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 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.
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.

ILS doctoral programme specific instructions for the Autumn 2022 call

ILS (Doctoral Programme in Integrative Life Science) is an international doctoral program providing structured training in life sciences areas requiring multidisciplinary skills and capability engage in multiprofessional cooperation. The Life Science areas in Finland share a strong component of multidisciplinary approaches bridging research in basic biosciences, computational sciences and medicine. The research groups affiliated in ILS represent the highest quality life science research in Helsinki. Their research interests cover nearly all aspects of modern life sciences ranging from molecular medicine and developmental biology to biophysics and systems biology. The integrative aspect of research may occur on various levels: versatile approaches to the research question, different levels of complexity (e.g. molecular, cellular, tissue level), or diversity of methodology used.

ILS them­atic research areas:

  • Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Developmental Biology and Physiology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
  • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology

You can find ILS degree structure in the Instructions for students (select ILS 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 of full time work and the length of the employment contract is determined by the stage of the applicant's doctoral thesis. Only full years may be applied.

You can apply for the salaried positions in ILS if: 

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

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.-15.9.2021) 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, your Master’s thesis must graded at the time of the application AND 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 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 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.

In order to be eligible for evaluation a Recommendation letter* AND, if applicable, a signed supporting statement/commitment (pdf)** of the supervisory arrangements must be completed in English and submitted in good time and prior to the deadlines. Please note the ILS-specific instructions for the confirmation of supervision –statement. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

*NB1: 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.

ILS-specific questions to the supervisor’s commitment letter:

  • Please indicate in the supervision letter the current and planned funding for the thesis project (obtained and planned grants)
  • How is the day-to-day supervision organized?
  • How will the research environment support the proposed research?

**NB2: If you do not have the doctoral study right yet, please include a signed supporting statement/commitment (pdf, find below) of the supervisory arrangements (1-3 supervisors and coordinating academic) to your application in Aava. The requirements for the supervisors and the coordinating academic are listed on the ILS admissions website. The deadline for submitting the attachment is the same as the deadline of the application, September 16th, 2022, at 23:59.

The supporting statement/commitment form (pdf)

NB3: 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 and write all parts of the application in English. Other applications will not be considered.

In ILS, the applicants are evaluated based on their written applications by an external panel (EP). Top candidates are invited to an interview. ILS board makes the final decisions based on grades from both written applications and interviews. The decisions are made blinded so that EP members do not see the grades from other members and the board members do not see the names of the applicants while making the final decisions.

Please note, that the research question must represent fundamental research in one or more of the scientific fields covered by ILS:

  • Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Developmental Biology and Physiology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
  • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology

The integrative aspect of research may occur on various levels: versatile approaches to the research question, different levels of complexity (e.g. molecular, cellular, tissue level), or diversity of methodology used.

STEP 1: Written applications

External panel will use the following criteria when evaluating the written applications:

  • Fit to the program (PASS/FAIL)
  • Success in previous studies and research merits (weight: 40%)
  • Feasibility and quality of research plan and its scientific significance; integrative aspect of the proposed research project (the integrative aspect of research may occur on various levels: versatile approaches to the research question, different levels of complexity (e.g. molecular, cellular, tissue level), or diversity of methodology used) (weight: 40%)
  • Motivation and potential of the applicant to develop into an independent researcher (weight: 10%)
  • Quality of the research environment and supervision arrangements (weight: 10%)

STEP 2: Interviews

Top applicants are selected based on the individual scores given by the evaluation panel members. Top applicants will be interviewed in late October 2022. The exact date of the interviews will be updated on this website in autumn 2022. The invitations to interviews will be sent by email before the interviews.

The interview is structured so that it is the same for each applicant. Each applicant presents an elevator pitch (1 minute presentation) of their topic and is then asked questions regarding their research proposal and motivation. The interview lasts 10 minutes.

The ILS Board will make the final decision based on ranking from the evaluating panel.

Top applicants will be interviewed in late October 2022. The exact date of the interviews will be updated on this website in autumn 2022. The invitations to interviews will be sent by email before the interviews.

The interview is structured so that it is the same for each applicant. Each applicant presents an elevator pitch (1 minute presentation) of their topic and is then asked questions regarding their research proposal and motivation. The interview lasts 10 minutes.

De­cision on salary po­s­i­tions start­ing in 2022

Proposal for UH-funded doctoral candidate positions starting in 2022

Doctoral Programme in Integrative Life Science (ILS) received 76 eligible applications for the University of Helsinki -funded doctoral candidate positions starting in January 2022. The applications were evaluated by external evaluators representing all ILS research areas. The selection procedure was based on the application and on an interview of short-listed candidates Based on the evaluation results, the following proposal was made by the ILS Board on November 2nd, 2021. The host institution of the doctoral candidate makes the funding decision.

The names of the doctoral candidates recommended for funding are given below in alphabetical order. 

  • Ilse Kaaja (Outi Kilpivaara group), 4 years
  • Muktai Kuwalekar (Claudius Kratochwil group), 4 years
  • Inam Liaqat (Kari Vaahtomeri group), 3 years
  • Kirsten Nowlan (Eliisa Kekäläinen group), 3 years
  • Lauri Pulkkinen (Sarah Butcher group), 1 year
  • Pieti Pällijeff (Anu Wartiovaara group), 4 years

The decisions for the Research Foundation (Tiedesäätiö) and sustainable development positions will be given by the dedicated panels in the beginning of December.

The decisions for doctoral study right applications will be given by the Faculty in question by the beginning of December.

Susanna Fagerholm, Director               Liisa Uotila, PhD, Planning officer
               

 

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