Employment as a doctoral candidate

The call for doctoral candidate positions with university funding will open on this page.

Other ways of funding a PhD project is a salary paid by the supervisor or a personal grant from a private foundation applied by the doctoral candidate him/herself. Doctoral candidates may also fund their studies themselves or pursue their degree in tandem with work.

More information about funding at University of Helsinki Research funding website and at Instructions for Students website.

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

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 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).  

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

ILS (Doctoral Programme in Integrative Life Science) is an international doctoral program providing structured training in life sciences areas requiring multidisciplinary skills and capability engage in multiprofessional cooperation. The Life Science areas in Finland share a strong component of multidisciplinary approaches bridging research in basic biosciences, computational sciences and medicine. The research groups affiliated in ILS represent the highest quality life science research in Helsinki. Their research interests cover nearly all aspects of modern life sciences ranging from molecular medicine and developmental biology to biophysics and systems biology. The integrative aspect of research may occur on various levels: versatile approaches to the research question, different levels of complexity (e.g. molecular, cellular, tissue level), or diversity of methodology used.

ILS them­atic research areas

  • Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Developmental Biology and Physiology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
  • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology

You can find ILS degree structure on our webpage (pdf). For ILS events, please visit the ILS Courses and events page.

Dur­a­tion

The doctoral programme is offering 1-4-year positions, starting in January 2021. The salaried positions are for 1-4-years of full time work and the length of the employment contract is determined by the stage of the applicant's doctoral thesis. Only full years may be applied.

Eli­gib­il­ity

You can apply for the salaried positions in ILS 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. However, your Master’s thesis must graded at the time of the application AND a relevant academic degree (MSc, MD or equivalent) in a field suitable for thesis project must be completed and obtained before 31.12.2020. 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.

Ap­plic­a­tion and se­lec­tion pro­cess

Ap­plic­a­tion

Please apply for a position using the AAVA electronic application form.   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* must be completed in English and submitted in good time and prior to the deadlines. Please note the ILS-specific instructions for  the confirmation of supervision –statement. 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 by the primary supervisor in Aava Aava by September 17, 2020 at 23:59 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.

ILS-specific questions to the supervisor’s commitment letter

  • Please indicate in the supervision letter the current and planned funding for the thesis project (obtained and planned grants)
  • How is the day-to-day supervision organized?
  • How will the research environment support the proposed research?

NB2: 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 and write all parts of the application in English. Other applications will not be considered.

Se­lec­tion

In ILS, the applicants are evaluated based on their written applications by an external panel (EP). Top candidates are invited to an interview. ILS board makes the final decisions based on grades from both written applications and interviews. The decisions are made blinded so that EP members do not see the grades from other members and board members do not see the names of the applicants while making the final decisions.

ILS-spe­cific eval­u­ation cri­teria

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

  • Success in previous studies
  • Quality of research plan, its scientific significance and relevance to fundamental research in the scientific fields covered by ILS; integrative aspect of the proposed research project (the integrative aspect of research may occur on various levels: versatile approaches to the research question, different levels of complexity (e.g. molecular, cellular, tissue level), or diversity of methodology used)
  • Motivation and potential of the applicant to develop into an independent researcher
  • Feasibility of the research project, including quality of the research environment and supervision arrangements

In­ter­views

Top applicants will be interviewed. The interviews will be arranged in late October 2020. The invitations to interviews will be sent by email one week before the interviews. The interview date will be announced well in advance on this website.

Fur­ther infor­mation

 

Hakuohjeet 1.1.2021 alkaville palkkapaikoille. Suomenkielisen ohjeen sisältö on sama kuin englanninkielisen.

 

 

The ILS salary positions starting 2020 have been filled

Brief description of the selection procedure

In ILS, the evaluation of the applications is done by an external board (EP). The external board consists of 7 experts from the different fields of ILS, both from University of Helsinki and also external experts (from other universities in Finland). The EP is chosen by the ILS Board taking into consideration the scientific expertise of the members, the different research fields in ILS (so that all fields are represented) and also, the EP panel members are not allowed to have their own students applying that year. The EP does its work independently of the ILS board and there is no communication between the EP and ILS board. All the EP panel members read all the 68 applications and independently scored them. Conflict of interest for independent applications were also taken into account.

The criteria to use for evaluations were as follows:

  • Success in previous studies
  • Motivation and potential of the applicant to develop into an independent researcher
  • Scientific significance, potential and feasibility of proposed research project
  • Quality of research environment and supervision

The 26 top applicants based on EP scores for the written material were then interviewed by the EP. Also the interviews were scored by each evaluator individually and independently. Candidates got a separate score for the interview, and were ranked according to the sum of both written material and interview.

The ILS board made the final decisions based on scores from both written applications and interviews given by the external panel. The board made its decisions blinded so that board members did not see the names of the applicants while making the final decisions. In addition, only one ILS position per research group can be offered each year.

ILS salary positions starting 2020

Nicole Lamichane (supervisor Ville Hietakangas)
Julian Cruz Landoni (supervisor Anu Suomalainen-Wartiovaara)
Alina Malyutina (supervisor Jing Tang)
Vilma Väänänen (supervisor Jukka Jernvall)
Hossam Montaser (supervisor Timo Otonkoski)
Tianduanyi Wang (supervisor Tero Aittokallio)

For any questions regarding the admissions please don't hesitate to contact the program coordinator ils-office@helsinki.fi