Hide table of contents

Students are invited to enter an essay contest on The Precipice! Please spread the word to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. 

What is the Eon Essay Contest?

The Eon Essay Contest is an essay contest for students with a top prize of 15,000 USD. Students read the book The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity by Toby Ord, a philosopher at Oxford University. Students then write an essay of up to 1,200 words. Further details and the essay prompts are available on the contest website.

Students who cannot otherwise access the book can request a free copy.

Why are you running this contest?

The Precipice discusses some of the most important issues of our time. It raises awareness about existential risks, which are risks that threaten humanity’s long-term potential. Addressing these risks may be among the most pressing moral issues of our time. This contest raises awareness about the importance of addressing these risks. 

For a summary of the ideas in the book, you can watch this twenty minute video

Who would be a good entrant?

Students who are curious and have the ability to carefully consider new ideas will be good entrants. Students with a wide range of interests are encouraged to enter. After all, as The Precipice says, 

Understanding [existential] risks requires delving into physics, biology, earth science and computer science; situating this in the larger story of humanity requires history and anthropology; discerning just how much is at stake requires moral philosophy and economics; and finding solutions requires international relations and political science.

High school, undergraduate, and graduate students from any country are invited to enter. We expect most entrants who will be able to engage critically with this material will be 16 or older, although younger students may enter. 

Need further details?

Please email info@eonessaycontest.com with any questions.

* * * 

How can you help?

  • Please spread word about the contest to potential entrants, especially to students unfamiliar with effective altruism or longtermism. You may send these students a link to the contest website: www.eonessaycontest.com.
  • Please spread word about the contest to any teachers, counselors, or other school staff you know. You may send these professionals all the information above the three star divider (* * *) as a blurb.
  • If you are an undergraduate or graduate student familiar with EA and longtermism who would like to grade essays this summer, please fill out this short expression of interest form.

How can we collaborate?

  • If you are running an outreach program for students, please email info@eonessaycontest.com. I may be able to send information about your program to students who participate in the essay contest.
  • If you are thinking of running a similar outreach project and would like help or advice, please email info@eonessaycontest.com.

Who is funding this contest?

This contest is funded by a grant from Open Philanthropy


Neha Singh is responsible for running this contest. Akash Wasil worked with her to draft this announcement. We are grateful to Catherine Low for providing feedback on a draft of this post.

Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

When do people start knowing if they moved on to the next part or when does the judging period end

Rules clarification: are current undergraduate students who will be graduating prior to the June 15th deadline eligible, provided that they submit their essay before they graduate?

Yes, they are. Thank you for asking; I've edited the website to try to make this clearer. 

[comment deleted]0
More from Akash
Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities