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 

Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind -spe­cific ap­plic­a­tion in­struc­tions

The Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind (B&M) is based on a multidisciplinary network of leading neuroscience research groups at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. 

The B&M doctoral candidates have a background in medicine, biosciences, psychology, cognitive sciences, humanities, technology or physics and chemistry. They are required to complete 40 ECTS doctoral studies according to the B&M degree requirements.

Research and doctoral training in the B&M include the following fields of science:

  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Excitability, synaptic transmission, and neuronal networks
  • Disorders of the nervous system
  • Sensory and motor systems
  • Neuroimmunology, neuroendocrine systems and sleep
  • Cognitive and behavioural neuroscience
  • Systems and computational neuroscience

If you do not yet have a study right in the Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind, you must attach a signed letter of commitment (pdf) from the supervisor(s) and the coordinating professor mentioned in the application.

If you do not have a supervisor yet, you can find more information about supervision.

  1. In this call, the Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind offers two 1-4-year positions (2024-2027) and two 1-2 year positions (2024-2025).
    The salaried positions are for 12-48 months (*) of full time work and the length of the employment contract is determined by the stage of the applicant's doctoral thesis. 

    *) Exception for clinicians 6-48 months: Applicants pursuing a specialist training in medicine or dentistry can apply for half of a UH-funded position (6 months/year). The 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.

  2. 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.

    In the evaluation, 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.

  3. 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.

You can apply for the salaried positions in the B&M if: 

  1. You already have the doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki.
    Please note the duration of the available positions below. To be eligible to apply for the salaried position in the B&M, the total full-time length of your doctoral study right should not exceed three years at the end of 2023. (Thus, if your study right has started before December 2020, please explain in the "career breaks" section of the application e.g. if you have been working on your thesis part-time).


  1. You have an MSc, MD or equivalent degree. 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.


  1. You can apply for the position if you have not yet graduated. However, a relevant academic degree (MSc, MD or equivalent) in a field suitable for thesis project must be completed and obtained before 31.12.2023. Note that you must apply for the study right in the January 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.


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.

A signed approval of supervisor(s) and the coordinating professor mentioned in the application must be attached to the applications (unless you already have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki). See more in the Application form section.

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 Brain & Mind.

Mandatory attachments for all applicants:
  • Research plan
    • To ensure the equal treatment of applicants, you must use research plan structure presented in the template document (docx) and follow the maximum number of characters including spaces indicated in the template. The application may be rejected if the instructions are not followed.
  • CV
  • Academic transcript of records
    • English-language transcript of records from your Master's or PhD studies showing courses taken and grades.
Mandatory attachments IF you do not have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki yet:
Mandatory attachments IF you are applying for the 6+6-month positions of clinicians:
  • Doctoral researchers pursuing specialist training in medicine or dentistry who are applying for six-month positions are expected to complete their application with a letter of commitment indicating how the period of doctoral training will be integrated into clinical work. Collect the requested information and signatures, scan and attach the letter as a pdf file to your application before 14th of September 2023 at 23.59 EEST.
    The forms (only for applicants pursuing specialist degree in medicine or dentistry):
  • Letter_of_Commitment (pdf) (English)
  • Sitoumus (pdf) (Finnish)
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.

When applying for a funded position, please use the English application form and write all parts of the application in English. Other applications will not be considered.

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.


    STEP 1
    1. External evaluation panel includes a wide pool of evaluators from different disciplines and universities. 
    2. Each application is reviewed by three different evaluators (with no conflict of interest to applicants).
    3. Each evaluator individually ranks the applications 

    Evaluation panel uses the following criteria when evaluating the applications (weight %):

    • Applicant’s potential: 40%: a) suitability of previous studies, b) success in previous studies (applicant’s stage of doctoral training is considered), c) motivation
    • Novelty, originality and feasibility of the research proposal: 40%
    • Research environment: 20%
    STEP 2

    4. Shortlisting the applications for interviews
    Ranking list of applicants is made based on the individual scores given by the evaluation panel members. Applicants with a final score of >4 (or a maximum of three times the number of available positions with highest scores) will be invited for an interview. A reserve list will be used.

    A recommendation letter from the supervisor will be asked from shortlisted applicants only. The letter of recommendation will be submitted using an electronic form by the due date indicated in the invitation to interview.

    5. Interview of shortlisted applicants
    Top applicants will be interviewed to verify the applicants’ understanding of the research proposal and to identify the most promising researchers. The shortlisted applicants are interviewed by an interview panel online in Zoom. The invitations to interviews and the exact interview date (31 October or 1 November) will be sent by email to shortlisted applicants approximately one week before the interviews. The language used in the interviews is English. 


    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.

    Further information

    Other ways of funding a PhD project are:

    1. a salary/grant paid by the supervisor through his/her research project funding. Many research groups have project funding from e.g. Academy of Finland, Tekes, ERC, foundations, etc. and can hire doctoral candidates.
    2. a personal grant from a private foundation applied by the doctoral candidate him/herself. You can apply for funding from several Finnish or foreign foundations: research.fi/en/funding-calls
    3. Doctoral candidates may also fund their studies themselves or pursue their degree in tandem with work.

    Funding for doctoral research

    Proposal for UH-funded doctoral researcher positions starting in 2024

    Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind (B&M) received 59 eligible applications for the University of Helsinki -funded doctoral researcher positions starting in January 2024. The applications were evaluated by external reviewers representing all B&M research areas. The selection procedure was based on the application and on an interview of short-listed candidates. Based on the evaluation results, the decision was made by the B&M Board on November 8th, 2023. The host institution of the doctoral researcher makes the funding decision.

    The names of the doctoral researchers recommended for funding are given below in alphabetical order (length of funding period and the supervisor in brackets):

    • Eghtedarian, Reyhane (4 years, H. Ollila, H. Kilpeläinen)
    • Haakana, Piia (1 year, A. Shulga, E. Haaksiluoto)
    • Iivanainen, Vilma (3 years, J-O. Andressoo)
    • Karmila, Nelli (2 years, O. Pietiläinen, J. Koistinaho)
    • Malinen, Satu (4 years, A. Wartiovaara) Research Foundation position

    The decisions for doctoral study right applications are given separately by the Faculty in question by the end of November.

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