Global Priorities Institute

Parfit Scholar

Oxford, UK

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Derek Parfit came to be widely regarded as “the most original moral philosopher in the English-speaking world” during his tenure as a fellow of All Souls College from 1967 to 2017. His work on personal identity, rationality, and ethics, all meticulously argued, left an enduring mark on philosophy; among other contributions, he is responsible for establishing the field of population ethics. Throughout his work, he rejected the claim that one ought to give priority to one’s own interests. He instead advocated for a stance of universal benevolence which gives equal consideration to all persons, both present and future, and which demands that we use our resources to improve their lives. Many of the ideas which now underpin the work of the Global Priorities Institute are due to him.

In honour of Derek Parfit, the Global Priorities Institute is offering up to two scholarships to exceptional students who are undertaking a DPhil in Philosophy. These will be awarded to students whose dissertation topics are relevant to global priorities research – that is, broadly, the question of how agents can use their resources to do as much good as possible.

These scholarships will provide:

  • a stipend for living costs of at least £15,000 p.a., as well as applicable continuation fees, for two years;
  • office space within the Global Priorities Institute for the duration of their programme; and
  • the opportunity to work with GPI researchers and to receive support in pursuing their research project. We expect that scholars will also regularly participate in GPI’s seminars and work-in-progress groups.

We anticipate that many applicants considered for the Parfit Scholarship will also be offered funding from elsewhere to cover the first two years of their DPhil programme. In such cases, the financial benefits of the Parfit Scholarship will commence after the Scholar’s other funding ceases, such that the Scholar is able to fully fund their DPhil for four years. For scholars not in receipt of other funding, the Parfit Scholarship will commence in their first year.

Note that these scholarships are awarded in conjunction with the Atkinson Scholarship, which is offered to students undertaking a DPhil in Economics. A maximum of two Parfit and Atkinson Scholarships will be awarded each year, to the best candidates across both Philosophy and Economics.

If you have any questions about the Parfit Scholarship, please contact

To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must be commencing the full-time Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Philosophy programme in the 2019/2020 academic year.

Time commitment: Full time

Applications due: 2019-02-01

  • Category Cause Prioritisation
  • Created by Henry Stanley
  • Submitted 16 Sep
  • Last updated 16 Sep