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.

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 criteria and other specifications to the common call

The Integrative Life Science (ILS) doctoral programme 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 that are strong in Finland include genetics, cell and developmental biology, cancer research, neuroscience and virology. These areas 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.

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 apply for the salaried positions of the 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 have not graduated yet, but have all the studies and thesis completed and graded 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.


The applicant can apply for a salaried doctoral candidate position from not more than two doctoral programmes within Doctoral School in Health Sciences.

Centre of Excellence applications

Applications to ILS can additionally be addressed to the Centre of Excellence in Centre of Excellence in Tumor Ge­net­ics Research

You can indicate this in the application form by filling in the Centre of Excellence for the 'Department or other unit in which the research will be carried out' (under the subtitle Supervision arrangements). Your application will then be evaluated in the usual manner by the board of the doctoral programme but also submitted for evaluation by the Centre of Excellence. The Centre of Excellence is entitled to make an independent proposal on the top candidate to be hired to work on their dissertation within the Centre. 

Supervisor consent

Note! The 'Confirmation of Supervision' must be completed by the primary supervisor in Aava by October 1st, 2018, at 16:00 (UTC+3). The Aava system will automatically send an email notification to the email address provided on the application form for the primary supervisor. 

Language of the application

Only applications in English may be evaluated.

Evaluation process

The applicants are evaluated based on their written applications by an external panel. 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
  • 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


Top applicants will be interviewed. The interviews will be arranged on November 13th. The The invitations to interviews will be sent by November 6th.




The ILS board has today decided to propose 6 applicants to be selected for the funded doctoral candidate positions starting in January 2018. The doctoral candidates were selected from the applicants in the open call organized during September 2017. The competition for the positions was tough. ILS received altogether 72 eligible applications. 5 applicants were selected for the University of Helsinki-funded doctoral candidate positions based on the evaluation. In addition, one applicant was selected for a University of Helsinki Science Foundation funded position. 

The selected students in alphabetical order (List updated 7.12.2017)

Brief description of the selection procedure
The applications were evaluated independently in their submitted form by a 7-member evaluation panel invited by the ILS board. The members of the panel were selected to represent different research areas of ILS. Six of the members are group leaders in the University of Helsinki equally representing Viikki and Meilahti campuses. None of the members had students from their own research groups applying for the positions. In addition, one professor level evaluator was invited from another university in Finland.

The evaluators scored the applications based on the selection criteria published in the call text. The 21 highest ranking applicants were then invited for an interview where they were ranked again independently of the evaluation results and a similar scoring was applied. Finally, the rankings from both evaluation and interview were combined for final ranking.

The ILS board decided to recommend admissions according to the final ranking by the external evaluation panel.

The Evaluation and Interview Panel

  • Juha Huiskonen, University of Helsinki
  • Ville Mustonen, University of Helsinki
  • Juha Klefström, University of Helsinki
  • Nicolas Di-Poi, University of Helsinki
  • David Fewer, University of Helsinki
  • Marc Baumann, University of Helsinki
  • Cecilia Sahlgren, Åbo Academi University

All members invited in the evaluation panel were external to the board. Conflicts of interest were realized such as direct personal relationship, immediate history of supervising relationship, scientific collaboration relevant to the PhD-project of the applicant, or joint publications including patent applications. In these cases the panel members did not participate in the evaluation, interview or discussion. This ensured an open and straightforward working atmosphere for the panel.

For any questions regarding the admissions please don't hesitate to contact the program coordinator


ILS invites applications for competitive travel grants from registered doctoral candidates in the program. Grants can be applied for scientific meetings, thesis-related lab visits and postdoctoral interviews. The grants are available for trips taking place during the year 2018 (02/18 – 01/19) to cover travel costs such as registration fees, travel and accommodation.

The Next Deadline for applications is February 21st, 2018 at 15.45. Application form opens February 1st at 8.00.



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
  • The maximum amount of the grant is 800€ for travels in Europe and 1500€ overseas (US, Asia)

Travel grant for a research visit to collaborating laboratory abroad

  • For lab visits an emphasis is given to the benefit of the lab visit for the progress of the thesis work.
  • After closing the call, potential grantees will be contacted by e-mail and asked for the invitation letter of the hosting laboratory, and a short recommendation letter from the supervisor
  • The maximum amount of the grant is 1500 € world wide

Travel grant for visiting potential post doc laboratories abroad

  • It is highly recommended that the applicant is planning to visit more than one potential post doc laboratory during the same trip
  • After closing the call, potential grantees will be contacted by e-mail and asked for the invitation letter of the hosting laboratory
  • The maximum amount of the grant is 800 € for travels in Europe and 1500 € overseas (US, Asia)

General instructions:

  • Maximum of one travel grant per year per doctoral candidate
  • The grant cannot be applied for a trip that has already been completed.
  • The travels are made following the University of Helsinki instructions for travel.
  • The grant can be awarded only to applicants of the doctoral programme who have registered at UH for the academic year valid for the trip dates.
  • If there are no special grounds, the travel grant has to be used for the travel for which it has been applied, and for which it based on a certain application has been awarded. If necessary, the doctoral programme can approve the use of the travel grant to another travel abroad similar to the original one.
  • Successful completion of the previous year’s thesis committee meeting is a prerequisite for application eligibility (not applicable for first year students),
  • Payment instructions



  • All applications for one call period will be reviewed after the deadline
  • The relevance of the meeting, type of participation, and possible previous ILS travel support will be considered.
  • Late submissions will not be considered
  • Applications must be submitted prior to the thesis defense

If you have any questions about the travel grants please contact