The call for doctoral candidate positions with university funding will open on this page.
Salaried positions and another funding options
The University of Helsinki (UH) annually allocates funding to doctoral programmes for salaried positions (employment contract). These doctoral candidate positions are designated as full-time work. The aim is that doctoral candidates employed by the University will pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree, which should be completed within four years.
In 2020, the application period for salaried positions is 1–15 September. The call for applications, published on the open positions page of the University of Helsinki, includes further details on the employment relationship. Both current University of Helsinki doctoral candidates and new applicants planning doctoral studies are eligible to apply for these positions.
The right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree can be applied for at the same time as a salaried position.
Please read the application instructions below carefully. If you are also planning to apply for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree, remember to read the application process in a nutshell.
Employment contracts for salaried positions in doctoral programmes
Salaried doctoral candidate positions are aimed at enabling full-time work on dissertations and postgraduate studies, with the goal of completing a doctoral degree in four years. The exact duration of employment, its’ start and end dates are determined in the employment contract.
The salary and other further details concerning the employment relationship are available in the call for applications.
Who is eligible to apply for a salaried position in a doctoral programme?
You can apply for a salaried position in a doctoral programme if you are currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki or are planning to pursue a doctoral degree.
If you already have post-graduate study rights at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for a salaried position, provided you have not yet spent a total of four years with a UH funded salaried doctoral candidate salary.
If you do not yet have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree, you may apply for post-graduate study rights on the same application form as the salaried positions. In this case, please read carefully the application process in a nutshell.
Applying for a salaried position
Applications for a salaried position in a doctoral programme are submitted by completing an electronic form and enclosing the required attachments.
If you already have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and you are applying for a salaried position in your doctoral programme:
- Read the application instructions regarding salaried positions
- Complete the electronic application form
If you do not yet have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you must apply for the right at the same time as you apply for a salaried position or in the spring at the latest . Please note that this may result in your employment beginning later than 1 January 2021. According to the guidelines of the University of Helsinki, individuals recruited to salaried doctoral candidate positions must receive post-graduate study rights within the six-month trial period of the position.
If you are applying for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the same time as applying for a salaried position:
- Read the application instructions regarding salaried positions
- Read the instructions regarding applying for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree
- Complete the electronic application form
- Submit the required attachments (degree diploma, transcript of studies, proof of language proficiency)
If you already have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you may apply for a salaried position from another doctoral programme that suits your research profile. If you receive a salaried position from another doctoral programme, you will need to change your doctoral programme. Please note that you may need to reapply for post-graduate study rights if your faculty or target degree change in relation to an awarded salaried position. This application should be made in the spring at the latest, but please note that this may affect the start date of your potential employment.
If you are applying for a salaried position in more than one doctoral programme, please complete a separate application form for each one.
Similarly, if you are applying for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree from more than one faculty, please complete a separate application form for each one.
Further information on applying for a salaried position and the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree can be found from the doctoral programme web pages.
The application form calls for information on your research and study plan, skills that support writing a doctoral dissertation, the title and abstract of your master’s thesis, as well as details on your supervisory arrangements (in the case of certain doctoral programmes).
The research plan is the most important part of your application, and it must be entered into the specified fields in the application form, divided into the sections described below. Please prepare your research plan according to this division and the maximum number of characters including spaces for each section. More specific information can be found below and the application form is open for approximately two weeks before the call.
The application form sections concerning the research plan (maximum number of characters including spaces in parentheses):
- Preliminary title of the doctoral thesis
- Field of research (menu)
- Specification or additional information on the field of research (unrestricted text field)
- Brief summary of the research plan (2,000)
- Research plan contains mathematical special characters or chemical formulas
- Motivation for conducting doctoral research (2,000)
- Rationale for the research project (2,000)
- Objectives of the research and scientific impact of research results (2,000)
- Research methods and materials to be used and its significance for the research project (3,500)
- Preliminary plan on the collection, use and storage of research material (1,500)
- Ethical issues (1,000)
- Does the research project require animal testing
- The most important literature references for the research plan (2,500)
- Form of the dissertation (article-based or monograph)
- Publication plan and timetable for the articles or a preliminary outline of the monograph (1,000)
- Preliminary timetable of your research (2,000)
- Planned funding for the research project including received and applied notable funding thus far (1,000)
- Estimated year of graduation
Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project and study plan (maximum number of characters, including spaces in parentheses):
- Previously acquired research knowledge (1,500)
- Possible previous publications and conference presentations (1,500)
- Possible international experience and other work experience relevant to your doctoral research (1,500)
- Possible career breaks (1,500)
Preliminary study plan (maximum number of characters, including spaces in parentheses)
- Preliminary study plan: Discipline-specific studies, 30 ECTS (1,500)
- Preliminary study plan: Transferable skills, 10 ECTS (1,500)
- Previously completed studies applicable to your doctoral degree, if any
- Title and abstract of the master’s thesis or equivalent (750)
- Supervisory arrangements: supervisor(s) and thesis committee (see doctoral programme-specific instructions below)
Assessment of applications and decisions
Salaried position applications are assessed based on the quality of the research and study plans, abilities and motivation of the applicant as demonstrated in conjunction with completing a previous degree or in another manner, as well as supervisory arrangements or their availability. The topic of the research plan must suit the profile of the doctoral programme. Interviews for short-listed applicants may be arranged.
The board of the doctoral programme makes a proposal regarding appointment of doctoral candidate salaried positions. The director of the relevant employment unit makes the final decision on the appointments.
If you are offered a salaried position, you must receive the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree in the relevant doctoral programme within the six-month trial period.
All applicants will be personally notified of the decisions, and the names of appointees will be published on the doctoral programme websites.
Please note that applications for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree are processed according to a different schedule by the responsible Faculty. The relevant faculty makes decisions regarding study rights and applicants are personally notified in a separate notification to salary positions.
Please apply for a position using the electronic application form for salaried positions. The application period will be open from 1 September 2020 and closes on 15 September 2020 at 15.00 (local Helsinki time).
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.
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
For B&M degree requirements, please visit the B&M Courses and events page.
The B&M doctoral candidates have a background in medicine, biosciences, psychology, cognitive sciences, humanities, technology or physics and chemistry.
The doctoral programme is offering 1-4-year positions, starting in January 2021. The salaried positions are for 1-4-years (*clinicians 6-48 months) of full time work and the length of the employment contract is determined by the stage of the applicant's doctoral thesis.
*Exception for doctoral candidates enrolled in specialist training in medicine or dentistry: Applicants pursuing a specialist degree in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine can apply for half of a UH-funded position (6 months/year). The applicants are expected to commit to full time (100%) doctoral training for a 6-month period and to specialist clinical training for the remaining six months of the same calendar year.
You can apply for the salaried positions of the B&M if
- You have the doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, or
- 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
- You can apply for the position if you have not yet graduated. A relevant academic degree (MSc, MD or equivalent) in a field suitable for thesis project must be completed and obtained before December 31, 2020. Note that you must apply for the study right in the February 2021 call of the doctoral program and that you must receive the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki within the 6-month trial period of the employment.
Please note that the Aava application form requires you to upload a copy of your degree diploma (MSc, MD or equivalent). If you have not yet obtained the degree diploma, you can upload an official transcript of your studies thus far.
Please apply for a position using the AAVA electronic application form. When applying for a funded position, please use the English application form and write all parts of the application in English.
The application period will open on 1 September 2020 and close on 15 September 2020 at 15.00 (local Helsinki time). In order to be eligible for evaluation, the AAVA application form, a Confirmation of Supervision* and, when applicable, a Letter of Commitment** must be completed in English and submitted in good time and prior to the deadlines. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
*NB1: The Confirmation of Supervision including the supervisor’s statement regarding the applicant must be completed in English by the primary supervisor in Aava by September 17, 2020. The Aava system will automatically send an email notification to the email address provided on the application form for the primary supervisor.
**NB2: Doctoral candidates enrolled in specialist training in medicine or dentistry are expected to supplement the application with the Letter of Commitment 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 15, 2020 at 3.00 p.m. EEST.
Letter of Commitment (only for applicants pursuing for specialist degree in medicine or dentistry):
NB3: Please note that an applicant may apply for a UH-funded doctoral candidate position from a maximum of two doctoral programmes within DSHealth (decision by DSHealth board 23.3.2015). If an applicant has submitted more than two applications, the two latest will be considered and reviewed.
Evaluation and selection process
- External evaluation panel includes a wide pool of evaluators from different disciplines and universities.
- Each application is reviewed by three different evaluators (with no conflict of interest to applicants).
- Each evaluator individually ranks the applications scoring them 1-5.
Evaluation panel will use the following criteria when evaluating the applications (weight %):
a) suitability of previous studies, b) success in previous studies (applicant’s stage of doctoral training is considered), c) motivation
|Novelty, originality and feasibility of the research proposal||40%|
|Research environment and supervisor’s statement||20%|
4. Shortlisting the applications for interviews
Ranking list of applicants will be made based on the individual scores given by the evaluation panel members. Applicants with a final score of >4 (or a maximum of 9 applicants with highest scores / three times the number of available positions) will be invited for an interview. A reserve list is used in case more interviews are needed.
5. Interview of shortlisted applicants
Top applicants will be interviewed to verify the applicants’ understanding of the research proposal and to identify the most promising researchers. The shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by the B&M Board Members (with no conflict of interest) during November 4 or 5 in Helsinki or online in Zoom. The invitations to interviews will be sent by the end of October. The language used in the interviews is English. The B&M Board will not see the scoring/ranking made by the evaluation panel until they have (individually) scored the interviewed applicants. The Board makes the final ranking list for a proposal of UH-funded positions.
The decisions are announced by the beginning of December 2020.
- email@example.com (questions regarding the study right application process)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (questions regarding the UH-funded positions)
- Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind (questions regarding the B&M degree requirements and other programme-specific questions)
- Doctoral School in Health Sciences (DSHealth)
Other ways of funding a PhD project are:
- 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.
- 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: www.aurora-tietokanta.fi.
- Doctoral candidates may also fund their studies themselves or pursue their degree in tandem with work.