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). 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.

DPDR-specific application instructions for the Autumn 2022 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, clinic al 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 1-4-year positions, starting in January 2023. 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 for doctoral candidates enrolled in specialist training in medicine or dentistry: 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.

You can apply for the salaried positions of the DPDR if: 

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

OR

  1. You have an MSc, MD or equivalent degree AND apply for the doctoral study right during the September 2022 application period on Sep 1-15 (please note that you have to make a SEPARATE application for the study right, see instructions on the DPDR admissions page)

OR

  1. 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 before 31.1.2023. 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 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 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.

The applications coming to DPDR will be evaluated in three evaluation panels which are:

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

Please indicate at least two panels (in the order of preference) where you want your application to be evaluated in in the following field in the application form:Specification or additional information on the field of research. Please note that your application may be evaluated in another panel if it suits better your research topic.

In order to be eligible for evaluation the application form, a Recommendation Letter* and, when applicable, a Letter of Commitment** must be completed in English and submitted in good time and prior to the deadlines. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

*NB1: The Confirmation of Supervision including a recommendation letter must be completed by the primary supervisor in e-form by September 19, 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 the e-form. Recommendations must be done in English. Recommendations are not accepted after the deadline.

**NB2: Doctoral candidates enrolled in specialist training in medicine or dentistry are expected to supplement the 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 by September 16, 2022 at 23.59 EEST.

Letter of Commitment (pdf, only for applicants pursuing for specialist degree in medicine or dentistry)

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 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. 

When applying for a funded position, please use the English application form.

The applicants are evaluated based on their written applications by the three evaluation panels. Top candidates will be invited to participate in a performance assessment task in mid October (exact date will be updated in autumn 2022). Top candidates may also be interviewed. The language used in the task and the interviews is English. The final decisions will be announced by mid-November.

The following criteria will be used when evaluating the applications:

  • Quality of the research plan: clarity, originality, novelty, significance, feasibility, methodologies used 
  • Motivation and CV of the applicant, research hypothesis
  • The applicant’s performance in previous studies 
  • Previous research or progress in doctoral studies if already started  
  • The relevance of the application to the DPDR doctoral training profile
  • Recommendations by the supervisor, and other merits (if such exist) 
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