The Fund for Alignment Research (FAR) is seeking an Operations Manager to help us scale to support more AI alignment researchers. Your job will be varied and include tasks such as recruitment, procurement, finances, fundraising and events management. You might be a good fit if you’re impact-motivated, organised and like developing scalable business processes.
FAR is a non-profit supporting the AI alignment research community. We partner with AI safety researchers with an established track record and help them scale and accelerate their agenda. To date, we have accelerated our partner’s agendas by hiring research assistants, research engineers and communication specialists. In addition to directly producing and disseminating valuable research, FAR is also improving the AI talent pipeline by providing on-the-job training to our staff, many of whom are junior.
We are currently operating at a medium scale to allow us to beta-test and rapidly iterate on our model. Once we have refined our model, we intend to scale up by growing our staff and the number of partners we support. FAR currently has six full-time equivalent staff, and is working with four core partners and trialling a handful of other collaborations. We anticipate that FAR has room to grow by at least an order of magnitude beyond this.
In particular, our current focus is on supporting the agendas of Adam Gleave, Scott Emmons, Ethan Perez and Claudia Shi. We are also trialling a collaboration with the labs of Jacob Steinhardt and David Krueger, professors at Berkeley and Cambridge, and several individual researchers working in both academia and industry. We have selected this initial set of partners as we are excited by their research, and they are pursuing a diverse set of agendas with unique needs allowing us to test our model in a range of situations. We intend to grow the number of partners we work with in the next three to six months.
About the role
You will work closely with the FAR executive team. You will be responsible for FAR’s ongoing operations across areas such as recruitment, finances and procurement. Additionally, you will be expected to identify and work on any areas that are currently a bottleneck for FAR’s growth. This could range from researching non-profit regulations, helping write grant proposals, and interviewing partners to understand their needs.
You will be the first member of FAR’s operations team. These tasks have previously been distributed across FAR’s executive team and other staff. At the start of the role, your focus will be to take on and systematise these tasks. The key responsibilities will be:
- Recruitment: headhunting, resume screening, interview scheduling, notifying candidates.
- Onboarding new hires: preparing contracts; creating accounts; updating website.
- Finances: financial forecasts; tracking expenses; submitting invoices to our fiscal sponsor.
- Procurement: selecting vendors for services (e.g. recruitment software) or equipment (e.g. laptops, monitors).
- Travel: scheduling flights and accommodation, and assisting staff with relocation.
- Executive assistance: help triage the e-mail and calendar of key FAR staff members.
Once you are familiar with these core tasks, the focus will shift to developing scalable and efficient processes. The goal will be to automate, delegate or outsource as many tasks as possible. This is both necessary for FAR to scale, and will enable you to focus your time on novel tasks where you can best add value. This is likely to include:
- Fundraising: helping to prepare grant applications and update donors.
- Legal: consult with legal counsel and/or perform independent investigations on relevant non-profit regulations.
- Partner management: interview our current partners to identify areas where we could improve our existing support, or launch new programs.
- Onboarding partners: shortlist partners we might want to support; brief new partners FAR is supporting on our systems and services available.
You might be a good fit if you:
- Are impact-driven and excited at helping AI safety research. You will be working closely with a small, mission-driven team. You need to be willing to pitch in where needed, including going beyond your job description.
- Are extremely organised. You will be managing many small tasks and relationships. You will need to be organised to manage them.
- Are able to ruthlessly prioritise. There will be high-stakes situations that demand polished work, even if at a slower pace. Conversely, there will be lower-stakes situations where efficiency is paramount and you will need to satisfice on quality. You will need to be able to tell the difference and be comfortable with both working styles.
- Are a clear communicator. You will need to be a friendly and professional representative of FAR when interacting with vendors, funders and potential hires. You will also need to be an accessible point of contact for FAR staff.
Prior experience in operations is helpful but not required. No technical background is expected.
This is a full-time contractor role. Ideally you could work in person from our Berkeley, CA office. However, we are open to hiring remote candidates, especially if willing and able to visit our office periodically.
We offer compensation at $40-$75/hour ($75,000-$140,000/year), depending on experience and location. Compensation for those based in person will tend to be on the upper end of this range in recognition of living costs in the Bay Area.
The contract will continue until terminated by either party upon 30 days notice. We would anticipate the position existing for at least the next 12 months. It is likely to continue further into the future provided FAR continues to grow and is successful at fundraising. Although our current fiscal sponsorship arrangement does not allow for us to make direct hires, there is the possibility of conversion from a contractor to direct hire once we become an independent entity.
The Fund for Alignment Research (FAR) is a fiscally-sponsored project of the 501(c)(3) exempt charity, Players Philanthropy Fund. FAR is advised by Scott Emmons, Adam Gleave and Ethan Perez.