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 the glut of information, competing objectives, complexity and uncertainty. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, we support policy networks centred around the United Nations and the European Union. As a non-profit, SI is focused on long-term 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 training programs and advice with a focus on improving the collective capacity of policy networks to exchange information and coordinate in a timely manner.
We build research collaborations and strengthen policy decisions by coordinating a network of longtermist policy actors and researchers who share knowledge and strategic insights.
We seek to better understand policy-making by synthesizing knowledge, formalizing system dynamics and empirically testing our hypotheses and tools for validity and usefulness.
Human civilization is progressively reaching higher levels of well-being. Despite shocks, such as large-scale epidemics and world wars, more and more people are living longer and healthier than ever before. Humanity's progress suggests 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 and or reverse past progress. To build resilience to the most extreme shocks, humanity has to achieve multilateral coordination. We are focused on supporting policy networks contributing to the governance 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 behaviour and extreme risks to test hypotheses for improving the relationship between research and policy to achieve 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.
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 a Turing Award in 1975. He is known for having seminally contributed to the fields of behavioural economics, public administration, complexity science and artificial intelligence.
We thank Katherine, Barbara and Peter Simon for having granted us the honour of naming the Institute for Longterm Governance after their father.