Employment as a doctoral researcher
The call for doctoral researcher positions with university funding will open on this page. 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 researcher 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). These doctoral researcher positions are designated as full-time work. The aim is that doctoral researchers employed by the University will pursue a postgraduate doctoral degree, which should be completed within four years.

The next application period for salaried positions is open from August 29 to September 16, 2022 (23.59 PM EEST). Applications for a salaried position are submitted via the University of Helsinki recruitment system (see section “Application form”).

Both current University of Helsinki doctoral researcher and new applicants planning doctoral studies are eligible to apply for these positions. 

Please read the application instructions carefully before applying. You can find general instructions on these web pages, including frequently asked questions. Doctoral programme-specific instructions you can find on the bottom of this page.

If you are also planning to apply for the right to pursue a postgraduate doctoral degree, remember to read the instructions related to applying for a doctoral study right.

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.

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, provided you have not yet spent a total of four years with a UH funded doctoral researcher salary.

If you do not yet have the right to pursue a postgraduate doctoral degree, you may apply for a doctoral study right in the September call for doctoral study rights or in the spring at the latest. In this case, please read carefully the instructions for doctoral study right applicants.

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

If you already have the right to pursue a doctoral doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and you are applying for a salaried position in your doctoral programme:  

  • Read the application instructions regarding salaried positions
  • Complete the electronic application form 

If you do not yet have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you must 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 2023. According to the guidelines of the University of Helsinki, individuals recruited to salaried doctoral researcher positions must gain admittance to doctoral studies (doctoral study right) within the six-month trial period of the employment. 

If you already have the right to pursue a postgraduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you may 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. Please note that you may need to reapply for postgraduate study rights if your faculty or target degree change in relation to an awarded salaried position. This application should be made in the spring at the latest, but 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.

Applications for a salaried position are submitted via the University of Helsinki recruitment system. You need to include the following attachments to your application: research plan, CV and copies of your degree diploma and transcript of records. Please notice that your doctoral programme might require other documents in addition to these (please see programme-specific instructions).

You can find the preliminary forms for the research plan and CV from below links. The final versions are available during the application period.

Research plan (preliminary)

CV (preliminary)

The research plan is the most important part of your application. Please prepare your research plan and CV according to above forms and follow the maximum number of characters including spaces for each section. If your research plan contains chemical equations or research photos, you can enclose those as a separate pdf attachment.

The application form (link coming later) is open during the application period.

Please notice 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.

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

BEFORE SUBMITTING: REMEMBER TO ATTACH THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS IN THE "MY DOCUMENTS" SECTION OF THE APPLICATION! See the doctoral programme application instructions for more instructions.

1. Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project and the study plan (CV).
2. Research plan. Please follow carefully the instructions of your doctoral programme.
3. If your research plan contains chemical equations or research photos, you can enclose those as a separate pdf attachment.
4. Approval of the supervisors and the coordinating academic.
5. Master's degree certificate, transcript of records, and information on master’s thesis (title, grade and abstract), all as one single file.
6. Optional: Bachelor’s degree certificate and transcript of records, all as one single pdf file.
7. Only for applicants for the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research (KLTO): Letter of commitment.
8. Please notice that your doctoral programme might require other documents in addition to these (please see programme-specific instructions).

Salaried position applications are assessed based on the quality of the research and study plans, abilities and motivation of the applicant as demonstrated in conjunction with completing a previous degree or in another manner, as well as supervisory arrangements or their availability. The topic of the research plan must suit the profile of the doctoral programme. Interviews for short-listed applicants may be arranged. 

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. 

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

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

If you are unable to find an answer to a question in these instructions, please check the Frequently asked questions. Further information can be requested by writing to phd-positions(at)helsinki.fi.

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.

DPBM-specific instructions

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

DPBM is offering 1-4-year positions. Applicants are expected to apply for full years. The minimum period is 12 months (*except doctoral candidates pursuing specialist degrees in medicine or dentistry) starting in 2023. 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.

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 2022. 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 2023 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), 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, 2022. Note that you must apply for the study right in the January 2023 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 Aava application form 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 application period will open on 29th of August 2022 and close on 16th of September 2022 at 23.59 (local Helsinki time). Mandatory attachments for all applicants are: copy of your degree diploma, CV, and research plan.

In order to be eligible for evaluation a Confirmation of Supervision* AND a Recommendation Letter ** of the supervisory arrangements must be completed in English and submitted in good time and prior to the deadlines. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Doctoral candidates pursuing specialist training in medicine or dentistry and applying for 6-month positions are expected to supplement the application with the Letter of Commitment*** indicating how the doctoral training period will be integrated with clinical work.

*NB1:

If you do not yet have study right in DPBM, you must provide a signed letter of commitment from the supervisors and coordinating academic. Link to confirmation of supervision document. More details in the admissions for study right page.

**NB2:

The recommendation letter must be completed by the primary supervisor in separate e-form by September 19th, 2022 at 12:00 noon EEST (link to e-form). It is the applicant's own responsibility to ask the supervisor to send a recommendation letter via e-form. Deadline for the recommendation letter is 19.9.2022 at 12.00 (local Helsinki time). The recommendation letters need to written in English. Recommendation letters are not accepted after the deadline.

***NB3: Letter of Commitment (only for applicants pursuing for specialist degree in medicine or dentistry):

Letter_of_Commitment (pdf)

 

Please note that an applicant may apply for a UH-funded doctoral candidate position from a maximum of two doctoral programmes within DSHealth (decision by DSHealth board 23.3.2015). If an applicant has submitted more than two applications, the two latest will be considered and reviewed.

If you have applied for a salaried positions for two doctoral programmes in Doctoral School in Health Sciences: 

  • If you are offered a position from a doctoral programme that was selected as your first preference (primary application), your second preference will be automatically canceled, and your application will not be evaluated in your second preference 
  • If you are offered a position in both doctoral programmes, your second preference will be automatically canceled 
  • If you are offered a position in a doctoral programme that was selected as your second preference, and you are on the waitlist for your first preference, you can not wait for the free position from your first preference 

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

 

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%)

STEP 2: Critical Thinking Performance task

Top candidates are selected based on external evaluator scores. Top candidates are invited to to a performance task in mid October 2022. Performance task evaluates 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.

 

Final score would be formed based on EP panel evaluations of written applications and the scores from the performance task.

Decisions will be expected by the end of November 2022.

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

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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