Our free coaching can help you identify an impactful research question and connect you with further resources

New applications for coaching are paused. In the meantime, fill out our form to be notified when coaching is available again, contact us directly, or chat with our AI Thesis Mentor (requires ChatGPT Plus).

We are currently pausing new applications for coaching. In the meantime, we invite you to fill out our form to be notified when coaching is available again. By subscribing, you can also receive our newsletter which includes updates on our services, access to our Research Question (RQ) database, and other relevant topics that can assist you in your research journey.

You can also view our online guides for undergraduate and masters students and prospective PhD students to help you choose a thesis topic.

You can also sign up for one of our newsletters. The Future Researchers’ Journey is a 6-week email-based summary of our advice on how to choose a thesis topic and shape your research career for greater impact. The Topic Discovery Digest helps you to find thesis topics, tools and resources that can help you significantly improve the world. The Early Career Research Opportunities Newsletter is a bi-weekly digest of hand-pick opportunities such as jobs, internships, prizes and scholarships that are particularly relevant to students from undergraduate to PhD level interested in our recommended research directions.

Learn more about our coaching service

Are you writing a thesis or considering your PhD topic? Our coaching service is designed to help students like you maximize the impact of your research. While we are not currently accepting new coaching applications, our guides for undergraduate and master’s students, as well as prospective PhD students, provide valuable insights for choosing a thesis topic.

Coaching can help wherever you are in your PhD journey.

Writing an undergrad or master's thesis?

Coaching can help you discover how to have more impact with your research and connect you with further resources to help you get the most our of writing your thesis.

Frequently asked questions

Our coaches can help in a number of ways. They can help you think through open questions you have about your studies and future career, suggest tools and resources that would be a good fit for you, connect you with researchers to support your further, and offer you advice on things like finding a PhD supervisor and applying for funding.

After you’ve written your thesis or dissertation, we can also help you get your research noticed, including by publishing it on our site.

We generally work with students who will be writing a thesis or dissertation (at undergraduate, masters or PhD level) or submitting PhD applications in the next six months, however if you don’t quite fit this criteria we still encourage you to reach out.

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. We typically reach out to accepted applicants within 1 to 2 weeks of their applications. If you have a deadline that means you need to hear back sooner, please make a note of this in your application.

If you want your research to do as much good as possible – either directly by contributing to solving a pressing problem or by building skills so you can have a bigger impact later – we encourage you to apply for coaching. 

We primarily coach students who are considering research careers, but if you plan to pursue a different career we still encourage you to apply.

We’ll assess your application on the basis of your interest in having a positive impact and our belief that we can offer you support. If for any reason we can’t offer you coaching, we will still offer you helpful resources.

A coaching session lasts 30 minutes. Your coach will start by understanding your goals and any open questions you have. They may then help you consider how you could increase the likely impact of your research, offer you further resources, connect you with other researchers or organisations, or advise you on topics such as applying for funding, finding a supervisor or choosing a research question that is a good fit for you. 

After the first coaching session you’re likely to have  lots of ideas and ways to get further support. However, many students appreciate meeting their coach for more sessions. Our coaches also stay in touch to provide ongoing guidance via email.

Yes – we still encourage you to apply. We recognise that your skills, qualifications and interests may mean that a different direction is a better fit for you, and the list of directions we feature on our site is not intended to be exhaustive.

However, we might not be able to help you as much as we could if you chose a research direction we recommend, as for these directions we have already found mentors, potential supervisors, research agendas and other useful resources to get you started.

We’re a nonprofit aiming to help students begin research careers that address pressing global problems. This means we particularly appreciate feedback about how we have helped you, to help inform our future applications for funding.

You can see all the services we offer on the homepage. As well as  individual coaching, we provide help with finding supervisors and PhD funding, recommendations of research directions that are particularly likely to have a big positive impact, a newsletter of curated opportunities for early career researchers, and advice for beginning a successful research career.

Students we've advised

Our coaches

Apply for our coaching and the coach who is the best fit for you will support you in your journey towards an impactful research career.

Marie Zedler

Head of Coaching

Marie is the Head of Coaching at Effective Thesis and is responsible for managing the coaching services and our expert network. She holds a BSc in Neuroscience from UCL and is currently working towards an integrated MRes+PhD in Sensor Technology at the University of Cambridge. Her most recent research focused on developing low-cost sensors for the early detection of plant stress. Marie’s interests include alternative proteins and the food system, biosecurity, as well as community building. In her free time, Marie loves rock climbing, ice skating and cold water swimming, and she needs ideas for a new sport to try out!

Conor Spence


Conor is a Coach at Effective Thesis. He enjoys helping talented students have a high positive impact through their thesis and study decisions. He enjoys discussing interesting impactful topics and encouraging and motivating people. He has a masters in neuroscience and a background as an educator, researcher, and coach within universities and the non-profit sector. He also enjoys throwing ultimate frisbees when he has time.

Our expert network

Our coaches can connect you to researchers from our network of over 100 experts, who can help you find the most important open questions in your field.

Philip Trammel

Philip Trammel is a research affiliate at the Global Priorities Institute at Oxford University. He advises students on applications of economic theory to global priorities research.

Dr Cassidy Nelson

Cassidy Nelson is Co-Lead of the Biosecurity Research Group at the Future of Humanity Institute. She advises students on health security, biosecurity and pandemic prevention.

Vanessa Kosoy

Vanessa is a research associate at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. She advises students in mathematics, computer science and other quantitative degrees interested in human aligned artificial intelligence research.

Prof David Denkenberger

David Denkenberger co-founded and directs the Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED). He has 65 peer-reviewed publications and is the third most prolific author in the field of existential and global catastrophic risk.

Maxime Stauffer

Maxime is a co-founder and chief executive officer of the Simon Institute for Longterm Governance. Max advises students in political science, behavioural sciences, mathematics and physics interested in improving political decision making.

Parendi Birdie

Parendi Birdie is the Head of Brand Strategy at Mission Barns. She advises students who are interested in both technical and non-technical areas of the field of cellular agriculture.

David Moss

David is the Principal Research Manager at Rethink Priorities and a research fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University. David advises students interested in moral psychology and empirical social science.

All others

There are many other researchers and collaborators for whose support we are very grateful.

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