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Doctoral Researcher in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning

Helsinki University
Helsinki, Finland

The University of Helsinki is Finland s largest academic institution with ca 30,800 students and 8200 employees. It is consistently ranked in the top 100 of the world s universities. The Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme (OEB) in the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences comprises roughly 40 research groups which employ ca 40 principal investigators and 120 researchers. The Northern Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (NorEcoFun) is a newly established research group in OEB led by Academy Research Fellow Elina Kaarlej rvi. We study biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in boreal forests and tundra, focusing on plant communities. We are also part of the Research Centre for Ecological Change (REC).

The Organismal and Evolutionary Research Programme and the NorEcoFun group invite applications for a Doctoral Researcher in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning starting in September 2023, or as agreed with the candidate. The doctoral researcher will be offered up to 4-year fully funded contract.

We are seeking a doctoral researcher to work within a project funded by the Academy of Finland aiming to understand how species interactions and dispersal influence the strength of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in boreal forests and tundra. The PhD project contributes to this overall goal. The successful candidate is expected to benefit from and collaborate with other team members. The project team consists of the PI, a doctoral researcher, a postdoc (to be hired), undergraduate students and research trainees.

Position description

The doctoral researcher will investigate biodiversity change, species interactions and their interplay on ecosystem functioning in boreal forests and tundra. The project will involve analysis of observational data, and experiments in the forests, tundra, and greenhouse. Functional traits will often be used to quantify biodiversity and its change in time, across environmental gradients and in experimental treatments. The doctoral researcher will be encouraged to design their own research project within the scope of the overall project in collaboration with the PI. The successful candidate will be able to take part in the activities within REC, OEB and the wider University. Five percent of working time will be devoted to teaching and supervising undergraduate students.

Working as the doctoral researcher

The doctoral researcher is expected to:  

  1. advance the research project together with the project team and
  2. conduct doctoral studies and research work leading to a completed PhD thesis within 4 years.

According to the system of the University of Helsinki, all doctoral researchers belong to a doctoral programme. The successful candidate should apply to the Doctoral Programme in Wildlife Biology (LUOVA) and obtain the study right within the probationary period of six months of their appointment. For more information about our doctoral programmes and the requirements for conducting a doctoral degree, please visit:

Requirements and eligibility criteria

The successful candidate will have a Master s degree in ecology or a related field. Background in community ecology and modelling are considered strong assets. Previous experience in trait-based ecology, data analysis using R, plant community surveys and identification of boreal and tundra plant and lichen species are advantages. The candidate should have good organization and time management skills and ability to work both independently and as part of a team. We expect excellent communication skills both verbally and written; our working language is English. We also expect all group members to contribute to an equitable and inclusive working environment. The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Salary and benefits

The salary of doctoral researcher will be based on demand level 2, and later on levels 2 4, of the national salary system for the teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. The starting salary of the doctoral researcher will be ca. 2300-2500 euros/month (before taxes), depending on the appointees qualifications and experience. A trial period of 6 months will be applied.

The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care, support in access to high quality sports facilities, and vast opportunities for professional development. Finland is a member of the EU, has high quality free schooling (also in English), generous family benefits and healthcare, and was recently ranked as the best country in the world for expat families. The International Staff Services office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland. See more information about working at the University of Helsinki and living in Finland here.

How to apply

Please submit your application as a single pdf file, which includes the following documents in English:

A motivation letter describing why you are the right person for this position (max. 2 pages) Curriculum vitae including list of publications and names and contact details of two referees who are willing to provide a reference letter by separate request (max. 3 pages) External applicants, please submit your application to the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the Apply Now button. Applicants who have a username and a valid employment/grant/visitor contract at the University of Helsinki are requested to submit their application via the Employee login button.

Application deadline is 30 June 2023, 23:59 EET.

More information

For project and position related questions, please contact

Dr. Elina Kaarlej rvi, elina.kaarlejarvi(at) For support with the recruitment system, please contact

HR Specialist Harri Hamara, harri.hamara(at) 

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