- The funding is applied for by a university or by a consortium of several universities and/or other research organisations in a specific research field.
- The funding can only be granted for costs incurred at universities.
- The funding is applied for to cover the costs of field-specific pilots, mainly consisting of the recruitment of doctoral researchers for a fixed term (3 years) in pilot projects that will test new methods of researcher training. Funding can also be granted to cover the costs arising from supervising doctoral researchers.
- The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture is prepared to fund a total of 200 new doctoral researchers (no prior doctoral study right) within this call.
Before you log in to the online services (SARA) to fill in the application, carefully read the call text below.
If the translated English version of the call text is in conflict with the Finnish call text, the Finnish version should always be considered primary.
Read the full call text on this page.
Between 2024 and 2027, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture will fund a pilot programme to test new practices in doctoral education in Finland. The programme will start in 2024, and the doctoral researchers are expected to graduate in 3–4 years.
- increase the number of PhDs in Finland, taking into account the supply of new knowledge
- test a more flexible process for doctoral education
- increase the mobility of doctoral researchers between universities, companies, research institutes and other organisations and encourage new PhDs to pursue diverse research careers
- provide information on doctoral training processes and collect data on the possible need for regulation of third-cycle studies
- develop guidance practices and the integration of scientific and artistic postgraduate studies with previous studies (incl. the possibility to complete a master’s degree during doctoral studies)
- increase the employment of PhDs in a wide range of sectors in society.
The doctoral education pilot programme is an expansion of the doctoral training funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in 2024–2027 and implemented by Finnish universities. The programme will fund up to 1,000 new fixed-term doctoral researcher positions and part of the related supervision.
A field-specific pilot project is a doctoral education scheme implemented by one or more universities and/or other research organisations in a specific field of research, in which doctoral researchers are recruited for a fixed term of three years.
R&D expenditure refers to expenditure that can be recorded as R&D expenditure as defined in the official statistics on research and development published annually by Statistics Finland.
The funding is granted for a fixed term. The funding is applied for by a university or by a consortium of several universities and/or other research organisations in a specific research field. Universities will define the type of research or artistic activity that can be included in the doctoral thesis required for the doctoral degree.
The costs of other research organisations cannot be covered from funding granted to a field-specific pilot project. Other research organisations can participate in the pilot project, for example by funding employed doctoral researchers, by contributing to dissertation supervision or by providing research infrastructure.
The consortium application is submitted by the coordinating university on behalf of the whole consortium.
A consortium application is an application built around a joint doctoral education plan for a specific research field. Consortium compositions cannot be changed after the call deadline.
The application is started by a responsible person approved by the university. The completed application is submitted by the person via the Research Council of Finland’s online services.
The responsible person can authorise one or several persons to read or edit an incomplete application in the online services. The authorisation is given on the tab ‘Authorisation’ in the online services. Please note that the authorisation is valid only when the call is open.
The funding period starts on 1 August 2024 or 1 January 2025. The duration of an individual field-specific pilot project is either three or three and a half years. However, the maximum employment of an individual doctoral researcher hired with the funding is three years.
The funding is intended to cover the salaries of around 200 full-time doctoral researchers and the supervision and research costs related to their doctoral dissertations.
The funding to be distributed through this call depends on the Finnish Parliament’s decision to allocate the necessary funds to the Research Council of Finland in the 2024 state budget.
The funding is awarded to a Finnish university and must be used for the costs described in the submitted plan.
In the application, provide a cost estimate including an estimate of the annual amount of funding needed, itemised by type of expenditure. The cost estimate must be realistic.
- The average annual salary, supervision and research costs for one doctoral researcher are estimated at 85,000 euros.
- The application may include justified additional supervision costs.
- The funding can only cover costs that can be accounted for as R&D expenditure.
What is required from the site of research?
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture requires that participating universities and other organisations guarantee the usual basic facilities for the implementation of the project, enabling doctoral researchers to obtain their doctorates in 3–4 years.
How to submit and supplement the application
The deadline is non-negotiable. We will not consider (process) an application that has not been submitted by deadline. The deadline for applications is 29 November 2023 at 16.15 Finnish time.
The application is submitted by a competent person appointed by the university. The consortium application is submitted by a competent person from the coordinating university on behalf of the whole consortium.
Make sure to submit the application in good time before the deadline. The system will only accept applications that contain all obligatory information.
You can edit and supplement the application until the deadline. You can make changes to a submitted application (e.g. change appendices), but you must make them before the deadline.
If you notice that your application lacks important information after the deadline, immediately get in touch with the call’s contact person, so that they can reopen the application for you. Make sure to re-submit the application after you have supplemented it. We will consider the supplemented information if it is possible in view of the review and decision-making process.
We may ask you to supplement the application. The request for supplementation will be sent to you by email. If you do not supplement the application by the given deadline, or if the application is substantially incomplete even after a request for supplementary information, we may decide to dismiss it (i.e. it will not be processed). You must make sure that your contact details (email address) are up to date.
How the application becomes pending
According to section 17 of the Finnish Administrative Procedure Act and section 8 of the Act on Electronic Services and Communication in the Public Sector, the sender is responsible for the application arriving by the set deadline.
An application becomes pending when the online application and the obligatory appendices have been submitted in the online services. The system will confirm a successful submission by sending an email to the address you have provided.
Publicity and data protection
After the funding decisions have been made, the application and its appendices become public documents. This publicity is based on the Finnish Act on the Openness of Government Activities.
The Research Council of Finland is committed to following regulations on data protection. The applicant is responsible for the disclosure of the personal data contained in the application and, where appropriate, for requesting the consent of the parties concerned.
The GDPR-compliant privacy statement concerning the research funding process is available on our website under Data protection.
The application consists of forms completed in the online services and a PDF appendix.
As an applicant, you have the right to submit your application in Finnish or Swedish, but we ask that you to submit it in English to facilitate the international review.
The online application contains the following parts
Details on competent person
- Personal details
Site of research
Consortium parties (if applicable)
- Details on each party (name, email address, organisation and country)
- Read the guidelines for consortium applications.
Funding for the project
- Enter the funding period, no more than 3.5 years.
- The universities involved in the consortium will provide the number of positions applied for and the other costs (estimated at €85,000 per year per position).
- The other consortium parties will not fill in the cost estimate.
Action plan for field-specific pilot project
- Submit the plan as a PDF appendix on a separate tab in the online services.
- You must follow the structure and the number of pages provided in the guidelines.
Structure of action plan:
1. Brief description of the field of research and its scientific level in the consortium (max. 1 page)
2. Description of field-specific pilot project (max. 4 pages)
2.1 Justification for choice of pilot project
- Name and desired start date of field-specific pilot project (1 August 2024 or 1 January 2025)
- Objectives and detailed description of pilot project and its linkages to the research field
- How will the pilot project support researcher education and doctoral needs in the research field?
2.2 Actions, resources, schedules, risk management, monitoring
- Description of planned activities, taking into account responsible science and justification for the amount of funding applied for
- How does the pilot project differ from current doctoral training processes – what are the means to achieve the 3–4-year target for PhD completion?
- Description of key players and added value of cooperation, summary of core competences of key players including supervision experience
- Description of implementation risks and risk management
- Description of how the university will monitor the progress of activities and the achievement of objectives
2.3 Societal impact
- What is the significance and impact of the actions in terms of promoting knowledge transfer, competence-based growth and other societal needs?
- How will the pilot project contribute to the broader objective of increasing the employment of new PhDs across a wide range of sectors in society?
- You can submit the application when you have filled in or attached all the necessary information.
- The joint consortium application is submitted by the competent person of the consortium. The person can submit the consortium application only after all subprojects have tagged their applications as complete.
- A red warning triangle on the tab tells you that some information is missing.
- You can supplement and edit the application until the deadline. Resaving will replace the earlier version.
- If you want to supplement the application after the deadline, please get in touch with our contact persons listed in the call text.
- You can authorise another person to supplement or view your application.
- Start by entering the person’s name in the field. If the person has an account in the online services (SARA), they can be selected from the list.
- The person must have an account in our online services (SARA).
- You cannot authorise more than one person at a time to edit a field in your application, and you cannot edit that same field while the authorisation is active.
- Do not authorise yourself.
- See technical instructions on the authorisation process in the how-to guides for the online services.
We mainly use foreign experts as reviewers.
The applications will be reviewed by an international panel. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture will make the funding decisions based on the review reports, by using an overall assessment.
The fundamental principles of the review are transparency, integrity, equity, competence and diversity.
- Feasibility, credibility and follow-up of the proposed plan
- Cooperation of universities and other actors and their commitment to the implementation of the field-specific pilot project
- How the plan will benefit from the strong scientific basis in the field
- How linkages with employment during the doctoral education are taken into account with universities, other actors and the rest of society; the importance and added value of this cooperation
- Potential impact of the plan on the development of doctoral education in Finland
The funding decisions will be prepared based on the review reports.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture will make the funding decisions in January–February 2024. The Ministry will inform the universities of its decisions.
How to receive the funding
A positive funding decision is accompanied by the funding terms and conditions.
- Get in touch via our helpdesk (contact Division of Information Management) if you encounter technical issues in the online services.
- Primary email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Research Council of Finland: Maiju Gyran, Timo Lehtinen, Sanna Marjavaara and Helena Vänskä
- Ministry of Education, Science and Culture: Paavo-Petri Ahonen and Saara Vihko