FIMM-EMBL International PhD Programme

The next annual call for applications for the FIMM-EMBL International PhD positions in the fields of Molecular Medicine, Bioinformatics, and Artifical Intelligence will be open in 2021.  

Outstanding PhD students will be selected by group leaders and coordinators and recruited to the institute-level rotation programme. They will work with 2-3 different research groups during a 6-9 month period, prior to selecting a research group in which to remain for their complete PhD studies. This program provides an exciting opportunity to explore different research topics and working environments as well as learn a variety of science and technologies, making connections within and beyond the institute.  

In the research areas of bioinformatics and computational systems biology and biomedicine, FIMM collaborates with Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT), a multi-disciplinary research institute focused on basic and applied research on information technology, based both at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University.

Detailed information regarding the participating institutes, positions, research areas, qualifications, and application and selection process can be found through FIMM’s Open Positions page when the call opens each January. Application deadline date is typically early February, and the positions begin in August.

FIMM EMBL PhD students

Meet the current and former FIMM-EMBL PhD students HERE!

Goals of FIMM-EMBL International PhD Program

The FIMM-EMBL International PhD program aims to recruit outstanding, international and Finnish PhD students, and provide them with diverse research training early in their academic careers. The FIMM-EMBL system is student-centered. With the aims of diversifying individual research training and building connections and collaborations within FIMM, this program provides students with the unique and exciting opportunity to explore different research areas and working environments, as well as experience a variety of science and technology and make connections within and beyond the institute.

Diverse, early-career training through research rotations

Students are recruited at the institute level and then select a research group after a rotational period. In this rotational period, PhD students engage in projects with two or three different research groups during a six- to nine- month period prior to selecting a group in which they remain for their PhD studies. Since the rotational period naturally lends itself to building collaborations and sparking interests that cross over research group boundaries, in the EMBL spirit, the FIMM-EMBL PhD students often become involved in collaborative projects. The program also provides training in both written and oral scientific communication in the form of rotation reports:  poster, scientific talk, and written research paper.

FIMM-EMBL rotation program 2

First year of study: rotations & selecting a group

With 2010 as the inaugural year, the FIMM-EMBL PhD program is currently in its 11th consecutive year of recruitment. Selection concludes in April, and in August the new FIMM-EMBL students begin at FIMM with three-four days of orientation. During these days, they learn about the institute and research training at FIMM and the University of Helsinki. They also complete their work-related paperwork and carry out any residency-related practical matters in Finland. On the second and third days, they meet with group leaders to discuss potential rotation projects and shadow the operations in the FIMM Technology Centre units to engage with state-of-the-art research technologies at the institute. Following the group leaders meetings, FIMM-EMBL students express their preferences for a first research rotation and are matched to a group for a period of three months (September-November). Students begin the rotation project immediately and are fully integrated into the research group. During the last week of the rotation, they present their findings in the FIMM annual Student and Postdoc poster session.

Prior to the end of the first rotation, students express their preferences for a second rotation, which are discussed with the group leaders, and matching completed. In December, students begin a second three-month rotation. This second rotation culminates in a talk given to the institute as part of our biweekly, in-house research seminar series, FIMM Scientific Coffee Break.

Near the end of the second rotation, students select, in cooperation and mutual agreement with their rotation research mentor(s) and the FIMM coordinator of research training, a research group in which to complete their PhD studies. If a decision cannot be reached or the student would like to gain additional training and expertise in a particular area, a third three-month research rotation is encouraged. If this option is selected, the student submits a written report of his/her findings at the end of the third rotation and selects a research group at the conclusion of the third rotation.

Applying for a study right at the University of Helsinki

FIMM-EMBL PhD students apply to a faculty for the formal right to pursue the PhD degree, register in an appropriate doctoral programme in the Doctoral School in Health Sciences, after they have completed the rotational period, selected a research group, and planned and started their project, which altogether, typically takes approximately one year. More information on the study right calls can be found on the University of Helsinki website.

EMBL partnership & activities

During the training, FIMM-EMBL students also engage in courses, seminars, symposia, and meetings, including, e.g., joint annual meetings of the Nordic EMBL Partnership in early autumn each year. In this symposium PhD students, postdoctoral research fellows, and group leaders from all four of the Nordic EMBL nodes come together to present and discuss their research, core infrastructure, and technologies at the four Nordic nodes. In addition, all of the FIMM-EMBL and numerous other PhD students from FIMM participate in each autumn in the EMBL International PhD Symposium, an annual training session at the EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany) and are encouraged to to attend EMBL/EMBO courses and events. Furthermore, the exchange of PhD students among MIMS, NCMM, DANDRITE, and FIMM for training events, research visits, and short-term stays is encouraged. Funding for such international exchange currently exists through the Partnership. We aim for these international exchanges to be a strong component of PhD training at FIMM.

Nordic EMBL add short