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). 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.

B&M-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.

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 2022. (Thus, if your study right has started before December 2019, please indicate the career breaks in the application form).

OR

  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 2022 application period (1.-15.9.2022) or in January 2023 at the latest. In this case, please read carefully the instructions for doctoral study right applicants.

OR

  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 31.12.2022. 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 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.

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.

An signed approval of supervisor(s) and the coordinating professor mentioned in the application must be attached to the applications.

 

Duration

The doctoral programme offers 1-4-year positions. 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. 

*Exception: 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. Supplement your application with the "Letter of Commitment" indicating how the doctoral training period will be integrated with clinical work. Collect the requested information and signatures, scan and attach the letter as a pdf file to your application before the application deadline. 

Please apply for a position using the electronic application form (the link to the form will be available here during the application period). The application period will open on 29 August 2022 and close on 16 September 2022 at 23.59 (local Helsinki time / EEST).

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 an applicant may apply for a UH-funded doctoral candidate position from a maximum of two doctoral programmes within Doctoral School in Health Sciences (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 apply 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 further 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. 
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.

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 (27/28/31 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 B&M Board will make the final ranking list for a proposal of UH-funded positions.
The decisions are announced by the beginning of December 2022.

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

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