Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships 2019 - Call for Expressions of Interest

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry invites expressions of interest to apply for Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Individual Fellowship (IF) with University of Helsinki as the host organisation.

The call is aimed at for individual, trans-national fellowships awarded to the best or most promising researchers of any nationality, for employment in EU Member States or Associated Countries.

We invite potential candidates who envisage the University of Helsinki as their host institution to be part of our application support program:

  • Potential candidates will be selected by the Faculty PIs (see below) and invited to a MSCA-IF workshop in Helsinki in May - early June (date to be announced later).
  • Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry will reimburse travel and accommodation costs of the selected candidates.
  • Selected candidates will receive further support and coaching in the application process by experienced advisors until the IF submission deadline on the 11th of September 2019.

Why to choose the University of Helsinki for your career?

University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. It is the only Finnish university to consistently rank in the top 100 of international university rankings. University operates on four campuses in Helsinki and at nine other locations. International researchers choose the University of Helsinki for its excellent reputation and high level of research and teaching. The research funding, honours and prizes awarded to our researchers are an indication of the University’s high standing among the global scientific community.

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is located in Viikki campus, the largest Life Science Campus in Finland, and is a community of high-quality forward-looking experts in the responsible use of renewable resources both in Finland and globally. The sustainable use of natural resources has a central role in solving major future challenges, such as climate change and ecosystem degradation, resource scarcity, energy production, sufficient and safe food production for a growing population, ageing, and urbanization. Our disciplines range from agricultural, food, forest, and environmental sciences to economics and management covering broadly multiple areas relevant to bioeconomy. The Faculty aims to be a cutting-edge research and learning environment that attracts students, researchers and partners from all over the world. Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki was ranked number 32 in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking in 2018. Agricultural Sciences, including food and plant sciences, were ranked number 30 in the National Taiwan University (NTU) ranking, whereas University’s Forest Sciences was ranked number 4 by the Center for World University Rankings.

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Principal Investigators interested in hosting MSC Researchers

Agricultural Sciences

Professor Paula Elomaa

Asteraceae Developmental Biology and Secondary Metabolism

  • gene regulatory networks involved in Asteraceae inflorescence development
  • hormonal signaling and cell-cell communication during inflorescence development

Docent, University Lecturer Iryna Herzon


  • biodiversity on farmland including ecosystem service assessments
  • organic production and deployment of agroecological methods

Associate Professor Timo Hytönen

Strawberry Research

  • molecular networks controlling climate adaptation in the Rosaceae model species woodland strawberry
  • regulation of vegetative and generative reproduction of woodland strawberry

Docent, University Lecturer Fred Stoddard

Crop Science

  • faba bean and other grain legumes in cropping and food systems
  • genomic tools for faba bean breeding and phenotyping of responses to abiotic stresses

Economics and Management

Professor Marko Lindroos

Environmental and Resource Economics

  • economics of the interaction of society and environment, environmental issues and problems, and nature conservation
  • market failures and sustainable utilization of natural resources

Food and Nutrition

Assistant Professor Kirsi Mikkonen

Food Materials Science

  • plant-based raw materials and industrial side streams to develop structure and functionality in food and packaging
  • global challenges related to natural resources, food stability, and healthy food ingredients

Docent, University Lecturer Anne-Maria Pajari

Nutrition Science

  • alternative protein sources and their potential health benefits
  • diet and colorectal cancer

Professor Vieno Piironen

Food Quality and Safety

  • bioactive compounds of the dietary fibre complex and  natural enhancement of vitamins in foods
  • lipids and their reactions and utilization of micro algae and antinutrients in legumes

Forest Sciences

Professor Fred Asiegbu

Forest Pathology

  • ecological, molecular and biochemical pathways required by emerging fungal and forest pathogen infections
  • basal mechanisms of infection resistance of forest trees

Docent, University Lecturer Päivi Lyytikäinen-Saarenmaa

Forest Health

  • plant/herbivore interactions and insect-induced growth losses and mortality of trees
  • ecological niche modelling on climate change driven distribution shifts of forest pests


Academy Researcher Jenni Hultman

Arctic Microbial Ecology

  • the function and activity of microbial communities in subarctic soils
  • metagenomic analysis of microbial communities in soils along a natural climate gradient in the scandinavian sub-arctic

Docent, University Lecturer Kristiina Mäkinen

Plant Virology

  • molecular mechanisms underlying Potato virus A (PVA) infection


MSCA IF eligibility criteria

MSCA IF grant usually covers two years' salary, a mobility allowance, research costs and overheads for the host institution. Individual researchers submit proposals for funding in liaison with their planned host organisation. Proposals are judged on their research quality, the researcher's future career prospects, and the support offered by the host organisation. All domains of research and technological development are eligible for funding.

  • The researcher may be of any nationality. No age restrictions apply.
  • The researcher must be, at the date of the call deadline, in possession of a doctoral degree or has at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience.
  • The researcher cannot have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the beneficiary (Finland) for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the call deadline (relaxed rule in EF multidisciplinary panels CAR, RI).
  • Only one proposal per researcher may be submitted to IF call.
  • The 2019 IF call is not open yet, but it will be similar to the 2018 call.
  • Further information on MSCA-IF

How to apply?

EoI applications should include the following:

Results of this call will be announced in the week commencing 29th of April 2019.

Please note: You are sending an Expression of Interest to apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship in cooperation with one of the supervisors at the Faculty. This is not an application for an open position at the University of Helsinki.