Employment as a doctoral researcher

The call for doctoral candidate positions with university funding will open on this page.

Other ways of funding a PhD project include the salary being paid by a grant obtained by a 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.
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 

DPDR-specific application instructions for the Autumn 2023 call

DPDR is a multidisciplinary doctoral programme and research in DPDR covers the life cycle of medicines and toxicology. More specifically, groups in DPDR study diverse areas in drug research, such as drug design and synthesis, bioactivity screening, pharmaceutical microbiology, drug formulation, nanomedicine, industrial manufacturing, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, analytics, drug interactions, pharmacogenetics, pharmacology and clinical pharmacology, clinical drug research, pharmacoepidemiology, clinical pharmacy, pharmacoeconomics, toxicology and clinical toxicology and veterinary drug research.

For DPDR degree requirements, please visit the instructions for students (select DPDR from the dropdown menu).

The doctoral programme is offering 4 positions, starting in January 2024. The salaried positions are for 1–4 years (*clinicians 6–48 months) of full-time work and the length of the employment contract is determined by the stage of the applicant's doctoral thesis. Others than clinicians may apply only for full years.

*Exception for doctoral candidates enrolled in specialist training in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine: Applicants pursuing a specialist degree in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine 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 6-month period and to specialist clinical training for the remaining six months of the same calendar year.

In the selection of full 4-year positions, priority will be given to starting doctoral researchers (no more than 3 years from the beginning of their doctoral studies). In exceptional cases, 4-year positions can be considered for candidates who received their study rights more than 3 years ago if they can explain the need for 4-year funding.

In addition to doctoral programme-specific positions, the University of Helsinki Doctoral School allocates 10 strategically targeted doctoral researcher positions for the four-year period 2024-2027 in a thematic call. The 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, the 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 of the DPDR if: 

  1. You already have the doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki


  1. You have an MSc, MD or equivalent degree AND apply for the doctoral study right during the September 2023 application period on 1.–14.9.2023 (please note that you have to make a SEPARATE application for the study right, see instructions on the DPDR admissions page)


  1. You have not yet graduated. A relevant academic degree (MSc, MD or equivalent) in a field suitable for a thesis project must be completed and obtained before 31.1.2024. 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.

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 apply for a position using the electronic application form. The application period will open on the 29th of August 2023 and close on the 14th of September 2023. You will find the application form for each doctoral programme during the open call period from the University of Helsinki Open positions webpages.

Mandatory attachments for all applicants are: a copy of your degree diploma, CV, and research plan.

  • 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 the CV template
    • Layout: Font Arial/Calibri size 11 or similar if not using Word
    • Row min 1,15
    • The maximum length of CV: 2 pages
  • Research plan
    • To ensure the equal treatment of applicants, you must use the 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 the research plan template
  • Copies of your degree diploma and transcript of studies (or transcript of studies only, if you have not graduated yet)
  • If you don’t have a doctoral study right yet, please attach an Approval form from the supervisors and the coordinating academic
  • Doctoral candidates who have enrolled (full-time) in specialist training and who apply for 6-month/year positions are expected to indicate how the doctoral training period will be integrated with clinical work. Please, fill in the requested information and signatures in this Commitment letter
  • All attachments must 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.

The applicant needs to indicate at least two evaluation panels (in the order of preference) where the applicant wants the application to be evaluated in the following field in the application form: Specification or additional information on the field of research. The evaluation panels are:

  1. Drug Discovery (Chem., Comput., AI, etc.)
  2. Drug Delivery (Tech., Biopharm., Biol etc)
  3. Drug Action & Therapy (Pharmacol., Clinic, Social, etc.)

Please note that your application may be evaluated in another panel if it suits better your research topic.

When applying for a funded position, please use the English application form and write the whole application in English. Applications written in languages other than English will not be put forward for the external review process and 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.

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

Step 1: Written applications

The applicants are evaluated based on their written applications by the three external evaluation panels:

  1. Drug Discovery (Chem., Comput., AI, etc.)
  2. Drug Delivery (Tech., Biopharm., Biol etc)
  3. Drug Action & Therapy (Pharmacol., Clinic, Social, etc.)

The following criteria will be used when evaluating the applications:

  • Quality of the research plan: clarity, originality, novelty, significance, feasibility, methodologies used (impact on evaluation: 65 %)
  • Motivation and CV of the applicant, research hypothesis (impact on evaluation: 35 %)
  • The relevance of the application to the DPDR doctoral training profile (yes – no)
  • Recommendations by the supervisor, and other merits (yes – no, required for eligibility)

The research plan's topic must suit the doctoral programme's profile.

Step 2: Critical thinking assessment task

Top candidates will be invited to participate in a critical thinking assessment task on Tuesday, 24th of October, 2023. More details about the task will be given to selected candidates approximately a week before the assignment. Applicants’ possible special needs will be taken into account.


The top applicants will be ranked by adding together the evaluation panel score (weight: 75 %) and the score of the critical thinking assessment task (weight: 25 %). The applicants’ scores will be anonymized to ensure unbiased selection.

The board of the doctoral programme proposes the 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 also applying for the study right, please read carefully the instructions for a doctoral study right applicants from your doctoral programme webpage.

De­cision on salary po­s­i­tions start­ing in 2024

DPDR received altogether 48 applications. All eligible applications were distributed to three evaluation panels (drug discovery, drug development, drug action & therapy). Based on the external evaluations, board decided to invite 12 top candidates (4 top candidates from each panel) to a critical thinking assignment (CTA), which was held on October 24. The board made the final decisions based on the combined external evaluation scores and CTA scores. The applicants were anonymized to ensure unbiased selection.


The funding was awarded to (in alphabetical order):

Sini Huuskonen, 2 years (supervisor Markku Varjosalo)

Simas Janutenas, 4 years (supervisor Mikko Airavaara)

Jette-Britt Naams, 2 years (supervisor Sanna Lehtonen)

Martta Peltoniemi, 4 years, One Health position (supervisor Tuomas Lilius)

Sergei Raik, 2 years (supervisor Arto Urtti)

Carolina Reyes Leal, 2 years (supervisor Francisco Rivera Gómez-Barris)

Olesya Shpironok, 2 years (supervisor Mart Saarma)

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