Employment as a doctoral researcher

Once a year, the doctoral programme opens a call for applications for university-funded doctoral candidate positions. The doctoral candidates selected for these positions complete their doctoral research employed by the university. Both current University of Helsinki doctoral candidates 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 

DPBM-specific application instructions for the Autumn 2023 call

All applicants working in the field of biomedicine and translational and molecular medicine.

In this call, the Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine (DPBM) offers five 1-4-year positions (2024-2027).

Doctoral researcher positions funded by the University of Helsinki are primarily aimed at young researchers who are at the beginning of their doctoral studies. Applicants are expected to apply for full years (12, 24, 36 or 48 months only). The minimum period is 12 months (*except doctoral candidates pursuing specialist degrees in medicine or dentistry) starting in 2024. The length of the employment contract is determined by the stage of the applicant's doctoral thesis.

*Ex­cep­tion: Doctoral candidates pursuing specialist degrees in medicine or dentistry can apply for half of a UH-funded position (6 months/year). These applicants are expected to commit to full time (100%) doctoral training for a six-month period and to specialist clinical training for the remaining six months of the same calendar year.

In addition to doctoral programme-specific positions, University of Helsinki Doctoral School allocates 10 strategically targeted doctoral researcher positions for the four-year period 2024-2027 in a thematic call. Theme of the call is Multidisciplinary research on One Health including a global dimension and the appointees in this call are selected among the high-scoring 4-year applicants in all doctoral programmes by a separate multidisciplinary thematic evaluation panel. If you want to apply for these positions, please fill out the ‘Thematic call’ section in the application form.

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.

In addition, University of Helsinki Research Foundation allocates 10 positions to high-scoring 4-year applicants in all doctoral programmes. The Foundation emphasizes multidisciplinarity and the applicant's ability to explain which societal problems or questions the research aims to answer.

The applicant should have completed a relevant academic degree (MSc, MD or equivalent) in a field suitable for their thesis project in life sciences and obtained by the end of the year 2023. Selected applicants should obtain the right to pursue a doctoral degree from the Faculties of Medicine, Biological and Environmental Sciences, or Pharmacy at the University of Helsinki in the January 2024 application round at the latest. Knowledge of English is mandatory.

You can apply for the salaried positions in the doctoral programme if: 

  1. You have the doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, or
  2. You have an MSc, MD or equivalent degree and apply for the doctoral study right (please note that you have to make a SEPARATE application for the study right). If you do not yet have the right to pursue a postgraduate doctoral degree, you must apply for a doctoral study right in the September 2023 application period (1.-14.9.2023) or in January 2024 (17.-31.1.2024) at the latest. In this case, please read carefully the instructions for doctoral study right applicants., or
  3. You can apply for the position if you have not yet graduated. A relevant academic degree (MSc, MD or equivalent) in a field suitable for thesis project must be completed and obtained by December 31, 2023. Note that you must apply for the study right in the January 2024 call (17.-31.1.2024) of the doctoral programme 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 read carefully the instructions for doctoral study right applicants

Please note that the application system requires you to upload a copy of your degree diploma (MSc, MD or equivalent). If you have not yet obtained the degree diploma, you can upload an official transcript of your studies thus far.

Please note that before applying for a UH-funded doctoral candidate position the applicant is required to find an appropriate research group and supervisor. Applicants are expected to contact prospective supervisors independently and agree on the details of the thesis project before applying for the UH-funded doctoral candidate position.

The maximum of one doctoral candidate per supervisor per application year can be appointed to the UH-funded doctoral candidate position.

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

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). 

You need to include the following attachments in this order to your application in the Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine.

Mandatory to all applicants

  • 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.
    • LINK to research plan template
  • CV
    • To ensure the equal treatment of applicants, CV must follow the template of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK. The application may be rejected if the instructions are not followed.
    • Link to CV template: LINK 
    • Layout: Font Arial/Calibri size 11 or similar if not using Word
    • Row min 1,15
    • Maximum length of CV: 2 pages
  • Copies of your degree diploma and transcript of studies (or transcript of studies only, if you have not graduated yet)

Mandatory if you do not have study right in DPBM

  • Supervision contract (LINK) signed by the applicant, supervisors and the coordinating academic (if you don’t have a doctoral study right yet). More details in the admissions for study right page.

Mandatory for applicants pursuing specialist training and applying for a 6+6-month-position

  • Doctoral candidates pursuing specialist training in medicine or dentistry and applying for 6-month positions: the Letter of Commitment (LINK) indicating how the doctoral training period will be integrated with clinical work

Instructions for all applicants

All attachments need to be combined as one pdf file and attached to the ‘CV/Ansioluettelo’ section of the application. The maximum size of the combined file is 5 MB.

Language of the application is English.

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.

In order to be eligible for evaluation, a Recommendation letter must be completed by the primary supervisor in separate e-form by September 18th, 2023 at 16:00 EEST. It is the applicant's own responsibility to ask the supervisor to send a recommendation letter via e-form. The recommendation letters need to written in English. Recommendation letters are not accepted after the deadline.

In the recommendation letter, there is a separate question regarding supervisor training. If the primary supervisor has completed supervision training, please provide the date and the name of at least the most recent course. You don’t need to attach any certificates, but please be ready to provide one later if asked.

Applications are handled in a two step process, first an external evaluating panel evaluates the written applications and then the top candidates are invited to a critical thinking assignment.

STEP 1: Written applications

Applications received in time and fulfilling the application requirements are evaluated by an external evaluation panel. The evaluation of the applications is based on the following criteria:

  • Research plan and its relevance to biomedicine and translational and molecular medicine (weight: 70%)
  • Feasibility of the project including the research environment (weight: 20%)
  • Motivation, academic and other merits (weight: 10%)

The final score of the candidates whose supervisors have completed a relevant supervisor training* will be multiplied by a factor of 1.1. 

*Suitable supervisor training courses include, for example, the course As a Supervisor at UH, the EMBO Laboratory Leadership course, University Pedagogics (UP3): Academic supervision as well as the 2023 doctoral supervision workshops offered by the UH Doctoral School.

STEP 2: Critical Thinking Assignment

Based on the external evaluator scores, the top candidates will be invited to participate in a critical thinking assignment in Helsinki on Monday, 23rd of October, 2023. The assignment evaluates the problem-solving, writing coherence, and ethical reasoning of the candidates. Students are given written materials (in English) and 90 minutes to prepare a 1–2-page essay based on the materials (in English). Materials cannot be read in advance. Applicants’ possible special needs will be taken into account.

More details about the assignment will be given to selected candidates approximately a week before the assignment. 

Decisions

Top applicants will be ranked by adding together the score of the external panel evaluations and the score of the critical thinking assignment. The applicants’ scores will be anonymized to ensure unbiased selection.

The maximum of one doctoral candidate per supervisor per application year can be appointed to the UH-funded doctoral candidate position.

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 15th 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. LINK

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

De­cision on salary po­s­i­tions start­ing in 2024

Proposal for UH-funded doctoral candidate positions starting in 2024

The names of the doctoral candidates recommended for funding will be given below after the decisions are done (by the end of November).

 

 

Other funding options

Other ways of funding a PhD project is a salary paid by the supervisor or a personal grant from a private foundation applied by the doctoral candidate him/herself. Doctoral candidates may also fund their studies themselves or pursue their degree in tandem with work. Further information on the different funding options is available here.

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