Visiting Scholar Programme

The University of Helsinki’s Ruralia Institute Visiting Scholars Programme is an opportunity for experienced scholars with experience in multidisciplinary rural research to visit the Ruralia Institute for a month, supported during their stay by a grant.

The Visiting Scholars Programme offers experienced scholars in the field of rural studies an opportunity to spend one month with a multidisciplinary team of researchers and to contribute to the knowledge base of the Ruralia Institute. This collaboration is expected to lead to the preparation and execution of joint activities such as publications and research projects.

The Ruralia Institute has two units, one located at Seinäjoki in western Finland and the other at Mikkeli in eastern Finland.  Applicants are free to choose either of these units in accordance with their research interests. The Ruralia Institute will support the stay with a scholarship of 2800 euros per month.

Visiting Scholars 2023-2024:

Marie Mahon, University of Galway
Derya Nizam, Izmir University of Economics
Gvantsa Salukvadze, Tbilisi State University
Rike Stotten, University of Innsbruck

The call for academic year 2024–2025 scholarship applications is open from 1 March until 30 April 2024.

Fast Facts
  • Eligibility: Scholars holding a PhD degree in a field relevant to the research profile of the Ruralia Institute residing outside Finland.
  • Duration: One month during the academic year (September – June).
  • Conditions: Visiting Scholars are expected to take part in the academic activities of the Ruralia Institute’s research community and to give presentations in both units on their own research.
  • Amount of the scholarship: € 2800 per month.
  • Working conditions: Visiting Scholars will be provided with office facilities and the general services of the University of Helsinki.
The Scholarship

Applications in English should be sent as a single PDF file to and must comprise:

  • a motivation letter, including an activity plan describing the fields of research in the Ruralia Institute that are of interest to the applicant and demonstrating how the scholarship will advance the applicant’s co-operation with the Institute (max. 2 pages)
  • a recent CV (max. 4 pages)
  • a list of ten selected key publications

Applications will be evaluated by the executive board of the Ruralia Institute. Successful applicants will be informed personally of their selection. Key factors in the selection process will be the relevance of the proposed topic to the Institute’s research profile, and the potential for cooperation between the applicant and the Institute’s academic staff. Applications received after the deadline will not be evaluated. An applicant may receive the scholarship only once.

The names of the selected Scholars will be published on the Ruralia Institute’s website.

As the scholarship is a grant and not a salary, it is classified as tax-free income in Finland. Consequently, visiting scholars are not employees of the University of Helsinki and do not have any staff benefits such as insurance or occupational health care. Visiting Scholars are required to arrange their own health, medical and other insurance and will be required to prove that their insurances are valid throughout their stay in this capacity.

For useful links to sites giving information on living in Seinäjoki, Mikkeli and Finland in general, please consult

More about the Ruralia Institute
More about the University of Helsinki

Both units of the Ruralia Institute belong to the university consortium of their home town.

Mikkeli, Lönnrotinkatu 7

Seinäjoki, Kampusranta 9


Scholars are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses. There is a local train from Helsinki airport to Tikkurila for connections with long-distance trains to Mikkeli and Seinäjoki. For schedules and tickets, see VR.

For more about connections from the airport, see Finavia.


We recommend that you check the available apartments to be rented from Airbnb in Mikkeli and Seinäjoki.

In Mikkeli, we also recommend to check the student accommodation service MOAS that provides short-term housing.


Eeva Uusitalo


Visiting Scholar Alumni Videos and Blogs

Ruralia institute has hosted 38 researchers over the past decade
from all around the globe: Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, and

How was their experience in Ruralia institute, and what did they do during their visit here? Watch the videos below!

Alumni (2020-2021)

Wojciech Goszczynski

Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland




Katarzyna Zwalinska

Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Alumni (2019-2020)

Geran-Marko Miletić

Insitute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Croatia

Read his story




PhD Raili Nugin
Tallinn University, Estonia

Read her story




Katarzyna Andrejuk
Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Alumni (2018-2019)

Dr. Liga Paula

Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia





Dr. Petr Jehlicka
The Open University, UK


Dr. Hannah Chiswell
CCRI University of Gloucestershire, UK


Alumni (2017-2018)

Dr. Sara Walton 
University of Otago, New Zealand






Dr. Elize Van Eeden
Norh-West University, South Africa






Dr. Samantha Hillyard
Durham University, UK





Professor Richard Yarwood
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences Plymouth University, UK
Dementia, Welfare and Citizenship in Rural Places

Dr. Adam Czarnecki
Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Successful second-home tourism: Efficient and inclusive community governance models

Dr. Francisco Navarro
University of Granada, Spain
Transnational cooperation projects in neoendogenous rural development actions

Alumni (2016-2017)

Dr. Gun Lidestav 
SLU, Umeå, Sweden






Dr. Murray Knuttila 
Brock University, Canada 
Is the Family Farm and Endangered Species? Implications for Rural Men.





Dr. Ruta Spiewak 
Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development, Poland
Food cooperatives: between local initiatives and global social movement.





Dr. Ifigeneia Douvitsa 
Law school, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece 
Analysis of the Sources of Public International Cooperative Law, with an emphasis on Case Law.

Alumni (2015-2016)

Örjan Furtenback
Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Umeå, Sweden
Where should we allocate new forest reserves? Regional welfare impacts of different allocation rules.

Marie Mahon    
Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
The role of the arts, culture and creativity in a rural context.

Alumni (2014-2015)

Agatha Herman
University of Reading, United Kingdom
Food politics and ethics
Read her story
Lif Rødtness Vesterby Knudsen
Technical University of Denmark, National Veterinary Institute, Copenhagen (Denmark) 
Postpartum uterine diseases in dairy cows
Read her story

Esther Muniz
University of Vallodolid, Spain
Renewal of agrifood law
Artur Steiner
Scotland's Rural College, United Kingdom
Social and economic aspects of rural life including evaluations of community-related interventions and grass-root initiatives.
Read his story

Kadri Ukrainski 
University of Tartu, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (Estonia)
The role of users (customers) as a source of innovation
Read her story

X. Lourdes Xavier Wilson
Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya College of Arts and Science (India)
Leveraging the Food Security through Cooperatives in Finland
Read his story

Alumni (2013-2014)

Francisco Diaz Bretones  
University of Granada (Spain)
Emerging Cooperatives and Corporate Social Responsibility
Read his story

Maria Letícia Galluzzi-Bizzo 
Universidade do Brasil (Brazil)
The international rural agenda of the 1930 - 1940s: The role of international organizations
Read her story

Agatha Herman
University of Reading, United Kingdom
Climate Change and Food Justice
Read her story
Colin R. Johnson
Indiana University, Department of Gender Studies, United States
Sexual minorities in rural regions of Finland and the United States
Read his story

Egil Petter Straete
Centre for Rural Research, University Centre Dragvoll, Trondheim, Norway
Food qualities as a basis for differentiation through innovation in food supply chains

Alumni (2012-2013)

Adrian Morley
Cardiff University, The ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability & Society (BRASS) (United Kingdom)
Sustainable food chains

Alexander Nikulin
Center for agrarian studies, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under President of Russian Federation, Moscow (Russia)
Sustainable rural communities in Russia

Julie Smith
Centre for Food Policy, City University London (United Kingdom)
Traditional food markets in Europe

Alumni (2011-2012)

Alexandra Franklin 
Places Research Institute (PLACE), Cardiff University (United Kingdom) 
Sustainable Place-Making: Building Rural Community Resilience

Katalin Kovács
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Regional Studies (Hungary)
Rural Governance and development in Finland and Hungary

David Watts
School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom)
 Hunting tourism in Northern Europe