Apply for the HCAS Core Fellowship

The Helsinki Collegium selects fellows through a competitive and international application process. The 2024 Core Fellowship call opens in mid-August 2024 and closes in mid-September 2024 (exact dates TBA soon). Please read the instructions for applicants carefully (see below) before submitting your application. The link to the electronic recruitment form can also be found below.
Instructions for applicants, 2024 Core Fellowship
Link to the electronic recruitment system
Instructions for evaluators, 2024 Core Fellowship
General Information

The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies was established in 2001 as an independent institute of the University of Helsinki to enhance scholarly excellence in the humanities and social sciences, promote interaction between different fields of academic research, and to further international academic cooperation. The Collegium’s fellowships are open to researchers in the humanities, social sciences, educational sciences, theology, and law, and to researchers in other fields focusing on topics related to the human sciences. The applicant’s doctoral degree must have been conferred by the application deadline.

The Collegium appoints fellows at various stages in their academic careers and from different disciplines, but has no fixed quotas for seniority, discipline, nationality or gender. The Collegium is committed to promoting equality and preventing discrimination.

Applications must be prepared in accordance with the specified instructions (see link above). Successful applicants should provide evidence of their ability to work in an international, interdisciplinary research environment and of their ability to publish at a high international level. In the application documents, applicants must also indicate how they plan to participate in the interdisciplinary cooperation central for the Collegium as an institute of advanced study. Relevant evidence may be provided by reference to publications, academic activities or participation in research projects or posts at research institutes, or in the research proposal itself. Planned or existing cooperation with researchers of the University of Helsinki may be explained in the letter of motivation, in which the applicants are asked to explain why the University of Helsinki is a suitable environment for their research.

The Collegium does not consider research plans that propose to rewrite the applicant’s PhD thesis as a book. The Collegium will not grant two consecutive funding periods to one researcher. If an applicant has been at the Collegium before, at least five years must have passed after the previous fellowship term, and the applicant must justify why they ought to be accepted for another funding period.

Application Process

Please consult the instructions for applicants (above) for more detailed advice! 

Please combine all required attachments, including your CV, into a single PDF document in the order indicated below, title this document as Surname_application and upload it in the application system. The CV should be uploaded also as a separate document.

All the below listed attachments need to enclosed into one single PDF file titled Surname_application.

Abstract of the research proposal

The maximum length of the abstract is 4000 characters, including spaces. The number of characters used must be indicated at the end of the abstract. The abstract must contain:
• The applicant’s name and academic degree
• The title of the research project
• A brief description of the research project, indicating the aim, primary research material, methods and the relevance of the project

Please state the project’s research question and aims briefly in the abstract. The relevant fields of research, ranked in order of importance, must also be included in the abstract. Applicants are advised to pay special attention to the abstract of their research proposal, as this will play an important role in the selection process.

Curriculum vitae

The curriculum vitae (maximum of 8000 characters including spaces) must contain, at the least, the following information:
• Personal data and academic education
• Posts and positions of primary importance
• Research allocations and grants during the past five years
• The applicant’s most significant expert assignments and elected positions in the academic world
• The applicant’s most significant scholarly honours and prizes
• The applicant’s language proficiency, especially when significant to the completion of the research

A template for the curriculum vitae can be found on the webpage of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity.

List of publications

The list of publications should be a maximum of 8000 characters (including spaces). The applicant should indicate his or her five most significant publications with an asterisk in the margin.

Peer-reviewed scientific articles should be listed separately from non-refereed scientific articles. Any publications intended for a general audience should be listed separately from academic publications. Theses (doctoral dissertations) should be listed separately from other publications. Non-English titles of articles and books must be translated into English. If desired, applicants may also provide the address of a website containing a complete list of their publications. The length of the articles (i.e., the page numbers) must appear in the list of publications. Every page of the list of publications must indicate the applicant’s name.

For a model, please see the Academy of Finland instructions.

Doctoral diploma (post-doctoral researchers only)

The official diploma of the applicant’s PhD degree should be submitted as a pdf file.

Research proposal

The maximum length of the research proposal is 12,000 characters (including spaces), excluding the bibliography. The number of characters used must be indicated at the end of the proposal.

The research proposal must indicate the following in this order:
• The relevance of the research within a broader academic context
• The problem statement as well as the research design
• The current state and schedule of the applicant’s research project
• The interdisciplinary potential of the research: the most important national and international cooperation partners, interdisciplinary cooperation, and the assumed significance of the research results for interdisciplinary research cooperation
• Work abroad during the funding period, if any, including an estimate of the period of absence as a percentage and its timing
• A publishing plan for the research results, especially for publications aimed at an international audience
• Issues concerning research ethics, if relevant
• In the case that the applicant has been at the Collegium before, a justification of why the applicant should be accepted for another funding period

Each page of the research proposal must indicate the applicant’s name.

Applicants are reminded that the evaluators who assess the applications represent several different fields. For this reason, the research proposal must be clear to evaluators outside the applicant’s own discipline.

Letter of motivation

The maximum length of the letter of motivation is 8000 characters including spaces. The number of characters used must be indicated at the end of the letter. Applicants are asked to explain why the Collegium would be an ideal place for the proposed research project and how it would benefit from cooperation at the University of Helsinki. In the letter, applicants may also describe their career plans, including possible plans for further funding.

Applications should be submitted via the electronic application form and complemented with the attachments listed above. All attachments must be saved as one pdf document and named applicants surname_application (e.g. smith_application.pdf).

The applicants need to select three most important fields of research regarding their proposal. This information is used in the assignment of evaluators for each application.

Applicants must indicate the stage of their research career. The options are “early career”, “mid-career”, and “full professor”. Early career refers to the period of five years following the completion of a doctoral degree, excluding family leave and equivalent periods. Mid-career refers to a position equivalent to that of a Finnish university lecturer or docent. Applicants holding fixed-term professorships should also indicate their stage as mid-career. Full professor refers to the position of a permanent professorship. The applicants’ merits will be evaluated relative to their indicated level of seniority. When determining the salary for fellows at the Collegium, the job titles corresponding to the three levels of seniority are post-doctoral researcher, university researcher and research director. For the purposes of the employment contract, the seniority level of successful applicants will be determined together with the director of the Collegium in accordance with the University of Helsinki’s guidelines.

Research directors (full professors) will be appointed for 6 or 12 months; university resarchers (mid-career) will be appointed for a period of one to two years, and post-doctoral researchers (early career) will be appointed for a period of one to three years. The applicant must indicate the preferred length of the research period in the application form.

Supplementary funding needed for research expenses must be specified in case the research requires exceptionally expensive equipment or frequent travel. Please note that by appointing a candidate, the Collegium does not guarantee that such expenses will be covered.

Information about the applicant’s gender is for statistical purposes only. As this information has no influence on the application procedure, applicants may leave this section blank if they wish. Information about the applicant's nationality is also for statistical purposes. Again, this information has no influence on the application process.

Please see instructions for using the recruitment system:

Evaluation criteria

The criteria for the evaluation of applications are the scientific merits of the research proposal, the theoretical and methodological framework (innovativeness and significance from the perspective of multidisciplinary potential and/or a specific research field), the feasibility of the research proposal, the applicant’s scholarly merits in relation to the career stage, and the suitability of the research proposal for the Collegium and the University of Helsinki. The instructions given to the evaluators are available online on the Collegium’s website.

Selection process

Applications received by the deadline and meeting the formal requirements (doctoral degree conferred by the deadline, suitable field of research, required attachments following the guidelines stated above) will be evaluated in two stages. In the first round, professors and docents of the University of Helsinkiwill select a maximum of 50 applications based on the applicants’ CV, list of publications, abstract and letter of motivation. In the second round, the full application will be reviewed by two international experts.

The director will make the final decision on the appointments based on the scientific evaluation and the Executive Board’s statement. Applicants will be informed by email. The decision will be published on the Collegium website.

Further information is available by email from

Do I have to have established contacts with the University of Helsinki before I can apply?

No. However, in the motivation letter you can explain whether you plan to collaborate with researchers, research groups or projects based at the University of Helsinki. Most importantly, the letter should indicate why the Helsinki Collegium is well suited for the proposed research project.

Can I apply again even if my application was rejected?

Yes you can.

Can I apply again after my HCAS fellowship period ends?

We do not grant direct extensions to the fellowships even if you apply with a new research proposal. After a research period elsewhere, our alumni are welcome to reapply.

How should I present my publication plan in the research proposal?

Be as detailed as possible in terms of where, what, and how many articles/publications you intend to produce. At the same time, try to be realistic. If your publication plan is particularly ambitious, you have to be able to convince the evaluators of your ability to carry out the plan.

Can I include illustrations or diagrams in my research proposal?

Yes, you can. One illustration or diagram counts as one character.

Does the HCAS have any disciplinary quotas?

No, but disciplinary considerations do play a role at the very last stage of the selection process.

I just realized I have made a mistake in my application. Can I resend it?

You may edit your application during the application period, but please note, we do not accept changes or updates to your application after the application period is over.

Can I update my application after the application period has ended?

If you wish to inform us of developments relating to your career progress (significant publication contracts, promotions, significant grants etc.) during the evaluation process, you may do so by contacting us at We will relate that information to the evaluators, but we will not update your application materials.

I have just received another fellowship that overlaps with my appointment at HCAS. Can I postpone the HCAS fellowship?