documents to provide guidance to those involved in the program, and drafting legal agreements to govern the activities of the program.

BERI often finds itself most constrained by needing to spend deliberate time crafting long-term policies and procedures to follow, while also balancing the immediate needs of our existing programs. Adding capacity through this focus may act as a significant catalyst to BERI’s existing initiatives.

Qualifications

Across all of the focus areas listed above, we seek candidates who are able to:

  • Complete a wide variety of tasks quickly (competent generalists) while maintaining attention to detail.

  • Stay organized and maintain prioritization despite high volumes of information.

  • Build clear mental models about why BERI chooses certain courses of action.

  • Notice and flag uncertainty, work to resolve confusion, and generally maintain epistemic humility.

  • Comfortably use quantitative reasoning and spreadsheets in their workflow.

  • Communicate clearly.

  • Answer the telephone during most business hours.

The ideal candidate would also be familiar with the AI x-risk “ecosystem.” Additionally, we are especially interested in candidates who would like to grow to take on more responsibilities at BERI in the future (e.g., autonomous work on larger projects, managing other team members, etc.).

Further, we expect that the following experience will be useful for each focus area:

  • Collaborations Focus: Candidates familiar with effective altruism and with experience professionally building and managing relationships, such as in account, joint venture, or partnership management, may be a particular fit. Research experience is also a plus.

  • Grants Focus: The ideal candidate would have previous experience with grant investigations, grant logistics, cause prioritizations, impact analysis, and/or x-risk research. Experience with cost-effectiveness analyses is a bonus.

  • Projects & Policies Focus: The ideal candidate would have some experience engaging with legal considerations or developing new programs. We want someone who can think about systems “algorithmically”—that is, create straightforward, comprehensible, and inspectible processes that can be reliably executed upon without additional instruction.

Benefits Include

  • Time-off (paid vacation, holidays, sick leave, bereavement leave, & parental leave)

  • Generous professional development policy

  • Health insurance

  • Semi-flexible work schedule including hours, location, and unpaid vacation policies

BERI is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. Our mission to improve human civilization’s long-term prospects for survival and flourishing is in service of all of humanity, and is incompatible with unfair discrimination practices that would pit factions of humanity against one another. We do not discriminate against qualified employees or applicants based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, sexual preference, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law or local ordinance. We also consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state and local law.

(Click here to apply)