The Eon Essay Contest is a brainchild of the Players Philanthropy Fund and is funded by Open Philanthropy. The contest is open to grade-school, undergraduate, or graduate students from 13 – 24 years of age. Every entrant is expected to read The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity by Toby Ord and then write an essay of 1,200 words or more.
There are three age brackets in the contest, which are 13-18, 19-21, and 22-24, and each age bracket has a task their essay is expected to solve.
- One first-place winner: $15,000 (selected from all entrants)
- Three second-place winners: $5,000 (selected one from each age bracket)
- Six third place winners:$2,000 (selected two from each age bracket)
- Total prize: $42,000
- Number of Winners: 10
- Opening Date: November 15 (Subject to change)
- Submission Deadline: June 15 (subject to change)
- Potential winners receive notification via email five days after review and judgment, and they have ten days to respond to the email.
- Country: All entrants must be legal residents of the 50 states of the United States of America or the District of Columbia excluding Puerto Rico, Canada excluding the province of Quebec, and the United Kingdom.
- Age: 13 to 24
- Educational Level: Grade school, undergraduate, and graduate (full-time, part-time in a public or private school, registered homeschool, or any legally recognized educational institution).
- Access to internet
Prompts for the Eon Essay Contest
Each age bracket gets a specific prompt for their essay. Always check the contest’s official website for the updated version of the prompts before submitting your entry.
3-18 age bracket:
Prompt: Pick a transformative technology you believe will be created someday. Imagine you hold a position of responsibility for it, whether as a scientist developing the technology, a government official regulating it, or a corporate executive selling it to the public. How would you approach your job to have the greatest chance of preserving humanity’s potential? What are the risks you face?
19-21 age bracket:
Prompt: If the ideas in this book are correct, what does that imply about what a group you are familiar with should be doing differently? What could incentivize them to do that? You may talk about a group like a research lab, a government body, a nonprofit, a media company, a corporation, or an international organization.
22-24 age bracket:
Prompt: What, according to you, is missing from this book? This missing piece can be data, analysis, or an argument. The missing piece can either strengthen or weaken a conclusion from the book.