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Application Categories

FIGS has ten funded positions for doctoral students. The employers of students selected to these positions will receive partial funding for the salary of the doctoral student. Unfunded adjunct positions are also available and entitle the student to participate in FIGS activities. Students with already guaranteed funding (holding a research position or employed by relevant university research projects) are encouraged to apply for an adjunct position. Applicants in industry are also eligible if they can demonstrate their employer’s commitment to funding post-graduate studies and doctoral research.


The applicants are expected to have a Master or Licentiate degree and demonstrated interest in scientific research and the work of a researcher. The applicants, if accepted, are expected to engage themselves in full-time research aiming at a doctoral degree in maximum of four years. They are also expected to participate in the events organized by the graduate school and report periodically on their progress to the school.

Applicants are required to have good skills in the Finnish or in the English language. Native speakers of either of these languages do not need to furnish proof of their skill. Non-native English speakers must include the result of an international test result (for example TOEFL) in their application to demonstrate sufficient skill in the English language. The exact requirements on the test scores depend on the university where the student will be admitted.


The positions are located in the premises of the participating units: Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (Aalto/T University/TKK and University of Helsinki), Department of Communications and Networking (Aalto/TKK), Department of Computer Science and Engineering (Aalto/TKK), Department of Economics (Aalto/HSE), University of Art and Design (Aalto), Department of Computer Science (UH) or Department of Communications Engineering (Tampere University of Technology).

Students accepted to funded positions will receive an initial contract in one of the participating units for no more than two years with extension by two more years based on evaluation of the progress of student’s progress. Student salaries are determined on the basis of the salary systems used by the employer; at present, all universities use the VPJ system.

Evaluation Criteria

The research plan is the most important application document. It should contribute to the intended research field of FIGS and match well the domain of the intended site of research. The scientific, economic, and societal impacts of the potential results are additional evaluation criteria. The research plan will be further evaluated regarding its feasibility. Does the application demonstrate that the needed tools and skills are available or can be acquired? The feasibility of the funding plan for adjunct positions is another important criterion. Does it provide sufficient support for full-time studies and research?

The other documents have a supportive role in the evaluation. The information on the merits and performance of the applicant in scientific work and studies are used to estimate whether the applicant has the capacity for the proposed project. The statement of the supervisor and other referees serve a similar function. The evaluators will be asking themselves whether the applicant's background and current situation will allow full-time effort on the thesis work.

The evaluation is competitive. FIGS supports only the top candidates. In the calls for funded positions all applications are compared to each other. When applications for adjunct positions are evaluated, they will be compared to recent applications. Consideration will be also given to ensuring that the selection process results in a cohesive multi-disciplinary research community in FIGS.

The evaluation process makes use of an evaluation form, with numerical grades for various aspects relevant for decision-making. However, the numerical grades are auxiliary tools only; the decisions will be made on the basis of a more holistic assessment of the applicants.

Evaluation Procedure

The applications will be read and evaluated by at least three members of the FIGS board. The evaluators will present their recommendation in a board meeting. If necessary, the board will have an extended discussion and, if consensus is not reached, vote on the decision. 

A form that documents the arguments that the decision is based on will be filled in the board meeting for each applicant. These data are also attached to the decision that is delivered to the applicant after the meeting to provide feedback on the application. FIGS board may also invite promising applicants to an interview; in this case, FIGS will cover the travel costs of the applicants.