I think it can be a good fit for either of those groups. Currently most people are more in the academic work category, but we have a few RSPers who are working on more policy engagement style work, and having a fair bit of success.
It’s also worth pointing out that plenty of RSPers don’t fall neatly into either camp:
Policy people sometimes do academic style things and vice versa
Lots of RSPers are exploring and haven’t yet narrowed down to ‘I am definitely going to optimise for policy engagement/some other style of work’
There are other buckets of activities that RSPers do: software development, teaching and mentorship, community building
Could you describe some of the more policy engagement style / community building projects people have taken on? Would be interested in what people have pursued as that’s closer to my area of interest vs more academic.
Some examples of policy stuff RSPers have done:
Advising governments directly (including the Czech and UK governments on their COVID-19 response, the Mexican government on its national AI strategy)
Networking with relevant government individuals, think tanks etc
Attending relevant conferences, like the Biological Weapons Convention
Writing papers, written submissions and reports on various policy issues
Some examples of community building related stuff RSPers have done:
Co-running programmes like the European Summer Program in Rationality (ESPR), FHI’s Summer Research Fellowship, the Human-aligned AI Summer School, and the Epistea Summer Experiment
Various kinds of advising calls, including lots via EAG/EAGx