Fixed-term Doctoral Candidate positions starting in 2019

The call is open September 14-27, 2018

University of Helsinki allocates funding to doctoral programmes for salaried doctoral candidate positions. The doctoral candidates selected for the positions shall be hired for full-time employment for the duration of 1-4 years, with the aim that the doctoral degree shall be completed within the duration of the employment. 

The doctoral candidates selected for the positions are employed by and carry out their research in one of the University’s faculties or independent institutes. The doctoral candidates are hired for full-time positions with the aim of completing their doctoral degree in four years.


 You can apply for doctoral candidate positions on a fixed-term employment contract if  

  1. You have an active right to study for a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and have not received UH-funded doctoral candidate position for 4 years, or
  2. You have not yet been granted the right to study for a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki but match the profile of one of the doctoral programmes and meet the eligibility criteria for the right to study for a doctoral degree, see instructions at As the right to study for a doctoral degree is a precondition for beginning employment in a doctoral candidate position funded by the University, you must apply for the right to study for a doctoral degree in addition to applying for the fixed-term doctoral candidate position.


All applications for doctoral candidate positions must be submitted using an online electronic form. The same form can be used for applying for the right to study for a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki.  

To access the form and read the general instructions for applying, please visit

The application period opens on 14 September 2018 at 9:00 a.m. EEST and closes on 27 September 2018 at 3.00 p.m. EEST

Before starting to fill in the form be sure to familiarise yourself also with the doctoral programme specific terms and instructions updated on this page.

Programme-specific application instructions

The Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind (B&M) is based on a multidisciplinary network of leading neuroscience research groups at the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. The doctoral candidates have a background in medicine, biosciences, psychology, cognitive sciences, humanities, technology or physics and chemistry.

Research and doctoral training in the B&M includes the following fields of science:

  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Excitability, synaptic transmission, and neuronal networks
  • Disorders of the nervous system
  • Sensory and motor systems
  • Neuroimmunology, neuroendocrine systems and sleep
  • Cognition and behavior
  • Systems and computational neuroscience


You can apply for the salaried positions of the B&M if 

  1. You have the doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, or
  2. You have an MSc, MD or equivalent degree and apply for the doctoral study right simultaneously with the salaried position on the same form, or
  3. You have not graduated yet, but have all the studies and thesis completed for the MSc, MD or equivalent degree, and apply for the doctoral study right simultaneously with the salaried position on the same form. In this case, the degree should be completed and obtained before the starting date of the employment and the relevant certificates/diplomas submitted to the University of Helsinki no later than 14.2.2019.

Su­per­visor con­sent

The 'Confirmation of Supervision' form must be completed by the primary supervisor in the Aava application system by October 1st. The Aava system will automatically send an email notification to the email address provided in the application form for the primary supervisor. 

Lan­guage of the ap­plic­a­tion

Prefarably, please use the English application form. However, if you choose to complete the application form in Finnish or Swedish, please note that the research proposal must be written in English.

Eval­u­ation pro­cess

The applicants are evaluated based on their written applications by an external evaluation panel. Shortlisted applicants are invited to an interview. B&M board makes the final decisions based on grades from both written applications and interviews. 

B&M-spe­cific eval­u­ation cri­teria

External panel will use the following criteria when evaluating the applications:

  • Motivation and CV of the applicant, success in previous studies
  • Demonstration of adequate knowledge in relevant fields and potential of the applicant to develop into an independent researcher
  • Scientific relevance and ambition of the research plan, use of relevant methodology
  • Thematic fit of the research plan with the doctoral programme profile
  • Feasibility of the thesis project within the intended timeframe (net time 4 years)
  • Supervisory arrangements, quality of the research environment


Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed. The interviews will be arranged on November 14th in Helsinki or through Skype. The invitations to interviews will be sent by November 5th. The language used in the interviews is English.

Length of employment

The length of the salaried positions is 1-4-years of full time work, depending on the stage of the doctoral candidate.

Exception for doctoral candidates enrolled in specialist training in medicine or dentistry
Applicants pursuing for specialist degree in medicine or dentistry can apply for positions of 6-48 months , where the applicant is expected to commit to full time doctoral training for a six months period and to specialist clinical training for the remaining six months of the same calendar year. These applicants are requested to fill in the 'Letter of Commitment' (template below) indicating how the doctoral training period will be integrated with clinical work. Collect the requested information and signatures, scan and attach the letter as a pdf file to your Aava application by September 27, 2018 at 15:00 (UTC+3).



Please note that an applicant may apply for a UH-funded doctoral candidate position from a maximum of two doctoral programmes within DSHealth (desicion by DSHealth board 23.3.2015). If an applicant has submitted more than two applications, the two latest will be considered and reviewed.

The B&M doctoral candidates are encouraged to work abroad in another laboratory or in an international scientific collaboration project. B&M offers travel grants for this purpose as well as for attending high quality laboratory courses abroad. The travel grants are also be available for international conferences where research results are presented as a poster or oral presentation.

University of Helsinki / Chancellor's travel grants for B&M doctoral candidates

Travel grant applications have to be filled on a special e-form. The deadline for applying for the B&M Chancellor's travel grants is February 21, 2018. The grantees will be selected by the B&M Board. 
If another application period for travel grants is opened later in 2018, this will be informed by email to B&M students.
Below are the guidelines used for the Chancellor's travel grants. 
Payment instructions (to be used after the grant decision).

1. Amount of the Chancellor's travel grant 

  • Max one Chancellor's travel grant / doctoral candidate 
  • For international courses/congresses in Europe max 800€
  • For international courses/congresses outside Europe max 1500€
  • For lab visits related to doctoral thesis worki max 1500€/applicant

2. The use of the Chancellor's travel grant 

  • The grant can be used to cover travel costs, such as transportation and accommodation costs and registration fees
  • Dates of the trip should be within February 2018 - January 2019

3. Purpose of the Chancellor's travel grant 

  • The Chancellor's travel grant can be applied for the following purposes:

3.1. Travel grant for a conference or practical course abroad

  • In the case of conferences either an oral or poster (1st author) presentation is required
  • The grants are allocated on the basis of the relevance of the course or meeting for the applicant

3.2. Travel grant for a research visit to a collaborating laboratory abroad

  • An invitation letter of the hosting laboratory or a short recommendation letter from the supervisor is required 

3.3. Travel grant for visiting potential postdoc laboratories abroad

  • It is highly recommended that the applicant visits more than one potential postdoc laboratory during the same trip
  • An invitation letter of the hosting laboratory or a short recommendation letter from the supervisor is required. 


Other travel grants


Other ways of funding a PhD project are:

  1. a salary/grant paid by the supervisor through his/her research project funding. Many research groups have project funding from e.g. Academy of Finland, Tekes, ERC, foundations, etc. and can hire doctoral candidates.
  2. a personal grant from a private foundation applied by the doctoral candidate him/herself. You can apply for funding from several Finnish or foreign foundations:
  3. Doctoral candidates may also fund their studies themselves or pursue their degree in tandem with work.

More information about funding →