Positions for Exceptional Doctoral Students (deadline 30 July, 2017)

Deadline: Mon, 31.07.2017, this call is closed

Positions for Exceptional Doctoral Students (deadline July 30, 2017)

The Helsinki Doctoral Education Network in Information and Communications Technology (HICT) is a collaborative doctoral education network hosted jointly by Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, the two leading universities within this area in Finland. The network involves at present over 60 professors and over 200 doctoral students, and the participating units graduate altogether more than 40 new doctors each year. The activities of HICT are structured along five research area specific tracks:

  • Algorithms and machine learning
  • Life science informatics
  • Networks, networked systems and services
  • Software and service engineering and systems
  • User centered and creative technologies

The quality of research and education in both HICT universities is world-class, but the education is still practically free as there are no tuition fees for doctoral students in the Finnish university system. Helsinki has been ranked among the world's top-10 most livable cities (Economist, 2016) and Finland has the highest standard of life in the world (Social Progress Imperative, 2016).

The purpose of the call is student-supervisor matching, and evaluation of the candidates so that the HICT supervisors can then offer funding to the most successful applicants. The supervising professors of HICT, whose research groups you can apply to join via this call, are listed at "http://www.hict.fi/supervisors”.

This call is for positions funded by the supervising professors directly, this is not a call for competitive positions funded by the departments or doctoral programmes. For students of University of Helsinki professors, there will be later a separate call for competitive funding. Hence if you already have a committed supervisor, there is no need to participate in this call (if you are an Aalto student, negotiate with your supervisor directly. If you are an UH student, you can apply in the call for competitive funding to be opened later, with a deadline of September 14, 2017.)


Application process

The HICT call in Summer 2017 (deadline July 30, 2017) is targeted for student-supervisor matching. If you wish to be considered as a potential new doctoral student in HICT, you can apply to a research group of any HICT supervisor. All group descriptions can be found through the list of HICT supervisors (www.hict.fi/supervisors).

The application form closes on Sunday 30th July 2017 at 00:00 (midnight) Finnish time, after which applications will be reviewed. Based on the results of the review, top candidates will be invited to interviews.

All the supervisors you indicate on your application form will be informed of your interest, and others also have access to your application documents. If your application will be considered strong enough, given the limited resources and intense competition, you will be contacted for a skype interview in August 2017.


When does the call close?

The application form closes on Sunday 30th July at 00:00 (midnight) Finnish time. Incomplete applications or applications arriving after the deadline will not be considered.


How are the applications submitted?

Applications need to be submitted through the online electronic form. Applications sent through any other means will not be processed.


What material is required in the application?

Note that there are compulsory information/attachments that you need to include in your application (all text documents to be provided in a single pdf file and named "lastname_firstname”.pdf).

Compulsory attachments:

  1. Motivation letter (1-2 pages). Please describe your background and future plans, and in particular the reasons for selecting the three potential supervisors (you can get more information on the participating supervisors through their web pages). Try to make your motivation letter as convincing as possible, so that at least one of the potential supervisors gets interested.
  1. A study transcript provided by the applicant's university that lists studies completed and grades achieved by the end of January 2017.
  1. A copy of the M.Sc. degree certificate. If the degree is still pending, then a plan for its completion must be provided. The degree must be completed by the time HICT funding commences.
  1. A curriculum vitae, describing education and employment history​​​ (1-3 pages)

Optional information:

Names, positions, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of 2-3 senior academic people available for providing recommendation letters upon request from HICT. We will contact you and the recommenders separately afterwards, if and when recommendation letters are required.


Problems with the application process?

First read all the material carefully, and if your problem is still unsolved, only then send email to hict-apply@hiit.fi




Who is eligible to apply?

Potential new doctoral students who are willing to start their doctoral studies in Aalto University or University of Helsinki under one of the HICT supervisors. In order to be successful in the call, the applicant needs to be an exceptional student. Although the number of positions is relatively high, we expect to receive hundreds of good applications, and the process is extremely competitive.

Current doctoral students in Aalto University or University of Helsinki cannot participate this call (for the UH doctoral students, there will be later a separate call for competitive funding.)

While all applicants who have submitted an application by the deadline will be appropriately considered, Aalto University and the University of Helsinki reserve the right to consider also other candidates for the announced positions.

In the Finnish university system, a person must have a Master's degree in order to enroll for doctoral studies. In case you wish to pursue graduate studies with a B.Sc. background, please apply first to one of the participating units' Master's programs: Aalto SCI, Aalto ELEC, University of Helsinki). In addition, English language proficiency certificate (TOEFL, IELTS, CAE/CPE) is required later in case you will proceed to the recruitment process and apply for doctoral study right. The universities participating in HICT have strict language skills requirements for doctoral students (Aalto University, University of Helsinki).


When does the funding period start?

The exact starting date can be negotiated between the student and the supervisor, but in terms of positions in Aalto University the recommendation is to start before December 2017. The student must have completed his/her M.Sc. degree by the time starting doctoral studies.

New students also need to go through the standard doctoral student enrollment process of the hosting university/school before the start of the funding period. The supervisors will help in this process, once the best candidates have been identified and linked to a supervisor.


How long is the funding period?

The maximum length of the funding period is four years (for starting doctoral students).


How much is the grant?

The exact amount of monthly salary depends on the stage of the doctoral studies and varies between 2,000 and 3,000 euros/month. The level of the salary is sufficient for a funded student to focus on his/her doctoral studies full-time, without need to resort to other sources of income.


What are the duties and benefits of a doctoral student?

Funded doctoral students are typically hired as full-time employees for the duration of their doctoral studies. The contract includes the normal occupational health benefits of the employing university, and Finland has a comprehensive social security system.

The annual total workload of research and teaching staff at Finnish universities is 1624 hours. In addition to doctoral studies, persons hired are expected to participate in the supervision of students and teaching following the standard practices of the recruiting unit.


Where are the doctoral studies to take place?

Physically the main work location is at the department of the supervisor: in case of the Aalto departments, these are located in the Otaniemi campus while the Department of Computer Science of University of Helsinki is located at the Kumpula Science Campus. The joint research institute HIIT that coordinates the activities of HICT operates on both campuses.

Both campuses are easily reachable from Helsinki city center by public transportation.

The distance between Otaniemi and Kumpula is only some 10 kilometers, and the participating departments collaborate frequently in research and education (in doctoral education through the HICT network). It is administratively very easy to incorporate courses from the other university as part of a doctoral degree in the other university. HICT will also organize joint seminars, lecture series, workshops and other events for its students.


If I come to study in Helsinki, do I need to learn Finnish?

No: the working environment of doctoral students is highly international, and the working language is English. You can normally also cope in English outside work as most Finns have a very good command of English.

More information for international applicants: