Contacts & supervision

Need help? Looking for a supervisor? From this page, you'll find the contact information for the administrative personnel the doctoral programme, as well as information on the board (steering group) of the programme and the supervisors in the different disciplines represented in the programme.
ILS administration

Professor Susanna Fagerholm
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
phone +358-2941 59926

Harri Mäcklin,

  • Contact person of the programme
  • Administration and communication
  • Planning the programme curriculum and other activities in collaboration with the board

The tasks and duties of the board based on the Rector's decision RP141/2013 stating (translated and accommodated to ILS with several faculties):

  • Handle applications to join ILS made by applicants for UH doctoral studies, organize if needed an exam and interview and make a proposal (with grounds) to faculties on applicants to be chosen
  • Plan and develop the programs curriculum
  • Decide on principles of national/international collaboration
  • Other tasks relating to the programs operations

Board members

Fagerholm Susanna, director
Almeida-Souza Leonardo
Kilpinen Helena
Mikkola Marja
Tang Jing
Saharinen Pipsa
Sarin Peter

Ghanem Mohammad, student representative 
Gregorová Pavlína, student representative

ILS su­per­visors

All group leaders who act as supervisors of doctoral candidates can be found from the University of Helsinki research portal.

Please note that the list includes both students and supervisors. If you're looking for a potential supervisor, look for people having 'Supervisor in doctoral programme' title.

From the research portal you can also look up people for example using keywords related to your interests. Keep in mind that the research portal lists all researchers affiliated with the University of Helsinki – including current doctoral students, who should not be considered as prospective supervisors. If the person is employed, you will see their job title on their profile page.

How to find a supervisor?

Finding supervisors willing to guide you through your thesis project is one of the most important steps when preparing your application. But it’s not always an easy feat. Here are a few tips on how to go about it:

Start early. And when we say early, we’re talking about months rather than weeks. Finding the right match can be a time-consuming business.

  • Do your research. You are more likely to get a positive response if the researchers you approach actually share your research interests. Think of approaching the prospective supervisors in a sense like you would applying for a job – sending the same generic message to various recipients is unlikely to provide the hoped-for results. Acquaint yourself with the supervisors' research profiles, and try to pick the people you approach based on actual mutual research interests.
  • Pay attention to detail. At least one of your supervisors has to be in a permanent or long-term employment to the faculty awarding your prospective target degree, and at least one needs to hold the title of docent or similar scientific qualifications – i.e. be a senior researcher in your field. When you find potential supervisors, make sure in the further discussions that at least one of them fills these conditions.
  • Be precise. Supervisors get a lot of email. When you approach a prospective supervisor, present your interest and motivation in a clear, succinct manner.
  • Be patient and prepare for disappointments. In the process of finding a supervisor, you are likely to receive several negative responses – or, sometimes, no response at all. If you get a negative response, move on. Be also aware that, especially if your research interest is of a field that’s not widely represented here, it’s also possible that you will not find a supervisor.
Other important contact information for doctoral candidates

In matters related to preliminary examination of the doctoral dissertation, please contact the following, according to the faculty of your doctoral study right:

Viikki Cam­pus

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine 

Mei­l­ahti Cam­pus

Faculty of Medicine

DSHealth office: (transferable skills courses, general competence studies)

DSHealth coordinator: (travel grants and their payment)

Admission Services: (admission matters)

Email lists

Lists for doc­toral can­did­ates

All ILS doctoral candidates should join the mailing list, which is used to advertise ILS's activities as well as to distribute information relevant to PhD candidates. Another relevant mailing list is the DSHealth doctoral school list (all ils-predocs list members automatically receive the DSHealth mails as well). Also, consult your supervisor for other relevant mailing lists to join.

To subscribe, send an e-mail to Leave the subject-line empty and in the message field write subscribe ils-predocs. Please note that you must use your email address or other official address (,, ect.) to join the list.

To unsubscribe the list send an e-mail to and write in the message field unsubscribe ils-predocs and nothing else. Please note that you should send the email from the same address that you joined the list with.

Email list for ILS su­per­vi­sors

Primary supervisors are added to the email list, other supervisors may join the list like this:
To subscribe, send an e-mail to Leave the subject-line empty and in the message field write subscribe ils-supervisors.

ILS Stu­dent coun­cil

The ILS student council serves as a platform between PhD students and the doctoral program. The aim is to help you with any issues regarding student welfare, teaching or life as a PhD student in general by collecting feedback, providing information and keeping you up to date with upcoming events. The student council organizes the annual ILS PhD Symposium.


Get involved in the discussion and keep up-to-date with the latest news and events at our ILS students facebook group.