Spring application round for the doctoral programme pilot brings 171 new doctoral researchers to the University of Helsinki

More than 1,300 applications were submitted to 11 field-specific education pilots. Most of the admitted applicants will begin their studies this autumn, while the rest will begin in January 2025. A second round of applications will open in the autumn.

The admissions decisions have been made for the spring application round of the Ministry of Education and Culture–funded doctoral education pilot. A total of 133 doctoral researchers will begin their studies in the autumn and 38 in January 2025. There are 236 vacancies in total and the remaining vacancies will be decided on the basis of the August call for applications. 

The new doctoral researchers will occupy 11 field-specific education pilots. The admitted applicants are expected to complete their doctoral theses over a three-year period of employment. To begin with, the new doctoral researchers will study both researcher and career skills. Another goal of the doctoral education pilot is to increase doctoral graduates’ diverse employment in various sectors of society. 

Minna Palander-Collin, Director of the University of Helsinki Doctoral School, warmly welcomes all new doctoral researchers. 

“You are an important part of the University community. Research and the production of new knowledge constitute one of the core duties of the University, and the role of doctoral researchers in this is significant,” Palander-Collin notes.

Large-scale admissions procedure progressed smoothly

A total of 1,312 applications were submitted. Doctoral researchers are employees of the University, which is why the processing of such a large number of applications at one time, and at a rapid pace, presented a new challenge to both the University’s HR Services and the doctoral school. 

“We were pleased to see the application process go smoothly,” says Project Manager Jukka Hirvonen from the University of Helsinki’s HR Services.

Examples and experiences for the application arrangements of the doctoral education pilot were gathered from international academic partners. The applicants who passed the initial round completed a capability assessment, for which they received immediate feedback. 

Following the assessment, the applicants proceeded down one of two paths, depending on whether their doctoral research project had already a completed plan and supervisors, or was still at the idea stage. 

The completed plans underwent a scholarly assessment, in addition to which the doctoral programmes indicated by the applicants presented their assessments of the applicability of the research topics to the programmes for applicants who did not yet have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki. The field-specific education pilots also had the opportunity to comment on the applicants.

Attempts were made to identify suitable supervisors for the applicants who were successful in the capability assessment but only had an idea for their research project. In the summer, the applicants among this group still involved in the application process will draw up research plans with their supervisors, and their applications will undergo a scholarly assessment during the autumn.

A similar application procedure is planned for an application round in the autumn for over a hundred four-year doctoral researcher positions funded by the University’s doctoral school.

Detailed statistics on those admitted to the doctoral education pilot will be published on the doctoral school website.  

Doctoral education pilot

The doctoral education pilot is a project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The admitted applicants are expected to complete their doctoral theses over a three-year period of employment. The aim of the pilot is to extensively develop good practices in doctoral education, such as thesis committee operations and supervision support.

Most of the applicants admitted in the spring application round will begin their studies at the University of Helsinki in autumn 2024. Prospective doctoral researchers can seek a place among those beginning their studies in January in a supplementary application round to be held in August. The application round opens on 27 August.