Employment as a doctoral researcher

Once a year, the doctoral programme opens a call for applications for university-funded doctoral researcher positions. The doctoral researchers selected for these positions complete their doctoral research employed by the university. Both current University of Helsinki doctoral researchers and new applicants planning on doctoral studies are eligible to apply for these positions.
Instructions for applicants

The University of Helsinki (UH) annually allocates funding to doctoral programmes for salaried positions (employment contract).  

The next application period for salaried positions will be on 29.08.-14.09.2023.  

Salaried doctoral researcher positions are aimed at enabling full-time work on doctoral dissertations and doctoral studies, with the goal of completing a doctoral degree in four years. The exact duration of employment, its’ start and end dates are determined in the employment contract.  

The salary and other further details concerning the employment relationship are available in the call for applications (available when the call is open). 

You can apply for a salaried position in a doctoral programme if you are currently a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki or are planning to pursue a doctoral degree.  

If you already have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for a salaried position, if you have not yet spent a total of four years with a UH funded doctoral researcher salary. 

Please read your doctoral programme’s instructions below. 

Applications for a salaried position in a doctoral programme are submitted by completing the application form and enclosing the required attachments.  

If you do not yet have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for the right in the September study right call or in the spring at the latest. Please note that this may result in your employment beginning later than 1 January 2024.  

If you are offered a salaried position, you must apply and be awarded the right to pursue a doctoral degree in your doctoral programme within the six-month trial period.  

Please note that you may apply for a UH-funded doctoral candidate position from a maximum of two doctoral programmes. If an applicant has submitted more than two applications, the two most recently dated will be considered and reviewed. 

If you already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you may also apply for a salaried position from another doctoral programme that suits your research profile.  

 If you receive a salaried position from another doctoral programme, you will need to change your doctoral programme. This means that you may need to reapply for study right if your faculty or target degree changes. This application should be made in the spring at the latest. Please note that this may affect the start date of your potential employment. If you are applying for a salaried position in more than one doctoral programme, please complete a separate application form for each one.  

You will find more instructions on applying from the doctoral programme specific instructions below. 

On these pages you will find information on how to use the recruitment system.  

Further information can be requested by writing to phd-positions(at)helsinki.fi 

Food­Health spe­cific ap­plic­a­tion in­struc­tions for 2023

The Doctoral Programme in Food Chain and Health (acronym FoodHealth) is a multidisciplinary doctoral programme in food sciences covering food science research throughout the whole food chain. The multidisciplinary doctoral programme enables the examination of food from several complementary perspectives, as well as cooperation with the whole food sector. The food research areas are e.g. food chemistry, food control, food economy, food hygiene, food microbiology, food technology, food toxicology, meat inspection, microbiology of primary production and nutrition.

The doctoral programme has attracted doctoral researchers and senior researchers from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Multidisciplinary research activities and training are purposed to provide the doctoral reseachers with a wide perspective to their research area and enable them to utilize their training not only in academia but also in industry.

You can find FoodHealth degree structure on Studies-service. For FoodHealth events, please visit the FoodHealth Profile and activities page.

FoodHealth offers salaried doctoral researcher positions starting in January 2024. The salaried positions are for 1-4-years of full time work. Applicants must apply for full years (one, two, three or four years), corresponding to the length of time required to complete the PhD. The minimum period is 12 months starting in 2024.

Please note that there are also 10 strategically targeted positions with the theme "Multidisciplinary research on One Health including a global dimension". One Health is understood in its widest scope referring to an integrated, unifying approach to balance and optimize the health of people, animals and the environment.

The global dimension may be evident in the research proposals in the spirit of global responsibility, with a special focus on Africa. Groundbreaking basic research, open-minded curiosity and cooperation that transcends boundaries are supported. The projects are expected to increase our knowledge towards building a sustainable future by finding solutions to both local and global issues and thereby benefiting the global community.

If your research fits into this theme, please indicate it in your application and describe the connection with this theme.

Only students who have completed their Master’s degree by the end of the application period may apply for the salary positions. Please provide documentation in the application. Note that you must apply for the study right in the February 2024 or April 2024 call of the doctoral program and that you must receive the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki within the 6-month trial period of the employment.

Please note that you should only include the research plan and confirmation of supervision into your application.

The Confirmation of Supervision should be added with your application. Your application will not be reviewed without confirmed supervision arrangements.

Only applications in English are evaluated. Other applications will not be considered.

You will find the application form for Doctoral programme in Food Chain and Health during the open call period (29.08-14.09.2023)  from the University of Helsinki Open positions webpages.

Applications for a salaried position are submitted via the University of Helsinki recruitment system.  

You need to include the following attachments in this order to your application

  • Research plan 

    • To ensure the equal treatment of applicants, you must use research plan structure presented in the template and follow the maximum number of characters including spaces indicated in the template. The application may be rejected if the instructions are not followed. 

    • Research plan template (word document)

  • Approval of the supervisors and the coordinating academic (if you don’t have a doctoral study right yet) 
  • Please attach the research plan and supervision confirmation. The maximum size of the file is 5 MB. 

Language of the application: English

The application form is open during the application period. You will find the application form for each doctoral programme during the open call period (29.08.-14.09.2023) from the University of Helsinki Open positions webpages. (available during the call period). 

Please note that you may apply for a UH-funded doctoral candidate position from a maximum of two doctoral programmes. If an applicant has submitted more than two applications, the two most recently dated will be considered and reviewed. 

Please note that even though the application closes at midnight, we advise you to submit your application earlier. We will not answer your question about the application, or the application form, after 16.00 EEST on the day the application closes. 


FoodHealth board and external evaluators will evaluate the applications in two rounds. First, they will anonymously evaluate the research plans with the following criteria when evaluating the applications:

  • The background and previous knowledge of the research questions are clearly described
  • The objectives, research questions and hypotheses are clearly described, and they are in comparison with the research problem
  • Materials and methods are described clearly, and they are chosen to support the research questions
  • The aim and relevance of the research is described clearly, and the applicant understands clearly what is required and how the research is essential for the society and/or basic research
  • The timetable, current stage, budget and research costs are clearly described, and it is clear where the funding for research costs comes from

After the first round, around 10 applicants will be invited for the interviews. In the interviews, the evaluators will review the applicants based on the above mentioned criteria, as well as

  • Student’s motivation and orientation towards research
  • Progression of the thesis work if already started (such as how many years used & how many years left). When studying full-time, the thesis should be finished in 4 years.
  • Formulation of the research question, innovativeness, methods and feasibility of the research plan

Please note that the topic of the research plan must suit the profile of the doctoral programme.  

Top applicants will be interviewed. The interviews will be arranged on 26 October 2023 and the invitations will be sent one week before the interviews. The decisions are made within one week after the interviews.

The board of the doctoral programme makes a proposal regarding appointment of salaried doctoral researcher positions. The director of the relevant employment unit makes the final decision on the appointments.  

All applicants will be personally notified of the decisions by the end of November. The names of the applicants selected for the positions will be published on the doctoral programme’s web pages (if the applicant has given permission).  

Please note that applications for the right to pursue a doctoral degree are processed according to a different schedule by the responsible Faculty. The relevant faculty makes decisions regarding study rights and applicants are personally notified in a separate notification to salary positions. If you are applying also for the study right, please read carefully the instructions for doctoral study right applicants from your doctoral programme webpage.

De­cision on salary po­s­i­tions start­ing in 2024

De­scrip­tion of the eval­u­ation pro­cess

FoodHealth received altogether 29 applications. The FoodHealth board and three external (international) evaluators first evaluated all applications and top 10 applicants were invited for the interview that was arranged on October 26. The final decisions were based on both written applications and interviews. Conflicts of interest were taken into account.

The positions were filled as follows:

Ahmad Al-Mustapha (supervisor Annamari Heikinheimo), 2 years

Annika Sillanpää (supervisor Pekka Varmanen) 2 years

Fabio Tuccillo (supervisor Kati Katina) 2 years

Adhiguru Poovaragavalu (supervisor Jari Salo), 4 years, The University of Helsinki Research Foundation position

Essi Roininen (supervisor Tarja Pitkänen) 4 years, One Health position

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