Mobility since PhD completion is required
Researchers need a wide range of experience from working in different research environments to be able to increase their independence. By working in different kinds of research groups or in other research-related positions, researchers can further strengthen their personal networks and improve their chances of securing research positions or other expert tasks. For today’s researchers, it is also important to be able to acquire new methodological skills and adopt new means of communicating with people with different backgrounds. Wide-ranging expertise can help to increase the impact of research and promote science renewal, which are among the Academy of Finland’s most important strategic objectives in addition to improving scientific quality.
As of the September 2016 call, applicants for funding for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher and Academy Research Fellow will be required to apply for funding for a post in a research environment other than the one in which they worked while completing their doctoral thesis. Here, ‘research environment' refers to the local research community or group in which the researcher works.
Applicants may also apply for a post located in the same research environment, provided that they have at least six months of work experience from some other organisation after PhD completion. The six-month requirement must have been met by the end of the call deadline. In connection with the Academy’s September 2016 call, however, the requirement must have been fulfilled by the end of March 2017. The Academy will follow these schedules now as the new requirements enter into force for the first time.
The following cases are regarded as working somewhere else:
- all research work that has been performed in an organisation other than the one at which the applicants worked on their doctoral thesis
- work that has been performed in an organisation other than a research organisation and that supports the applicant’s research.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. To whom does the mobility requirement apply?
The requirement is automatically met if the applicant applies for funding for a research post in a new research environment.
If the application concerns the same research environment where the applicant worked while completing their doctoral degree, the applicant must have at least six months of research experience from another research environment or research-supporting experience from another sector since PhD completion. The experience may have been gained over several spells; the two longest spells must equal at least six months.
2. To whom does the requirement not apply?
The mobility requirement does not apply to those applying for funding for a research post a research environment other than the one at which they completed their doctoral thesis – in other words, it does not apply to applicants who are changing research environments.
In addition, the requirement does not apply to postdoctoral researchers hired with other Academy funding (such as those hired within Academy Projects). It of course does not apply to those who have worked somewhere else for at least six months since PhD completion.
In very exceptional cases, the Academy may make an exception for individual applicants. For instance, an exception can be made in the case of severe illness (either the applicant’s or a close relative’s) that significantly impedes the applicant’s mobility.
In these exceptional situations, applicants must get in touch with the contact person at the Academy before submitting the application. The contact persons are named in the call text.
3. What counts as a different research environment?
Here, ‘research environment' refers to the local research community or group in which the researcher works. The research environment is often located within a single organisation, but it may also extend to several organisations. A single site of research (university, research institute, etc.) may include more than one research environment. This means that it is possible to change research environments within the same site.
4. What does ‘working somewhere else’ mean?
The key criterion is that if the applicant will continue at their former site of research, they must have gained experience from outside their previous research environment. The experience may have been gained in Finland or abroad.
The six-month requirement may be fulfilled by, for instance, working in another research team, institute or association, in administration, the business sector or an occupation that is legitimately linked to the proposed research or that contributes to promoting the research career.
Work somewhere else can also refer to working on a grant or through some other arrangement in some other environment than the physical research environment that the application concerns. For example, applicants may have worked at a foreign university with funding from their own university. Working in a collegium of researchers may also be eligible as work somewhere else if the researcher in question has changed work communities.The requirement is also met if a person changes to an entirely different research team within the same university.
The funding source of the six-month work period is irrelevant.
5. What is required from those who are applying for a post in the same research environment in which they worked while writing their dissertation?
In their applications, applicants must give an account of their work experience since PhD completion. It is essential that applicants have gained experience of working outside their previous research environment.
6. Must the applicant have had an employment contract to the organisation at which the work experience was gained?
No, that is not a requirement. This means that working on a grant, for instance, may count towards the required six months.
7. When must the six months have been completed? What must I do to prove it?
The required mobility period of at least six months must have been completed after the PhD certificate was issued (and by the end of September). The work may have been performed over several spells. However, the two longest spells must equal at least six months.
In the September 2016 call, we will exceptionally also take into account work that can be proven with an invitation. The invitation must be presented to us before the call closes. The invitation is submitted as an appendix to the application. Applicants who are basing their application on mobility that will take place between 29 September 2016 and 31 March 2017 will be asked to provide a work certificate, and the certificate must be added to the application no later than 31 March 2017. The six-month mobility period must have been completed by 31 March 2017, too.
8. How will part-time work be taken into account?
Part-time employment will count towards the required mobility period of six months. For example, if the researcher has worked on a 50 per cent contract, the total work period must cover twelve months.
9. Would I be eligible to apply if I started my funding period by visiting another university but if the site of research (which manages the funding) were the same research environment where I completed my PhD?
If you are applying for funding to the same research environment in which you worked while completing your PhD, we will require that you meet the mobility requirement by 31 March 2017. Plans for future mobility will not affect eligibility to apply.