SI's mission is to increase the capacity of policy networks to mitigate global catastrophic risks and build resilience for civilization to flourish.
From biotechnology to the development of transformative AI, humanity is facing emerging challenges of unprecedented scale. The existence of future generations with lives worth living depends on our civilization’s ability to safeguard them from global catastrophic risks. But the multilateralism needed to govern these low-probability, high-impact events is out of sight.
We connect research with practice to support a risk- and resilience-focused multilateralism enhanced by science. Our tools, knowledge, and community help to cope with competing objectives and uncertainty. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, we support policy networks centered around the United Nations. As a non-profit, SI can focus on lasting, impartial impact.
A wide range of actors inside and outside of political institutions contribute to the creation of policy: elected officials, civil servants, academics, civil society, lobbyists, and more. It is this dynamic co-creation process SI seeks to support.
Our focus areas
We develop science-policy workshops, training programs, and provide advice with a focus on improving the collective capacity of policy networks to reduce global catastrophic risks by exchanging information and coordinating in a timely manner.
We seek to better understand policymaking by synthesizing knowledge and testing the usefulness of our hypotheses and tools. To that end, we also coordinate a network of practitioners and researchers who share knowledge and experience.
Human civilization is progressively reaching higher levels of well-being. Despite shocks, such as large-scale epidemics and world wars, more people are living longer and healthier than ever before. Humanity's progress and abilities suggest that the future of life could be vast in size and of unprecedented quality. We work to increase the chances of that happening.
Global catastrophic risks have the potential to curtail our civilization's future or even reverse past progress. To build resilience to the most extreme shocks, humanity has to improve coordination at all levels of governance. We are focused on supporting policy networks contributing to the mitigation of low-probability high-impact events.
Complementary to those researching the nature of global catastrophic risks, we research the dynamics of the relevant policy networks. We unite knowledge on policy processes, human behavior, and global catastrophic risks to test hypotheses for achieving resilience.
Herbert Simon (1916 - 2001) was a political scientist, cognitive psychologist, computer scientist, and economist.
His research represents much of the knowledge SI is building on and aims to contribute to. He shared our goals long before we had conceived of them.
Herbert formalized the concept of bounded rationality, i.e. that humans make decisions under uncertainty with cognitive constraints. In 1978, he received the Nobel Prize in Economics and in 1975 a Turing Award. He is known for having seminally contributed to the fields of behavioral economics, public administration, complexity science, and artificial intelligence.
We thank Katherine, Barbara, and Peter Simon for having granted us the honor of naming the Institute for Longterm Governance after their father.