The University of Helsinki annually allocates funding to doctoral programmes for employing doctoral students in salaried employment relationships (salaried positions). These doctoral student positions are designated as full-time work. The aim is that doctoral students employed by the University will complete their degree in four years. 

In 2019 the application period is 3–17 September. Both current University of Helsinki doctoral students and new applicants planning doctoral studies are eligible to apply for these positions. The right to pursue a doctoral degree can be applied for at the same time as a salaried position.  The electronic application form will be available at the beginning of the application period.

NB. The 2019 call includes additional positions earmarked in particular for projects on artificial intelligence and AI solutions in all fields of science and scholarship. You can apply for these positions for a full 4-year period by filling in the extra fields reserved for the purpose in the electronic application form.  

Please read the application instructions below carefully.  If you are planning to also apply for the right to pursue a doctoral degree, remember to read the relevant instructions carefully at the application process in a nutshell.

The doctoral student’s employment relationship in a salaried position in a doctoral programme 

Doctoral student 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 and 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 student at the University of Helsinki or planning to pursue a doctoral degree. 

If you have already been granted the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for a salaried position, provided you have not yet spent a total of four years in the position of a salaried doctoral student. 

If you do not yet hold the right to pursue a doctoral degree, you can apply for the right with the same application. In that case, please carefully read the instructions pertaining to applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree. 

Applying for a salaried position 

Applications for an employment relationship 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 doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and you are applying for a salaried position in your doctoral programme:

  • Read the application instructions.
  • Complete the electronic application form.

 If you already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and you are applying for a salaried position in a doctoral programme other than your own, you have to reapply for the right to pursue a doctoral degree if the granting faculty or your target degree change. You can apply for the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the same time as applying for a salaried position or in the next application round of the relevant doctoral programme. Please note that applying in a later application round may impact the start date of your potential employment.

If you do not yet hold the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for the right at the same time as you apply for a salaried position or in the next application round of the relevant doctoral programme. Please note that applying in a later application round may impact the start date of your potential employment.

If you are applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the same time as applying for a salaried position:

  • Read the application instructions pertaining to salaried positions.
  • Read the instructions pertaining to applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree and submit the required attachments (degree diploma, transcript of studies, proof of language proficiency).
  • Complete the electronic application form.

Please also note that if you are applying for a salaried position and/or the right to pursue a doctoral degree in several doctoral programmes, you must complete a separate application form for each programme.

Further information on applying for a salaried position and the right to pursue a doctoral degree can be found under Frequently asked questions.

Application form

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 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. If your research plan contains mathematical symbols or chemical equations, you can enclose the plan as an attachment. Please prepare your research plan according to this division and the maximum number of characters for each section. 

The application form sections concerning the research plan (maximum number of characters in parentheses): 

  • Dissertation topic (preliminary title) 
  • Field of research(menu) 
  • Specification or additional information on the field of research (unrestricted text field) 
  • Language of dissertation
  • Other language skills needed for completing the doctoral dissertation
  • 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) 
  • (If applicable: Clarification of the research plan as far as it relates to Artificial Intelligence (2500))
  • The most important literature references for the research plan (2,500) 
  • Format 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 for your research (2,000)    
  • Planned funding for the research project including received and applied notable funding thus far (1,000)
  • Estimated year of public defence 

Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project and the study plan (CV) (maximum number of characters, spaces included):   

  • 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, spaces included) 

  • Preliminary study plan: Discipline-specific studies, 30 cr (1,500) 
  • Preliminary study plan: Transferable skills, 10 cr (1,500) 
  • Studies completed transferable to a doctoral degree, if any

Title and abstract of the master’s thesis or equivalent (750) 

Supervisory arrangements: supervisor(s) and thesis committee (see programme-specific instructions on the doctoral programme web pages).

Assessment of applications and decisions 

Applications are assessed based on the quality of the research plan, as well as the supervisory arrangements or their availability. Also assessed are the abilities and motivation demonstrated in conjunction with completing a previous degree or in another manner to complete a doctoral degree in accordance with a research plan and a supporting study plan. The topic of the research plan must suit the profile of the doctoral programme.  

The board of the doctoral programme makes a proposal on the doctoral students to be appointed to salaried positions. The decision on the appointments is made by the director of the relevant unit.

If you are offered a salaried position, you must receive the right to pursue a doctoral degree in the relevant doctoral programme within the six-month trial period for the position.

The names of the appointees will be published on the doctoral programme websites by 15.12.2019. All applicants will be personally notified of the decisions. 

Please apply for a position using the electronic application form. The application period will open on 3 September 2019 and close on 17 September 2019 at 15.00 (local Helsinki time).  

If you are unable to find an answer to a question in these instructions, please check Frequently asked questions . Further information can be requested by writing to phd-positions(at)helsinki.fi . 

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.  

TARGET GROUP

The B&M doctoral candidates have a background in medicine, biosciences, psychology, cognitive sciences, humanities, technology or physics and chemistry.

DURATION

The doctoral programme is offering 1-4-year positions, starting in January 2020. 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.

ELIGIBILITY

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 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, 2019. Note that you must apply for the study right in the February 2020 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.

APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS

APPLICATION

Please apply for a position using the AAVA electronic application form.  The application period will open on 3 September 2019 and close on 17 September 2019 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 20, 2019 at 4.00 p.m. EEST. 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 17, 2019 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.

When applying for a funded position, please use the English application form.

SELECTION

The applicants are evaluated based on their written applications by an external evaluation panel. Shortlisted applicants are invited to an interview. The decisions are announced by the beginning of December 2019.

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

In­ter­views

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed. The interviews will be arranged in November (tentative dates for the interview are 5.11. and 7.11.) in Helsinki or through Skype. The invitations to interviews will be sent by the end of October. The language used in the interviews is English.

FUR­THER INFOR­MATION

 

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: www.aurora-tietokanta.fi
  3. Doctoral candidates may also fund their studies themselves or pursue their degree in tandem with work.

More information about funding at the Instructions for students website.

 

More information and instruction about University of Helsinki and DSHealth travel grants are available at the Instructions for students website.