The University of Helsinki, founded in 1640, is one of the world’s leading universities for multidisciplinary research. The University of Helsinki has an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members, and it offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. The International Staff Services ( office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland. The Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme is situated at the Viikki science park and belongs to the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences of University of Helsinki.

The Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme (OEB) invites applications for a


in the field of molecular-based fungal community ecology for a fixed term of three years for a postdoctoral researcher or four years for a PhD student. There will be a trial period of six months in the beginning.

The postdoc / PhD student positions are part of the LIFEPLAN project funded by an ERC Synergy grant to Prof. Otso Ovaskainen at the University of Helsinki, Prof. Tomas Roslin at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden, and Prof. David Dunson at Duke University, USA. The starting date is 1 April 2020, but a later or earlier starting date can be negotiated.

The overarching aim of LIFEPLAN is to characterize biological diversity through a worldwide sampling program, and develop the bioinformatic and statistical approaches needed to make the most out of these data. We will generate the most ambitious, globally distributed and systematically collected data set to date on a broad range of taxonomical groups. For more information please visit our website (

The successful candidate will work with extensive global data on fungi sampled using DNA-based methods from air, soil and plant roots, with the aim of using the data to reconstruct global patterns in fungal community structure and to infer processes in fungal community assembly. For pilot data collected through air sampling, see Abrego et al. (2018) and Ovaskainen et al. (2020), and for methods used for taxonomic assignment of the sequences, see Abarenkov et al. (2018).

The candidate is expected to have some background in molecular methods and/or community ecology, and interest in fungal ecology and systematics.

For more information, contact prof. Otso Ovaskainen (otso.ovaskainen(at)

For a postdoctoral researcher, the salary of the successful candidate will be based on level 5 - 6 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The starting salary will be ca. 3300 - 3800 euros/month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience.

The salary for the doctoral candidate position is based on levels 2–4 of the job requirement scheme for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal work performance. Depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience, the salary is ca EUR 2200–3050 per month (starting salary EUR 2200-2400).

Applications should include the following documents as a single pdf file: motivational letter (max 1 page), CV (max 2 pages) and publication list. Include also contact information of two persons who can provide a reference letter upon request.

Please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the Apply for the position link. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application via the SAP HR portal. The deadline for submitting the application is 1 March 2020.

Abarenkov, K., Somervuo, P., Nilsson, H., Kirk, P., Huotari, T., Abrego, N. and Ovaskainen, O. 2018. PROTAX-fungi: a web-based tool for probabilistic taxonomic placement of fungal ITS sequences. New Phytologist 220, 517-525.

Abrego, N., Norros, V., Halme, P., Somervuo, P., Ali-Kovero, H. and Ovaskainen, O. 2018. Give me a sample of air and I will tell which species are found from your region – molecular identification of fungi from airborne spore samples. Molecular Ecology Resources 18, 511-524.

Ovaskainen,O., Abrego, N., Somervuo, P., Palorinne, I., Hardwick, B., Pitkänen, J.-M., Andrew, N. R., Niklaus, P. A, Schmidt, N. M., Seibold, S., Vogt, J., Zakharov, E. V., Hebert, P. D. N., Roslin, T. and Ivanova, N. V. 2020. Monitoring fungal communities with the Global Spore Sampling Project. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7, 511.

Due date

01.03.2020 23:59 EET