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The Legal Priorities Project

The Legal Priorities Project is an independent, global research project founded by researchers from Harvard University. We conduct legal research that tackles the world’s most pressing problems – we call this “legal priorities research.” Our mission is to conduct and support legal research that tackles the world’s most pressing problems. This currently leads us to focus on the protection of future generations. Our primary goal is to conduct foundational research. By doing so, we aim to determine which problems legal researchers should work on in order to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. We refer to this as “meta-level research.” We also conduct research on the identified problems, which we call “object-level research.” Our approach focuses on the protection of future generations…”

Winter, Christoph and Schuett, Jonas and Martínez, Eric and Van Arsdale, Suzanne and Araújo, Renan and Hollman, Nick and Sebo, Jeff and Stawasz, Andrew and O’Keefe, Cullen and Rotola, Giuliana, Legal Priorities Research: A Research Agenda (January 7, 2021). Legal Priorities Project Working Paper Series, Available at SSRN: or

“What are the greatest risks and opportunities for humanity, and what is the role that multidisciplinary-informed legal research can take? How can we prioritize so as to increase the chance of a flourishing and long-lasting future of humanity? How can we cooperate most effectively with those whom we will never meet, but whose lives lie in our hands? Choosing to address these questions and prioritizing carefully among them may be one of the great opportunities of our time to positively change the human trajectory, and is the guiding theme of this agenda. Our research agenda is divided into three parts. In the first part, we argue that cause prioritization in legal research is both important and neglected, provide an overview of our philosophical foundations, and describe our methodological approach. In the second part, we present our current focus areas (namely, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, institutional design, and meta-research), identify promising research projects, and provide an overview of relevant literature. In the final part, we discuss two cause areas for further engagement (namely, space governance and animal law).

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