Life at the Collegium

The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies provides its fellows excellent facilities to pursue their research in an intellectually stimulating and encouraging environment. The fellows have their offices in a peaceful yet centrally located building, which also houses the Collegium's Common Room, the center of various HCAS activities such as symposia, weekly seminars and coffee breaks.

The weekly Fellows’ Seminar (Tuesdays 10:15am - 11:45 pm) is the core of academic activities at HCAS. The seminar presentations give fellows the opportunity to present their ongoing research project to other fellows and to initiate an interdisciplinary conversation on methods, concepts and the theoretical premises of the project. We encourage fellows to present work in progress and to use the presentation as a chance to discuss a challenge they are currently tackling.

At the beginning of the academic year, new fellows are also invited to give shorter presentations of their research projects to the HCAS community.

The HCAS usually hosts several official symposia during the academic year. The symposia are interdisciplinary as well as international in nature, and they give fellows the opportunity to collaborate with each other and to invite researchers from other units of the University of Helsinki and from other universities to participate as co-organizers, speakers, session chairs and audience. The HCAS symposia receive funding as well as organizational support from HCAS.

In addition, the fellows may organize workshops, lectures as well as different kinds of small meetings even on an ad hoc principle. They are also encouraged to develop other forms of cooperation such as reading groups, and they may use the HCAS facilities for this purpose.

I can confirm, HCAS truly is a great place to rediscover your scholarly habits and to (re-)lay the foundations for a research programme.

The core fellows should be present at the Collegium 80% of the time of their employment at HCAS. In addition to focusing on their individual research projects, the fellows are expected to attend the weekly seminar meetings. The weekly fellows' seminar is the most important official forum for interdisciplinary exchange at HCAS, and each fellow gives at least one presentation at the seminar during the academic year.

Fellows are also expected to report their publications at the University of Helsinki TUHAT database and to mention their HCAS affiliation in publications, conferences and media appearances.

Core fellows have a 5% teaching requirement from the second year onward. The teaching is conducted within the faculties of the University of Helsinki. The fellows may also participate in the organization of the annual HCAS Winter School for doctoral students.

HCAS strives to be a scholarly community in which fellows have plenty of opportunities to meet and delve into conversation also outside the weekly seminar program. We organize informal lunches and coffee breaks that fellows are encouraged to attend when it suits their schedule. The academic year begins with an orientation week, which includes a social event outside the Collegium premises, and ends with a spring outing. We also organize receptions after seminars, informal get-togethers of fellows and gatherings open to family members. Fellows are also encouraged to use the Collegium spaces and internal communication channels to organize social meetings outside the official Collegium program. 

All our fellows have their offices in the Collegium building (Fabianinkatu 24) next to the main libraries of the University of Helsinki and at the heart of the central campus. The rooms are equipped with a computer, an office mobile phone, a desk and a chair, book shelves and a closet.

HCAS fellows can reserve rooms at HCAS for events and meetings linked to their research. The larger events are held in the Common Room, which is a convenient lounge-like space suitable both to seminar sessions and to lunches and conference receptions. The Common Room includes a kitchen, dining tables as well as an armchair area for coffee gatherings or quiet reading. The seminar section of the Common Room is equipped with contemporary conference technology, which enables live streaming and recording of events.

We also have a meeting room suitable for smaller seminars, meetings and online conferences.

HCAS fellows have full library privileges that give access to printed and electronic books, journals and other resources at the Helsinki University Library. The Collegium building is located right next to the Main Library of the University of Helsinki as well as the National Library of Finland, which is the oldest and largest scholarly library in Finland.

The academic year at HCAS begins at the beginning of September with an orientation week, during which new fellows are introduced to practices at the Collegium and to the University of Helsinki. The weekly seminar runs until mid-December and resumes in mid-January. The weekly seminars end in mid-May, but May and early June are often busy times at HCAS because of various conferences and symposia. The office is closed part of July due to staff vacations.